By: Hibernian Media on 13 Jul, 2019 19:52
Fraser Murray’s ice-cool penalty earned Hibernian a Betfred Cup bonus point on top of the draw on a red-hot day at Forthbank.
The Academy graduate slotted home the winning spot-kick after the hosts held Hibs to a draw in normal time.
A Scott Allan penalty looked to have been enough to settle the game – only for David Wilson to level things up with a stunning strike.
Though disappointed to lose out in the end, Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz will be rightly proud of his side’s efforts.
As explained in the run-up to the match, Paul Heckingbottom’s starting line-up and listed substitutes had one eye on ensuring his squad get an even share of action as they build towards full fitness.
With that in mind, Flo Kamberi joined the likes of Martin Boyle and Ryan Porteous at HTC for an extra conditioning session.
It also meant a first competitive start for midfielder Josh Campbell.
Hibs started brightly, with Scott Allan forcing home keeper Blair Currie into a save inside the opening minute with an effort that was gathered at the second attempt.
The Hibees poked and prodded in search of the opener, with a teasing cross from Daryl Horgan going unrewarded on 12 minutes.
A clever through-ball from Allan almost sent Campbell clear but the Stirling backline held firm.
When Hibs did cut through they found Currie in inspired form and he was acrobatic in preventing Christian Doidge from scoring with an attempt that looked in all the way.
Another dangerous Horgan cross found Joe Newell at the far post, but he wasn’t able to keep his attempt on target.
The breakthrough did come a minute from the break, with Hibernian awarded a penalty when a Stevie Mallan free-kick rebounded back off an arm.
Allan took responsibility and was clinical to fire Hibs into a half-time lead.
Doidge and Horgan both passed up opportunities to extend the advantage after the restart, with the latter particularly unfortunate to poke wide after being teed up one-on-one with Currie thanks to an intelligent Mallan pass.
Hibs upped the ante with an Allan effort deflected wide, while Currie dived low to deal with a daisy-cutter strike from Steven Whittaker.
It proved crucial as the Binos equalised, with an arrowed first-time drive from Wilson leaving Chris Maxwell with little chance in goal.
Heckingbottom shuffled the pack on 72 minutes, with Murray replacing Joe Newell.
Murray almost settled the game in injury time after expertly controlling Adam Jackson’s cross but his strike flew just over.
Then in the final actions of normal time Stirling Albion somehow held out as Currie fumbled a Tom James shot then blocked the rebound from Doidge.
James stepped up first in the shootout and made no mistake, with Dylan Mackin similarly composed to level at 1-1.
Horgan made no mistake before Wilson drew gasps with a perfectly executed Panenka.
Allan saw his second penalty of the afternoon saved, with Jordan Lowdon handing Stirling Albion the advantage.
Mallan got Hibs back on the scoresheet and Maxwell made a decisive block to deny Dominic Docherty and level things up.
Steven Whittaker rifled in his penalty, with Josh Peters doing likewise.
At the business end of the shootout Murray kept his head and Maxwell was the equal of Craig Truesdale.
Stirling Albion were rightly applauded from the park on the back of a gutsy performance.
For Hibs it was another step closer to firing on all cylinders, with Alloa up next in the Betfred Cup next Saturday at Easter Road.
Stirling Albion: Currie, McLean (Truesdale 58), McGregor, McGeachie, Lowdon, Jardine, Wilson, Docherty, Thomson, Willis (Peters 86), Hawke (Mackin 65). Unused substitutes: Banner, Scott, Heaver, Binnie.
Hibernian: Maxwell, Whittaker, Hanlon, Jackson, James, Campbell, Allan, Horgan, Doidge, Newell (Murray 72), Mallan. Unused substitutes: Marciano, McGregor, Shaw, Stirling, Mackie.
Referee: Greg Aitken.