Stirling Albion 1 Cowdenbeath 0

SPFL League 2.

Cowdenbeath slumped to their fourth successive league defeat of the campaign and are now second bottom in the League Two table.

Gary Bollan's men gave a high-flying Stirling side a run for their money but they again failed to find the net and a shortage of players left them with an emergency goalie and only five subs, including 41-year-old assistant manager Craig Easton.

They lacked firepower and had few options from the bench when the team needed to pep up their challenge late in the game.

Including the Betfred Cup loss to Raith, it's now five defeats in a row for Cowdenbeath and in that run they've only netted in the 5-2 reverse at Elgin.

There were mitigating circumstances and on Saturday Cowdenbeath were without Cian Kavanagh, Jamie Pyper and Ross Pollock, along with goalkeeper Ross Sinclair, for the match at Forthbank. It meant Bollan had to again fix up an emergency loan goalkeeper, this time Ross Munro from Ross County.

Munro did well but could do nothing about the goal which won it for the Albion and, in general, Cowden were sound defensively.

It's at the other end where the problems are stark with no goals in the last two matches and just four overall this campaign.

They failed to carve out many chances at Forthbank although Graham Taylor twice went close to putting his team ahead.

Stirling made a good start to the game and won a corner which was cleared by the Cowden defence.

Albion kept pressing and in 10 minutes Munro made a good save from a Sean Heaver header.

They again came close when Dom Docherty’s left foot shot flew just wide of the post.

The pressure eased as the Blues made a foray upfield, forcing Kyle Banner to concede a corner.

Fraser Mullen swung the ball into the box and Jamie Todd climbed high but couldn't get his header on target.

Cowdenbeath threatened again when Taylor got into a great position in the Albion box following a corner, and his right foot drive produced a fine save from Cammy Binnie.

In 34 minutes the Blues attacked again and Mikey Herd’s fierce 30 yarder flew inches wide, then Taylor, proving a real thorn in the flesh of the Albion defence, was denied again when Binnie got gloves to his effort.

Just before the break Albion's Jordan McGregor found space but his finish was over the top.

Cowden's Harvey Swann had to concede a corner, Craig Barr headed clear, and then a minute from the whistle Munro made a fine save from Andy Ryan’s angled shot.

Stirling started the second half on the front foot and Ryan’s close range shot was blocked by Todd, before McGeachie got into a good position inside the Cowdenbeath box but fired over.

The pressure was building and Barr had to knock the ball behind his own goal for another set-piece for Stirling.

Ryan met the delivery and his header was finger-tipped over the bar by Munro.

As Stirling kept up the pressure Kyle Miller had to concede yet another set piece but the visiting defence stood firm.

The injured Miller had to be replaced shortly after when he took a hard knock.

Ian Russell came on but the direction of traffic remained the same with Stirling in the ascendancy and first to every ball.

Roberts forced Munro into another stop and in 68 minutes McLean went close for Albion from a free-kick.

Just when Cowden began to believe they may hold out, Stirling scored in the 71st minute.

Ryan created the opening and as the Cowden defence hesitated, Declan BYRNE broke free of the cover and his fierce finish gave Munro no chance as it headed into the top left hand corner.

To their credit, the Blue Brazil weren't about to give it up and forced a couple of corners without breaking through.

Gavin Morrison tried his luck from 20 yards but it was inches too high.

Cowdenbeath finished the game strongly and Morrison had another effort but the Fifers lacked the finishing touch to rescue a point.

Stirling Albion: Binnie (7); McGeachie (6), Banner (6); McLean (7), McGregor (8), C Roberts (6); Ryan (7), Wilson (6), Heaver (6)) (Byrne 63 (4)), Docherty (7) ( Magee 90 (2)), Moore (6) (B Roberts 63 (3)). Subs not used, El-Zubaidi, Thomson, Leitch Currie, Mackin and Mitchell.

Cowdenbeath: Ross Munro (7); Fraser Mullen (7), Harvey Swann (7); Jamie Todd (7, Craig Barr (7), Kyle Miller (6) (Ian Russell 57 (33)); Robbie Buchanan (6), Gavin Morrison (6), Kris Renton (7), Mikey Herd (6), Graham Taylor (7). Subs not used, Olly Hamilton, Jacob Glass, Craig Easton and Mac Whyte.

Referee-David Dickenson (7).