Connor Scully earned ten-man Cove Rangers an unlikely point with a classy left-foot volley deep into injury-time but it was goalkeeper Nick Suman who was the man who made the difference at Forthbank.
With Cove short-handed after Mitch Megginson’s red card midway through the second half for lashing out at Jordan McGregor, Suman produced a superb double-save with eight minutes left to prevent Stirling sealing the points.
Not only did he block substitute Aaron Dunsmore’s powerful volley but he reacted swiftly to prevent Lewis Milne from netting with a follow-up header.
Suman also saved a second-half penalty from Greig Spence but was let down by his defenders as Spence pounced on the loose ball and Adam Cummins bundled the ball home.
He also made a decent save to touch a low Kieran Moore shot past his post after 20 minutes and also got down well shortly afterwards to hold Josh Cooper’s low shot.
“Nick has done brilliantly tonight and I thought he had some great saves,” said manager Paul Hartley afterwards.
“We got back in the game and we were controlling it and then we lost a bad goal. Penalty or no penalty, you have to stay on your feet in the box.
“Then, we went down to ten men. I need to look at that incident but apparently it’s violent conduct.
“But I thought we were really good with ten men. We created chances and controlled the game and scored a really good goal.
“But we’ve scored six goals in the last three games and only got three points for it so it’s becoming a little bit frustrating the manner of the goals we’re conceding.”
🗣️ The manager reflects on tonight's draw with Stirling Albion.#CRFC
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) September 30, 2023
This was Cove’s third successive 2-2 draw and, while they have only managed one league win from eight starts, they showed character again, as they did at Edinburgh City the previous week, to net an injury-time equaliser.
Blair Yule made a difference when he came on as a second-half substitute when it looked as if Megginson’s misdemeanor had cost his team.
The Cove skipper carved out a more than decent chance for Rumarn Burrell early on but his team-mate slipped the ball wide with only Blair Currie to beat.
Cove then fell behind to an avoidable goal. Moore reacted first to win a 50-50 ball in midfield and Will Gillingham was caught hopelessly out of position and he could only guide the ball into the path of Spence, who beat Suman with a composed finish.
Cove were offered a way back into the game early in the second half when Craig Napier awarded them the softest of penalties when Megginson went down in a tangle of legs with Kyle Banner.
The referee evened things up when Spence went down in the opposite penalty area after a sliding challenge from Mouhamed Niang which ultimately led to Cummins putting Stirling back in front.
Cove dug deep for the point. Scully timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Fraser Fyvie’s long, through ball and controlled his volley to slip the ball past the advancing Currie.