IT was perhaps fitting that Stirling Albion finished the play-off final in the ascendency yesterday.
They will be able to carry on all the way into SPFL League 1, with two late goals sealing promotion at the expense of East Fife. Relegation gripped tightly and pulled the home side into the lowest division of senior football in Scotland.
They will land with a bump and having suffered a few bruises on the way down. Two were delivered by the boots of Jordan White and teenage substitute Sandy Cunningham, the pair stepping forward as goalscorers for Stirling in the final 20 minutes. The goals were sufficient to overhaul a 2-1 deficit after the first leg.
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White first lashed a volley high into the net from close range and then turned provider. It was his pass which sent Cunningham through on goal to provide the decisive finish that sealed promotion.
"That is definitely the most important goal of my career," said Cunningham. "It's an unbelievable feeling to score the one that sends us up. The boss told me to try to get a goal and luckily I've done that."
There had been an element of fortune to the result already since East Fife went close after 21 minutes when Pat Clarke played in Nathan Austin, only his shot to be blocked.
Two minutes before the break, Stirling threatened as Graham Weir sent over a cross. However, White slipped his header wide. He would make up for that miss in the final 20 minutes, though. "This success has been two years in the making," added Greig McDonald, the Stirling manager.
While he plans for a new campaign, Gary Naysmith is unable to look beyond tomorrow. "The players will find out who is being kept on and I don't even know if I will be here," said the East Fife manager.
"This is the first time in my career that I've been relegated and it's like losing someone close - that feeling in the pit of your stomach."