Stirling Albion 2 Gretna 1

Last updated : 29 April 2006 By Footymad Previewer

Scottish Cup finalists and Division Two champions Gretna ended their league campaign with a rare defeat against a side they had beaten 5-0 and 6-0 in recent weeks.

Albion hadn't even managed a goal in their previous six matches against the Black and Whites but found themselves two goals to the good by half-time.

Gretna, fielding their likely cup final line-up, stepped up the pace after the break and kept up their run of scoring in every league game for the last two years but couldn't force an equaliser as Albion clung on to equal their 51 points tally of last season.

The visitors ended the game with 10 men, John O'Neil managing to pick up two bookings in the closing minutes, but the former Falkirk midfielder will not be suspended for the May 13 showdown with Hearts.

Scottish Cup scorer James Grady is also expected to be available for the big day, despite hobbling off with a dead leg in the first half.

Stirling took the lead after 21 minutes when Chris Hay, making a rare start, took advantage of a defensive mix-up on the corner of the penalty area, rounded Alan Main and slotted the ball into the net.

Incredibly, just before half-time, the Binos scored again. Steven Boyack released the superb Paddy Connolly with a perfect pass and, although Main blocked his initial effort, Stirling's top scorer nodded in the rebound.

It was a different story after the break as Gretna dominated. Myles Hogarth made excellent saves from Kenny Deuchar and Chris Innes and substitute David Graham missed a sitter before Deuchar pounced from close range after a goalmouth scramble with 18 minutes left.

In injury time, Hogarth made a fabulous stop from Deuchar and O'Neil saw red for knocking in the rebound with his arm.