33 Albion Rovers W

THREE hundred and sixty three days ago, Stevie Farrell took charge of a Stranraer team for the first time.

A lot, of course, has changed since that day at Bayview Stadium in January 2017, with the Blues in a better place than 12 months ago.

Farrell said: "The club has progressed and has come on in the last year.

"The club needed snookers to stay in the division and we turned that around.

"Then, at Christmas this season, we were sitting third in the league after the first six months of the season.

"Then came the bombshell of what has happened financially and hopefully that is finished now.

"We had to get going and the players got themselves going again.

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"We are going into the last part of the season and the club has moved forward against challenging and difficult times.

"That is not just down to me but the management team, the coaching team, Stuart Millar, the committee and most importantly the group of players.

"It has been a team effort from last January through to now and every obstacle and challenge we have faced together."

The last four weeks have presented plenty of challenges with the departure of five players in Liam Dick, Tom Lang, Steven Bell, Ryan Wallace and Danny Stoney.

Today (Friday), the club also waved goodbye to Cameron Belford, who has proven a popular figure over the past 18 months.

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The manager was quick to praise the goalkeeper, who has joined Forest Green Rovers in England's League Two.

Farrell highlighted Belford, who made 90 appearances for the Blues, had made a huge impact in his time at the club.

He said: "It is a big blow.

"I think he is arguably as good as any goalkeeper in the division; he has proven that over the last few years.

"He can be Cammy and be a bit of character.

"As a goalkeeper, he has been first class since I came here."

As one door closes, another door opens with Max Currie given a chance to cement his place as first choice goalkeeper.

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The 20 year old has made ten appearances for the club since making his debut against Stenhousemuir on Boxing Day 2015.

Farrell said: "I have said to Max that he is in a similar situation to David Mitchell.

"He has come in as a young kid and he has got an opportunity to go and be number one.

"We had a good chat yesterday (Thursday) and he is ready for the challenge."

The new number one has been training with the Blues, despite being on loan at Lowland League side Cumbernauld Colts.

Rounding off the transfers, for the moment, was the announcement earlier this evening that Angus Beith had extended his loan until the end of the season.

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The Hearts midfielder has made ten appearances for the Blues so far and found the net on six occasions.

The Stranraer manager said: "It is not just his goals.

"They have helped us obviously but his performances have been first class.

"He is a great kid and as a professional he is first class and his application is with a real quality.

"We are delighted to have him."

The Blues remain on the hunt for a striker, with Stuart Millar a busy man.

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Farrell added: "Stuart has been out there and he has been working tirelessly in terms of this week and weeks previously.

"He has been instrumental in ensuring Angus remains at the club and we are trying to pursue one more player between now and the window closing."

With all that in mind, attention can now turn to tomorrow (Saturday) and a trip to Cliftonhill.

A 9.30am pitch inspection will determine whether or not the game kicks off, with the Blues only without Ryan Thomson, who is serving a suspension.

It remains to be seen who will fill his boots but the manager was just keen to see the game being played in a bid to keep the momentum going after back to back wins over Airdrie and Raith Rovers.

A minimum of three goals have been scored in each of the last five meetings between Stranraer and Albion Rovers.

Farrell joked a 0-0 was on the cards and said: "Hopefully, it is another game that we can go and win."


Last meeting
Stranraer 2-2 Albion Rovers
19 December 2017

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INJURY-HIT Stranraer twice came from behind to clinch a point against Albion Rovers. Ryan Wallace was on target from the penalty spot twice, with Alan Trouten getting the goals for the visitors. It was Trouten who opened the scoring when he beat Cameron Belford, who managed to block his first effort but was helpless to stop the rebound. Stranraer's attempts to take something from the game were dented ten minutes before the break when Steven Bell was forced off - replaced by Paul Woods - but the Blues were level a minute later. Wallace was on hand to score from the penalty spot before the Coatbridge side were literally handed their own penalty when Morgyn Neill was judged to have handled the ball. Trouten scored from 12 yards but there would be one last penalty when Grant Anderson was brought down by Daniel Potts. Wallace was again reliable from the spot and ensured the spoils were shared.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Barron (McGowan 63), Neill (Dick 62), Hamill, Bell (Woods 35), Anderson, Beith, Thomson, Wallace, Turner.
Not used: Okoh, Elliott, Stoney and McLaren.

Albion Rovers: Potts, Lightbody, McLaughlin, Reid, Perry, Holmes, Fisher, Davidson, Trouten, Hopkins (McMullin 56), Shields (Vitoria 83).
Not used: McLeish, Guthrie, Watters and Fallon.

Last five meetings

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- 2-2 (Wallace (Pen x2); Trouten x2 (Pen x1)) at Stair Park on December 19, 2017
- 0-4 (Agnew x3 and Woods) at Cliftonhill on September 16, 2017
- 3-0 (Willis, Wallace, OG) at Cliftonhill on April 8, 2017
- 3-0 (Malcolm x2 and Bell) at Stair Park on February 4, 2017
- 3-2 (Stewart and Wallace x2 (Pen x1); Gibson and Nuttall) at Cliftonhill on November 12, 2016

Stranraer's last five games

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WIN v Raith Rovers (H): 1-0 (Beith)
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

Albion Rovers' last five games


LOSS v Forfar Athletic (A): 4-2 (Fisher and Marr)
LOSS v Alloa Athletic (A): 3-1 (Vitoria)
DRAW v Airdrieonians (H) 2-2 (Trouten and McLaughlin)
DRAW v Queen's Park (A): 2-2 (Trouten and Vitoria)
WIN v East Fife (H): 3-2 (Shields, Trouten and McLaughlin)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Raith Rovers: Belford, Robertson, Neill, Woods (Agnew 90), Okoh (Anderson 67), Dykes (Lyon 84), McGowan, Turner, Beith, Hamill, R Thomson.
Not used: Gray, Elliott, Holland and McLaren.

Albion Rovers lineup v Forfar Athletic: Potts, McLaughlin, McMullin, Reid, Marr, Fisher, Shields, Davidson, Higgins (Lightbody 80), Trouten, Vitoria (Hopkins 45).
Not used: McDonald, Gallagher, Watters, O'Kane and Wright.

Referee

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DAVID Lowe has been involved in one Stranraer game this season and it saw the Blues picking up all three points.

The referee made the trip to Stair Park on November 4 with Grant Anderson and Steven Bell putting the home side 2-0 up at half time against Queen's Park. Ryan Wallace would add another three minutes from time to wrap up a good win.

It is, however, the first time the Blues have been involved in a game with Mr Lowe away from home.

Lowe has had two trips to Cliftonhill this campaign, with both games finishing 2-1. On the first occasion, it was near neighbours Airdrie who won but on the last occasion it was the home side winning by the same scoreline against Raith Rovers. Alan Trouten, who has scored 24 times this season, got the first goal before Connor Shields made it 2-0. Greig Spence's strike three minutes from time ultimately counted for nothing.

Admission

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Set your sat nav for ML5 3RB. Parking is available on nearby streets if you get there early.

Admission at Cliftonhill is as follows:

Adult £14, Concession £7, Under 12s £2.

Concession entry covers senior citizens (65+), unemployed (on production of the appropriate benefit card), students with student ID and disabled (carer goes free).

Coverage

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Follow live updates from the touchline on Twitter at @StranraerFC.

And finally...

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With the first team on the road, why not support the local youngsters in action at Stair Park?

Our South of Scotland side are in action at home to Bonnyton Thistle - kickoff 3pm. Admission is £4 for adults, £2 for senior citizens (65+) and secondary pupils, and free for primary school kids and Stranraer season ticket holders.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish.

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Raith Rovers 26 57
2 Ayr United 25 51
3 Alloa Athletic 24 39
4 Arbroath 23 38
5 STRANRAER 25 35
6 Airdrieonians 25 32
7 East Fife 26 30
8 Forfar Athletic 26
24
9 Albion Rovers 24 23
10 Queen's Park 26 21

Updated 17/2/18 at 5pm

Fixtures


00 Stranraer FC 2015 Logo
3 Number Lotto
Sunday 10 December 2017

Numbers: 1, 14, 20
1 winner at £2000:

Congratulations to:
Iain, Kilmirren Avenue, Stranraer