Scorers: Stranraer – Turner (9) and Victoria (22); Raith Rovers – McGuffie (48) and Nisbet (Pen 57)

raith 20190302 011

A DISPUTED second half penalty helped Raith Rovers come from two goals down to rescue a point at a blustery Stair Park.

Stranraer held a two-goal advantage at half time with goals from Kyle Turner and Joao Victoria.

However, the Kirkcaldy side started brightly in the second half to pull themselves level, with neither team able to find that vital third goal to win the contest.

Stevie Farrell was missing a number of players, with Grant Anderson, Mark Lamont, Ian Smith, Chris McGowan, PJ Crossan and Andy McDonald all on the sidelines.

That meant a starting place for Victoria, with the quartet of Lyle Avci, Conor O’Keefe, Jonny Baxter and Ally McColm on the Stranraer bench having just nine appearances for the club between them.

raith 20190302 014

Despite those absences, the Blues were dominant for much of the first half.

David Smith, up against his former club, did exceptionally well down the left before cutting back and firing in a bouncing cross.

Turner got away from his marker and put a controlled first-time finish beyond Robbie Thomson to open the scoring.

raith 20190302 003

Thomson would need to be at his very best on 21 minutes though.

A fine team move saw Connor McManus work the ball to Turner, who found captain Jamie Hamill.

The full-back then swung in a cross from the right, with Cameron Elliott meeting the ball with a diving header.

raith 20190302 015

It looked destined for the net but Thomson produced a stunning one-handed save to push the ball onto the crossbar.

That only delayed Stranraer’s second goal by a matter of seconds though.

Victoria collected the ball on the left of the box and cut inside before smashing an unstoppable effort beyond Thomson.

raith 20190302 007

Raith had offered little to this point but gave a timely reminder on the half hour mark.

Kevin Nisbet did well on the left and had the presence of mind to look up and pick out Tony Dingwall.

His shot through a group of players was blocked by Max Currie before Stranraer threw bodies in front of any potential rebound.

Clearly, Raith had to improve after the break and they found a way back into the tie just three minutes after the restart.

Craig McGuffie snuck in unmarked at the back post and met Callum Crane’s cross to sweep the ball home beyond Currie.

raith 20190302 009

Immediately, Stranraer almost restored their two-goal advantage through Victoria.

Again, he found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and this time his deflected shot had Thomson scrambling but it rolled the wrong side of the post.

The scores would be levelled though three minutes before the hour-mark.

A long ball over the Stranraer defence allowed Nisbet to race through, with Currie blocking the shot with his legs.

It came back to debutant Jamie Gullan, who fired at goal but the shot was blocked at close range by Adam Cummins.

Referee David Munro pointed to the penalty spot and booked Cummins, ruling the defender had made the block with his hand.

raith 20190302 010

It looked very harsh but Nisbet needed no second invitation and sent Currie the wrong way from 12 yards.

It would have been easy for the Blues to crumble but instead they stuck to the task and kept Raith at bay.

raith 20190302 013

Indeed, neither team really carved out another clear cut opportunity over the remaining 30 or so minutes and both had to settle for a point.

Stranraer: Currie, Brownlie, Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, Victoria, McCann, Elliott (O’Keefe 73), Cameron.
Not used: Baxter, McColm and Avci.

Raith Rovers: Thomson, Crane, Murray, Gillespie, Dingwall, Matthews, Nisbet, McKay, Barjonas, McGuffie (Flanagan 71), Gullan (Buchanan 69).
Not used: Berry, Watson, Bowie, Davidson and Lyness.

Referee: David Munro
Attendance: 310
HT: 2-0

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Gallery 1
Gallery 2

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16

2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID/STR)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Ryan Stevenson (STR)
10 - Denny Johnstone (STR)
11 - Joao Victoria (MID/STR)

12 - Carlo Pignatiello (DEF/MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID/STR)
16 - Lewis McIntyre (DEF)
20 - Jordan Ross (MID)

21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)