An in-form East Stirlingshire showed a lethal touch to dispatch the Braves on a horrid night in Falkirk.
Ricky Waddell’s side did threaten, with Ross McNeil missing a one-on-one volley before a goal-line clearance denied Andy Dowie in the second-half.
However, the manager was left to bemoan his defence again – with three soft goals conceded as the side failed to keep a consecutive clean sheet.
The loss leaves Caley Braves fourth from bottom, whilst East Stirlingshire go top of the table before the rest of the weekend’s action.
It didn’t take long for Derek Ure’s side to break the deadlock. In fact, it only took five minutes. Andy Rodgers whipped a corner in from the left and number nine Sean Brown rose highest, planting a header in off the post.
McNeil’s volley was easily the best chance to level. David Sinclair was able to clip nicely over the top of the defence, where McNeil found himself free. His chested-touch lifted the ball into the sky, before he slammed his volley wide of the post.
The Braves would be made to rue that opportunity – but not for the remainder of a pretty low-quality first-half. Nicky Low had a few opportunities, but did not trouble Kieran Hughes’ goal.
Not until one minute after half-time, to be exact. Rodgers charmed his way down the left before cutting back, where Low was at the head of a queue of players to rifle low beyond Hughes.
Again, the Braves attempted a comeback. Jamie Walker went close before Andy Dowie had an effort cleared off the line, despite appeals that it had in fact crossed the whitewash. No VAR in Falkirk, sadly.
The Shire wrapped it up on the hour mark, with Rodgers securing his hat-trick of assists. This time his cross was met by Reis Peggie, who nodded beyond a stranded Hughes.
It was almost four when Low smacked the post with a low drive after a swift Shire counter, but thankfully for the Braves that was all she wrote.
It was a shame that the visitors could not repeat the steeliness shown in last week’s victory over the Cumbernauld Colts, but East Stirlingshire represented a different threat – a team full of confidence, at the right end of the table.
Add those odds to the horrific weather conditions – howling wind and rain combined with a cold snap that has hit central Scotland in the last 24 hours – it was always going to be an uphill battle.
Now, attention turns to the Scottish Cup as the Braves continue their national tour of Scotland (they won’t play at home until the 19th December) as they take on Clachnacuddin in Inverness.