Peterhead went to Ochilview in high spirits after a profitable festive period but failed to break down an unexpectedly dogged East Stirling side.
The game marked the first of a two-match ban for boss Jim McInally and he could only watch on from the stands as his charges banged their heads against the Shire defence.
The home side did not offer any attacking threat in the opening exchanges and it was not until the 15th minute they first sallied out.
From the resulting corner Chris Townsley was able to nod Max Wright’s cross home to put East Stirling ahead against the run of play.
Peterhead remained the dominant force before the break but were unable to make the pressure pay.
McInally, unable to give his usual halftime team talk, saw his side come out in the second period and continue to control the game.
Sadly for the watching manager the Shire hit Peterhead on the break once more.
A long punt upfield reached David Greenhill who fired past Toon keeper Graeme Smith from close range.
The home side have young goalkeeper Grant Hay to thank for the victory.
The 20-year-old stopper held firm against League 2’s in-form striker Rory McAllister.
He also denied midfielder Jamie Redman with two saves, described by McInally after the match as ‘different class.’
Blue Toon assistant manager Davie Nicholls stood in for McInally for the match. He said: “We played a lot of good stuff in the first half but they took advantage of a set piece.
“It was a poor goal to lose.
“In the first half we were very comfortable and I think if we’d got a goal then we would have done on to win the game.
“We’re still in a great position at the top of the table and I’d rather be where we are now than play catch up.”
After the match Shire manager John Coughlin said: “It was breathless at the end - we didn’t have a forward fit for the game.
“We’re not a side that loses too many goals now though and I’m delighted to have finished with a clean sheet again.
“Nobody could argue we passed up numerous chances to add to our tally.
“Peterhead are where I thought they would be at this time of the season, top of the league, but I’m pleased the lads kept their discipline, worked to our game plan and were rewarded with a win which keeps us in the mix for a playoff place.”
Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, McCann (McGlinchey 75), Redman, Noble, Ross, Rodgers (Buchan 80), Cowie, Gilfillan (Brown 60), McAllister, Strachan; Unused: Jarvie (GK), Tully;
Attendance - 310