D-day for Stirling Albion as they bid to seal Annan Athletic win to avoid relegation play-off

Stirling Albion know they must beat Annan Athletic to avoid the relegation play-off
Stirling Albion know they must beat Annan Athletic to avoid the relegation play-off -Credit:Graham Hamilton

It’s D-day for Stirling Albion’s League One survival bid – with all three points an absolute must for the Binos if they are to avoid the dreaded relegation play-off.

Stirling host Annan Athletic at Forthbank tomorrow (Saturday) for their final fixture of the league season, knowing a win will see them leapfrog the Galabankies and condemn their opponents to a nerve-shredding extension to the campaign.

The Binos closed the gap to Saturday’s opponents with a 3-1 win at Edinburgh City last weekend and were heading to a good position for most of the afternoon – only for Annan to snatch a dramatic last-gasp equaliser for a 3-3 draw with champions Falkirk.

Aidan Smith’s late goal means Annan have the advantage of eighth position ahead of the weekend’s dust-up, meaning the away side only need to avoid defeat to make sure of their third-tier status for 2024/25.

Peter Murphy’s men have also enjoyed a good record over Stirling this season – winning both of the encounters at Galabank and securing a 1-1 draw in the previous meeting at Forthbank in December.

Stirling boss Darren Young issued a rallying cry to the Binos faithful to come out in force for the weekend’s game in an effort to rekindle last season’s League Two winning feeling.

The club have also made tickets available for the southern terrace at Forthbank in an effort to cram in a noisy support to fire the home side to safety and another season of League One football.

The manner of last weekend’s win at Meadowbank offers some hope for Stirling, with the division’s lowest scorers coming into the match snapping out of their stupor with goals from Dale Carrick, Josh McPake and Dale Hilson.

But it is set to be a stiff test against the Galabankies, with the away side heading to Stirling off a strong second half of the season and have lost only once in their last five matches.

Forwards Tommy Goss and Aidan Smith are among the danger men to be monitored, while Newcastle youngster Michael Ndwieni will also have to be watched closely after notching on the sides’ last match at Galabank.

The season statistics reveal a potential clash in styles between the two clubs, with Stirling having scored only 38 times compared to 54 for Annan.

But Stirling’s defence has proved stingier than their opponents, with the visitors having let in 67 goals – the second-most in the division behind basement side Edinburgh.