Stenhousemuir took home three well deserved points after a convincing 2-1 derby victory over Stirling Albion at Forthbank.
A first-half penalty from Mark McGuigan and a second-half volley from Jamie Longworth secured the win, with Darren Smith pulling a goal back for the hosts late on.
Stenny boss Brown Ferguson was delighted with the performance, saying: “I thought we controlled it, I thought we were outstanding today, the chances we created and our general play was outstanding.
“It was a 2-1 scoreline, and they gave us problems in the last 10 minutes, but I think that was the only time we were under any pressure.”
The win at the league leaders, Stenny’s first on the road in the league this season, moves them to within four points of the Binos at the top of the table.
The opening 25 minutes of the match at Forthbank were very quiet, with neither side carving out a chance of major note. A harmless floated ball into the box, however, changed all of that.
Albion defender Ewan McNeil dragged down Eddie Ferns needlessly in the box and Mark McGuigan calmly placed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from the spot to give Stenny a 1-0 lead.
Stirling looked a little livelier after falling behind but Stenny countered well and had by far more chances, and of better quality.
Nicky Paterson played a good one-two and had a shot saved by Stirling keeper Cammy Binnie, before Michael Dunlop headed the rebound wide with the keeper out of position.
On 38 minutes, Stirling’s best opening of the first period came but Ruaridh Donaldson did well to take the ball off the toe of Callumn Morrison before he pulled the trigger.
Into the second half and Stenhousemuir’s dominance continued as Jamie Longworth doubled the Warriors advantage on 48 minutes.
A long throw-in was nodded backwards by Ross Smith directly into the path of Longworth who hammered a low volley past the keeper first time to make it 2-0.
Smith was again at fault for Stenny’s next opening. The defender played a short back-pass to his goalkeeper which Mark McGuigan latched onto - but he slid his effort just wide of the post.
Stenny never relented and went in search of the killer third goal. Eddie Ferns was well denied by Binnie at the near post on the hour mark.
Darren Smith pulled one back for the hosts on 73 minutes, tapping home the only opportunity of note they had created to that point. Callumn Morrison did well to get to the byline and cut back for Smith who had an empty net to aim at from six yards.
But the hosts hardly piled much pressure on after that, with their only real chance of a leveller coming a minute from time. Smith’s shot was well saved by Chris Smith in the Stenny nets, with the follow up knocked over the bar.
It was as convincing an away performance as you are likely to see, and moves Stenny move up to fourth in the League Two table after 10 games.