Elgin City manager Gavin Price praised his side’s resilience as they held on for a crucial victory at Forthbank to move into the play-off places.
Goals either side of half-time from Shane Sutherland and Kane Hester had the visitors in control but Stirling got one back through defender Jordan McGregor on the hour mark to set up a tense finish.
Price, whose team go to bottom club Brechin on Saturday then host leaders Cove Rangers on February 8, said: “I thought we looked fairly comfortable at 2-0 up but we had to withstand a lot of pressure in the last 20 minutes.
“Given the history of losing late goals this season you could see the tension but thankfully we dealt with it a bit better than in some of the other games.
“I’m delighted for the players because Stirling are a good side and we had to be at it on all fronts – the guys dug in and that’s the first time this season (in the league) that we have won a game by one goal.
“It’s winning these sorts of games by the odd goal that we need to do if we are going to make the play-offs. It’s going to be a massive scrap and I’m sure Stirling and Queen’s Park will also be involved. This was a game we probably had to win more than Stirling, especially after a disappointing result last week.”
Sutherland will join Inverness in the summer and again showed his worth to Elgin with a classy performance and his 24th goal of the campaign.
The City skipper said: “That equals my best-ever season and it’s only January, but it’s all about the team and it’s up to us to try to stay in the play-offs. I’m excited about full-time football again with Inverness but I want to help Elgin reach League 1 first.
“I think that’s 96 goals now in 202 games so it’s clear I’ve played my best football here.
“I thought we played very well in the first half and should have punished them more.
“We managed the game quite well towards the end and it’s a really good away win against a team who have been in good form.”
Darryl Duffy missed a big early chance for the Binos, but Elgin carried more threat and Nicky Hogarth denied Daniel Mackay and Sutherland hit the post with the follow-up before City’s top scorer coolly clipped Brian Cameron’s perfect pass beyond the on-loan Rangers keeper to break the deadlock.
Hester waltzed through the defence to fire low past Hogarth five minutes after the break for his 16th goal of the season, but Stirling rallied and McGregor’s header was fumbled over the line by Thomas McHale after Stephen Bronsky had headed against his own crossbar.
Sean Heaver and David Wilson came close as Albion pushed for the draw that would have taken them into the top four, but Elgin held on to avenge a 1-0 reverse at Forthbank in September.
Stirling Albion manager Kevin Rutkiewicz, whose side have won their last three away games but now lost three on the trot at home, said: “We didn’t turn up until the last 30 minutes – and that’s not good enough.”