L03 Forfar W

STRIKERS are worth their weight in gold and Stevie Farrell is hoping the return of Isaac Layne will give the Blues a boost tomorrow (Saturday).

The frontman came off the bench against Partick Thistle on Tuesday evening and will join a full Stranraer squad on the second trip to Angus in a week.

Farrell was expecting another tough tie when they take on Forfar having lost out to Arbroath last weekend.

The manager said: “It is another hard game and they have recruited well in the summer.

“They have good experienced strikers in Dale Hilson and John Baird and they are as potent as any strike force in the league.

“We know we are up against a tough challenge but it is one that we are looking forward to.

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“If we go and apply ourselves there is no reason we cannot come back with a good result.”

Layne has scored once in his three starts for Stranraer and will help ease the pressure on fellow frontmen Luke Donnelly - who found the net at Gayfield last Saturday - and Grant Anderson.

The manager added: “We are at full strength tomorrow.

“Sam Lidington had a bug midweek but was back training on Thursday and Isaac did a full session as well.

“Isaac’s return is a massive boost.

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“He is probably the only recognised out and out striker in the squad.

“We spoke about Forfar’s strikers being so important and we are bringing back our most natural striker.”

Meanwhile, concerns have also been raised about Stranraer at the other end of the pitch.

A 5-0 defeat to Partick Thistle during the week meant the Blues have conceded 22 goals in just seven games.

The manager added: “Every mistake we make is getting punished.

“Jamie Hamill makes a mistake against Raith and they score, Andy McDonald makes a mistake on Saturday and they score.

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“Individual errors are getting punished but that will not last forever.

“We have got to tidy up at the back and we have got to be stronger defensively.

“When the team is going forward, we don’t have concerns against any team.”

Farrell, who is in his second full season in charge at Stair Park, pointed out there were a number of technically gifted players in his squad, who are capable of creating moments of magic when they had the ball.

Now, he is urging his team – from the frontline to the back – to work extra hard without the ball to help improve that defensive record.

He said: “A lot of young boys played in teams where they were used to having a lot of the ball.

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“Luke Donnelly, Max Ashmore, Connor McManus and Mark Lamont are all very, very good footballers and technically gifted but probably have a lot to learn about the other side of the game.

“We are technically gifted but we need to pick up and learn the other side of the game.

“Without the ball is just as important in League One.”

Last meeting
Stranraer 2-0 Forfar Athletic
Saturday 31 March 2018

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A STRANRAER side missing Paul Woods, David Barron, Angus Beith, Cameron Elliott and Ryan Thomson triumphed 2-0 over Forfar back in March.

Stevie Farrell’s lineup was hampered further when Cameron MacPherson pulled up injured in the warm-up, with fellow loan signing Ross Lyon stepping up from the bench, which also had a familiar face as a trialist – goalkeeping coach Eric Phillips.

Despite those inconveniences, the Blues took the lead after just six minutes. Stephen Okoh combined well with Kyle Turner and Scott Agnew then rifled home from outside the box.

The advantage was doubled when Lyon’s shot was deflected off Michael Travis and beyond Marc McCallum.

Forfar tried to get back into the game and only the crossbar prevented Dylan Easton from making it 2-1. In the end, all the goals came in the first half, with the Blues cementing their place in League One for the coming season.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Lyon (Gray 85), Hamill, Hawkshaw, Agnew, Anderson (Scott 79), Turner, Okoh (Dykes 89).
Not used: Phillips.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Whyte, Malone, Travis, McNaughton (Hurst 35), MacKintosh, Aitken (Maciver 70), Dingwall (Peters 86), Hilson, Easton.
Not used: Allan, Starkey, Brotherston and Adam.

Last five meetings

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- Stranraer 2 Forfar Athletic 0 (Agnew and Lyon) at Stair Park on March 31, 2018
- Forfar Athletic 5 Stranraer 1 (Aitken x2, Dingwall, Hurst and Easton; Woods) at Station Park on February 17, 2018
- Stranraer 3 Forfar Athletic 0 (Wallace (Pen) and Beith x2) at Stair Park on December 16, 2017
- Forfar Athletic 1 Stranraer 1 (Peters; Stoney) at Station Park on September 30, 2017
- Stranraer 1 Forfar Athletic 0 (Pettigrew) at Stair Park on March 5, 2016

Stranraer's last five games

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LOSS v Partick Thistle (H): 0-5
LOSS v Arbroath (A): 3-1 (Donnelly)
DRAW v Raith Rovers (H): 1-1 (Anderson)
LOSS v Edinburgh City (A): 4-2 (Cummins and Anderson)
LOSS v Clyde (H): 1-3 (Anderson)

Forfar Athletic's last five games

WIN v Dumbarton (A): 0-2 (Baird x2)
LOSS v Aidrieonians (H): 1-3 (Hilson)
LOSS v St Johnstone (H): 1-3 (Baird)
WIN v Montrose (H): 3-1 (Easton (Pen), Baird and Hilson)
WIN v East Fife (A): 1-1 (Forfar Athletic win 5-4 on penalties) (Baird)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Partick Thistle: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Lamont (Layne 63), Turner, D Smith, Donnelly (Avci 85), Anderson (Ashmore 70).
Not used: McGowan, I Smith and Elliott.

Forfar Athletic lineup v Livingston U21: McCallum, Meechan, Whyte, Wilson, Travis, Reilly, Bain, MacKintosh, Hilson (Easton 85), Baird, Moore (Fraser 87).
Not used: Malone, Kelly, Coupe, Starkey and Muir.


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KYLE TURNER'S early penalty gave Stranraer the lead the last time John McKendrick was in charge of a match involving the Blues.

That came in March when Stevie Farrell’s men travelled to Airdrie. The lead lasted just seven minutes when Ryan Conroy equalised from the penalty spot. The scores were level at the break but Darryl Duffy found the winner on 71 minutes.

Mr McKendrick was also in charge of one Forfar match last season and that was at Airdrie’s near neighbours, Albion Rovers.

Again, the scoring was opened from the penalty spot with Alan Trouten finding the net before Alan Reid’s own goal levelled things. Connor Shields put the hosts back in front before David Cox scored twice and Josh Peters found the net to put Forfar on top. In the end, Sean Higgins’ goal was too little too late.

Mr McKendrick’s last trip to Station Park came back in May 2017 with a play-off tie against Annan Athletic. Forfar were the winners again, with Gavin Swankie’s double added to by Danny Denholm and Jamie Bain, with Aidan Smith scoring from the penalty spot alongside Darren Ramsay for Annan. Forfar won 6-4 on aggregate.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Stranraer will wear the new 3rd kit for the first time today away to Forfar Athletic.

You can pre-order yours online now:

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 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 0 0
2 Berwick
0 0
3 Falkirk 0 0
4 Livingston 0 0
5 Stranraer 0 0


Squad 2019/20

Dale Burgess (GK, Renfrew), Scott Robertson (DEF, Airdrie), Ryan Thomson (MID, Dumbarton), Grant Gallagher (MID, Airdrie), Jordan Allan (DEF, Stirling), Mark Stewart (STR, Stirling), Lee Hamilton (DEF, Stirling), James Hilton (MID, Ayr United), Leon Murphy (MID, on loan from Ayr United).

RE-SIGNED: David Smith (DEF), Max Currie (GK), Connor McManus (DEF/MID), Adam Cummins (DEF), Cameron Elliott (STR), Jamie Hamill (DEF), Ian Smith (MID).

OUT: Lyle Avci, Andy McDonald (Elgin), David Brownlie (EK), Chris McGowan, Mark Lamont, Conor O'Keefe, Kyle Turner (Dunfermline).

LOAN ENDED: Innes Cameron, Ali McCann, Joao Victoria, PJ Crossan.

View squad