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YOUTH versus experience is always a battle that a manager has to weigh up.

Stranraer have been forced to turn to the younger members of the squad in recent weeks after five of the more experienced members departed.

However, Stevie Farrell has been delighted with the response, which included a 3-2 win last time out against Airdrieonians.

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Stranraer featured seven players under the age of 23, with a further four youngsters on the bench as unused substitutes, last weekend.

The manager said: "Youngsters play without fear.

"The only difference sometimes is that experience gives you consistency on a more regular basis.

"It is going to be peaks and troughs and just now they are going through a peak.

"They have come into the team and they are buzzing and playing with energy and enthusiasm.

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"We need to try to keep them at that level."

Among those youngsters performing on the field was Angus Beith.

The on-loan Hearts midfielder has proven a real success story for the Blues since making the switch from Tynecastle.

Five goals in nine games - including number 10,000 in the history of the SPFL - have proven crucial.

The 21 year old could be set to play his last game tomorrow (Saturday) when Raith Rovers head to Stair Park.

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Talks to see Beith extend his stay are ongoing and Farrell said: "We are working very hard.

"Angus is keen to stay and we are very respectful of the parent club.

"We will work closely with the parent club and the player's representatives in the coming days.

"Hopefully, we can get something sorted."

Tomorrow's tie is, of course, the rearranged fixture from October after the game was postponed with the scores level at 1-1.

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Torrential rain that day meant that Lewis Vaughan and Scott Agnew's goals counted for nothing.

Plenty of snow in the central belt had many fans fearing there could be a repeat with the game having to be further rearranged but Farrell said: "I've made a couple of calls to Stranraer and I think it's fine.

"I think Stranraer must be one of the few places in Scotland that is not white with snow."

The Blues are boosted by the return of Cameron Elliott, with David Barron also, hopefully, just a week away from stepping back into the fold.

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The Kirkcaldy side make the trip south top of the League One table, with the Stranraer boss insisting it was the visitors who started the game as favourites, despite Stranraer's home advantage.

He said: "They are full-time and they are top of the league with games in hand over their nearest rivals Ayr United.

"They are there on merit and I said after the second game of the season that I thought they would win the league and I have seen nothing to change my mind on that."

Stranraer remain on the lookout for another striker but Farrell was also quick to praise the efforts of Stephen Okoh, who he felt had his "best performance in a Stranraer shirt" in last weekend's victory over the Diamonds.

The striker scored twice and set up Beith for the match winning third in a memorable win.

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Farrell added: "I think his first goal is just pressure and not giving up.

"He closed the goalkeeper down and invited him onto his wrong foot and got his rewards.

"The second goal was a good goal.

"He hit it early and did not allow the goalkeeper to get set - it was a good piece of striking play."


Last meeting
Raith Rovers 3-0 Stranraer
30 December 2017

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TABLE topping Raith Rovers picked up their second 3-0 win over Stranraer this season just before the end of 2017.

Liam Dick played his final game for the Blues, while Ryan Wallace, Danny Stoney and Tom Lang had already departed. Kyle Turner was recalled to the team but the hosts would be two goals up before half an hour was played.

Dick's slack ball put Scott Robertson under pressure, with Liam Buchanan then crossing for Greig Spence to slide home from close range. Buchanan then got his name on the scoresheet when he smashed past Cameron Belford at his near post.

Those two goals came slightly against the run of play but the Blues could not find a way back into the game. Goal number three would come in bizarre circumstances when Steven Bell's attempted headed clearance struck the back of Morgyn Neill. The ball then looped back onto the crossbar before dropping straight to Lewis Vaughan to tap home.

Raith could have made it four before the end but Vaughan's spot kick was saved by Belford.

Raith Rovers: Smith, Thomson, Murray, McKay, Scott Robertson, Matthews, Davidson, Spence (Court 74), Buchanan (Osei-Opoku 85), Vaughan, Zanatta.
Not used: Watson, Bell, Berry and Lennox.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Neill, Beith, Hamill, Woods, Bell, Anderson (Agnew 73), Turner (Elliott 80), Thomson (Okoh 73).
Not used: McGowan, Gray, Scott and McLaren.

Last five meetings

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- 3-0 (Spence, Buchanan and Vaughan) at Stark's Park on December 30, 2017
- 3-0 (Vaughan x2 and Spence) at Stark's Park on August 12, 2017
- 0-3 (Williamson, Sloan and Hislop) at Stair Park on April 4, 2009
- 2-1 (Weir and Wilson; Mullen) at Stark's Park on January 17, 2009
- 0-2 (Wales and Smith) at Stair Park on October 25, 2008

Stranraer's last five games

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WIN v Airdrieonians (H): 3-2 (Okoh x2 and Beith)
DRAW v Queen's Park (A): 2-2 (Beith and Turner)
LOSS v Ayr United (H): 1-5 (Turner)
LOSS v Raith Rovers (A): 3-0
LOSS v Alloa Athletic (A): 1-0

Raith Rovers' last five games


DRAW v Ayr United (H): 1-1 (Spence)
WIN v Forfar Athletic (H): 2-1 (Spence and OG)
WIN v East Fife (A): 2-3 (Robertson, Buchanan and Zanatta)
WIN v Stranraer (H): 3-0 (Spence, Buchanan and Vaughan)
WIN v Arbroath (A): 1-2 (Spence and Buchanan)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Airdrieonians: Belford, Robertson, Neill, Woods (Lyon 71), Okoh (Agnew 76), Anderson (Dykes 71), McGowan, Turner, Beith, Hamill, Thomson.
Not used: Gray, Scott, Holland and McLaren.

Raith Rovers lineup v Ayr United: Smith, Thomson, Murray, McKay, Herron (Barr 46), Robertson, Matthews, Davidson, Spence, Buchanan, Vaughan.
Not used: Watson, Berry, Hendry, Osei-Opoku, Court and Lennox.

Referee

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THERE is a first time for everything and tomorrow (Saturday) will mark the first time Scott Millar has been in charge of a senior game at Stair Park.

The referee has been in the middle of a Stranraer contest before though and you only need to go back to the end of September for that. The Blues travelled to Forfar but were a goal down in the opening five minutes when Josh Peters scored.

It looked like the three points would remain in Angus until deep into stoppage time when Danny Stoney popped up with a late, late leveller.

He also took charge of Stevie Farrell's first match as Stranraer boss at East Fife almost 12 months ago. It is also the first time the referee has taken charge of any contest involving today's visitors.

Admission

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Reduced entry prices apply:

General admission £5, primary kids FREE.

Coverage

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Join the conversation on Twitter at @StranraerFC - we'll have live updates throughout the afternoon.

And finally...

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With the reduced admission, we appreciate everyone who takes the opportunity to invite their friends and family along to Stair Park - maybe even for the first time?

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish.

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 3 7
2 Airdrieonians 3 6
3 Montrose 3 6
4 Raith Rovers 3 5
5 Dumbarton 3 4
6 Forfar Athletic 3 4
7 Brechin City 3 3
8 Stenhousemuir 3
3
9 Stranraer 3 2
10 East Fife 3 1


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andrew McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
9 - Isaac Layne (STR)

10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (MID/STR)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
15 - Sam Lidington (DEF)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (DEF/MID)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)