Stirling’s hopes of a third straight league win for the first time since 2010 were dashed as in-form Montrose edged an exciting encounter to remain on course for the play-offs.
Greig McDonald’s men made their first trip to Links Park since 2007 on the back of home victories over Berwick and Peterhead and produced a spirited performance on the plastic pitch but ultimately came up short and their tally of away points remains a meagre one – from a 2-2 draw at Peterhead.
There was no faulting the effort of the visitors and they could have come away with a point but Albion have conceded at least two goals in every away fixture and Montrose’s dangerous front two of ex-Ross County striker Garry Wood and on-loan Dundee forward Leighton McIntosh punished that defensive frailty.
Scott Davidson twice hauled Stirling level in a thrilling first half that ended 2-2, although it could easily have been 4-4. Leighton McIntosh won it just after the hour mark but both Mark Ferry and sub Josh Flood spurned late chances to earn a draw.
This was a vast improvement on some of Albion’s away displays earlier in 2012/13 and offers encouragement that they can clamber off the foot of the table when they meet East Stirlingshire at Ochilview this afternoon.
Montrose have now lost only once in nine matches – against Rangers – and Stuart Garden named the same XI for the fifth game running. With top scorer Jordan White unavailable, McDonald handed Steven Weir a rare start.
It was a calm day in the North East but Albion were almost blown away by Montrose’s swift start. Within 30 seconds, Leighton McIntosh was clean through but dragged his shot wide, then Wood fizzed a 20-yarder inches wide before McIntosh hit the inside of the post from six yards when it looked easier to score.
The Binos fell behind in 24 minutes when one-time Aberdeen midfielder Jamie Winter slammed a 25-yard free- kick into the net via the left-hand post. Keeper Mark Peat got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
Davidson took only two minutes to equalise when he made space in the area and cracked a terrific shot beyond Sandy Wood and in off the post and Graham Weir rattled the top of the bar from distance as Stirling almost went ahead.
It’s fair to say defences were not on top and Montrose surged back. Peat thwarted Wood who looked certain to score and Stephen Day cleared off the line before Wood headed home an accurate cross.
There is more resilience about Albion now, though, and Steven Weir fired wide when clean through before Davidson did well to hold off a defender and roll the ball into the corner for his fifth goal of the season.
The second half wasn’t as frantic but Albion played some good stuff and would have earned a welcome point had a defensive error not allowed Leighton McIntosh to lash home the winner just after the hour mark.