Warriors hang on to League One status by slimmest margin

Stenhousemuir went close to scoring several times, but also went close to slipping into the relegation play-off
Stenhousemuir went close to scoring several times, but also went close to slipping into the relegation play-off

A dramatic final day saw Stenhousemuir avoid the relegation play-off spot despite a 3-1 defeat at Ochilview.

Scott McBride’s second half double, along with an Ally Love strike, put Albion Rovers 3-0 up before Jamie McCormack netted a late consolation.

Going into Saturday’s fixtures, no fewer than eight of League One’s were still unsure of what division they would be in next season.

Albion started the brighter in the afternoon sunshine, with Love and McBride spurning early chances. Jon Robertson’s shot then shaded the bar before Alan Cook’s effort was cleared off the line.

Mark Gilhaney and Colin McMenamin came close shortly after as Brown Ferguson’s men finished the half stronger.

With little daylight separating them from Cowdenbeath and Brechin City in the table, Stenhousemuir knew a win meant safety, anything else kept them in the dark. Going in goalless at half-time – plus the news that Brechin had taken the lead – must have worried Ferguson.

He was further discouraged when his side gave away a cheap goal shortly after the break. Albion’s Ross Davidson collected the ball in the centre of the park before sweeping the ball out to Alan Reid.

The full-back linked with Spas Georgiev – on as a half-time substitute – before crossing for Love, whose header came back off the post. McBride then muscled his way past the Stenhousemuir defence to tap into an empty net.

Ferguson responded by brining on Carlos Manzana-Martinez for Kieran Millar before Euan Murray pulled out a smart save from Ross Stewart in the Rovers goal.

Minutes later Stenhousemuir were further behind when they allowed Gary Fisher’s long throw to bounce in the box.

Their defence could only watch as Love lashed the ball past Colin McCabe.With the home side now committing men forward in a desperate attempt to salvage something, McBride added his second and Rovers’ third.

The striker collected Fisher’s pass and bore down on goal before sliding the ball underneath McCabe, ending the game as a contest.

Stenny were now relying on Stranraer to preserve their 1-0 lead over Cowdenbeath to ensure survival.

As it stood, a Cowdenbeath equaliser would have put Stenhousemuir into 11th and given Albion a great chance of clinching a Championship play-off spot.

An anxious Stenny now had the Albion box under siege and were given something to cheer when McCormack buried Robertson’s cross.

The goal had little bearing in a disappointing afternoon at either end for the Warriors.

Thankfully, Stranraer held out against Cowdenbeath, securing Stenhousemuir’s status as a League One side.