A night to forget for Cammie Binnie as Edinburgh City moved three points clear of fellow promotion hopefuls Stirling Albion, with The Binos unable to land a blow on a resolute Edinburgh defence.
With an important three points on the line, the away side started the brightest. Early chances for Danny Handling and Ouzy See were comfortably saved by Albion’s number one.
It took the hosts ten minutes to settle into the game, but Rutkiewicz’s side grew into it and looked to have a real go at the visitors.
Stirling were most comfortable going down the right, and most menacing too. A nicely worked move found the ball at Moore’s feet, who’s cross evaded everyone in the Edinburgh box.
The home sides best chance of the match arrived quarter of an hour before the deadlock would be broken, as Chris Hamilton’s corner-bound effort was cleared off the line by Liam Brown.
With ten minutes of first half action remaining, Kyle Banner laid a pass back to Binnie who took too long to clear his lines. Fresh off signing a new deal, Edinburgh forward Ouzy See pounced on a loose touch, and finished into an empty net.
Stirling rallied before the interval though. Andy Ryan played Jack Leitch through on the right flank again, where he would cut inside and clip the top of the crossbar with an audacious effort.
Despite the goal, the first half was an indicator of what was to follow in the second period of play. Few real chances were created, with the hosts enjoying the better of them, still to no avail though.
Albion looked poised to grab an equaliser just after the hour mark. A delightful ball over the Edinburgh defence found a free Dylan Mackin who headered across an open goal ready to be tapped home, just as the offside flag was raised.
A few half-chances fell for either side throughout the final 45 but nothing really troubled either shot stopper.
Target man Dylan Mackin had Stirling’s final chance of the game, with a point-blank header parried away by Calum Antell.
Mackin looked as dangerous as any of Stirling’s forward men, as they utilised his arial presence. Top goal scorer Andy Ryan was far from his usual best, and likely the key reason behind Stirling’s lack of creativity.
In the end, it would be harsh to say either side deserved the three points in a lacklustre contest between League Two’s second and third placed sides. Although a hard-fought victory for Gary Naysmith’s men gives them breathing room in second, in the hunt for promotion glory.
How the Binos fair going into the league split
Both sides from Tuesday’s game, along with newly crowned champions Queen’s Park, Stranraer and Elgin City, will have little time to prepare for a crucial set of play-off chasing fixtures, as the league splits into two.
The loss to Edinburgh City certainly makes things more challenging for Rutkiewicz’s side, but Stirling still hold the cards in the quest for a play-off spot.
Albion currently sit a point ahead of Stranraer, who occupy fourth place, and three points over Elgin residing in fifth place.
Remaining as solid in defence as they have been for large parts of the campaign, and were again in the clash with Edinburgh, Stirling should feel confident they can have a good crack at promotion. But they will undeniably need to find the key to their goalscoring potential.
Stirling Albion post-split fixtures:
Saturday 24th April (3.00pm): Away v Edinburgh City
Tuesday 27th April (7.00pm): Home v Queen’s Park
Thursday 29th April (7.00pm): Away v Elgin City
Saturday 1st May (3.00pm): Home v Stranraer
Featured Image Credit: John Turnbull