L34 Brechin City W

STEVIE Farrell has called on his Stranraer team to match the performances of the last fortnight when they welcome Brechin City tomorrow (Saturday).

The Blues have picked up six points out of six with victories over Forfar Athletic and Raith Rovers in April to boost their survival hopes.

A further three points would not necessarily guarantee League One status and Farrell was keen to avoid any complacency at Stair Park.

He said: “We know if we don’t play in the manner we played last Saturday and the manner that we played against Forfar then we are going to probably come a cropper.

“If we play the way we played against Forfar and if we play the way we played against Raith and continue with that level of performance and level of intensity then we give ourselves a hell of a chance.

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“It does not matter if it is Brechin or whoever it is, if we play like we have in the last two or three weeks then we have got a chance in the game.”

The manager said both teams knew each other “inside out” after three meetings this campaign, which has seen a draw and a win for each team.

Stranraer’s injury list has increased ahead of the game with David Brownlie and Conor O’Keefe joining Adam Cummins, Christopher McGowan and Ian Smith on the sidelines.

Hope remains that Brownlie could yet be back before the end of the season but it does not look so positive for O’Keefe.

That means Alistair McColm and Robbie Murray from the South of Scotland squad are likely to be drafted in and involved in the game.

alistair mccolm

Farrell refused to use injuries and absences as any kind of excuse and instead wanted to focus on the players who were available to him.

The Blues come into the game on the back of a memorable win at Stark’s Park last time out.

Raith Rovers found themselves 2-0 up before goals from Kyle Turner and Innes Cameron levelled things before the break.

Farrell said: “We were unfortunate to be 2-0 down because we had played some good stuff.

“We started the game really well and I thought, arguably, we were creating the better chances as well.

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“Then you find yourselves 2-0 down and you think ‘Oh God, the game has gone against you’.

“We kept at it and from the sidelines we believed that if we got a chance and scored then we gave ourselves a foothold in the game.

“That’s what happened and as soon as we scored you could see the confidence through the team.”

Stranraer continued their impressive form after the break but it was not until stoppage time that they found the winning goal.

Cameron struck the post and Joao Victoria nodded home.

Farrell said: “Alan Waddell (first team coach) said the feeling on Saturday was similar to the one we had at Ibrox a long, long time ago.

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“Alan said when it went in it was the same sense of feeling as we had way back in December 2013 (when Jamie Longworth scored in a memorable 1-1 draw with Rangers).

“It is a great and special time – it does not matter whether you are scoring at Stark’s Park or scoring at Ibrox – but to score a goal in the last minute that means as much as it did is fantastic.”

The manager also reserved praise for Victoria, who has now found the net four times for the Blues.

The frontman is enjoying his time at Stair Park and Farrell was hopeful that would continue.

He said: “I am just telling him to enjoy himself.

“Joao Victoria is a confidence player, he is a quiet lad, he needs an arm round his shoulder and different players need different things.

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“As a manager you have got to try to gauge, you are not always going to get it right, but you have got to try to gauge, particularly with your match winners and Joao Victoria is a match winner, you have got to try to get them right.

“You have got to try to get them mentally right and physically right.

“If you can get your match winners right, get them enjoying themselves and playing with a smile on their face, then you are going to get your rewards.

“I was adamant I wanted Joao Victoria.

“There were one or two options getting thrown at me but I was quite insistent he was the one I wanted.”

Last meeting
Stranraer 0-2 Brechin City
26 March 2019

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TWO late strikes ensured Brechin City picked up a much-needed three points at Stair Park just last month.

Both sides had chances in the midweek clash but the deadlock was not broken until just a minute from time.

Andy Jackson grabbed that vital first goal and, with Stranraer pushing for a leveller, they were hit with a suckerpunch when Craig Thomson, who previously spent time on loan at Stranraer, scored in injury time.

Stranraer: Avci, McDonald, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, McManus, Turner, McCann, Anderson (O’Keefe 78), Cameron, Victoria (Crossan 69).
Not used: Elliott, Lamont and Brown.

Brechin City: O’Neil, McLean, Hill, Toshney, Scobbie, Burns (Orsi 81), E Smith, Robertson, Thomson, Jackson (McGeever 89), Kavanagh (Jamieson 65).
Not used: Spark, Tapping, Miller and Bowman.

Last five meetings

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Stranraer 0 Brechin City 2 (Jackson and Thomson) at Stair Park on March 26, 2019
Brechin City 1 Stranraer 2 (E Smith; Cameron and Hamill) at Glebe Park on February 23, 2019
Brechin City 1 Stranraer 1 (C Tapping; Donnelly) at Glebe Park on September 29, 2018
Brechin City 0 Stranraer 0 at Glebe Park on April 22, 2017
Stranraer 2 Brechin City 0 (Gibson and Malcolm) at Stair Park on February 25, 2017

Last five games

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WIN v Raith Rovers (H): 2-3 (Turner, Cameron and Victoria)
WIN v Forfar Athletic (H): 2-1 (Victoria and McManus)
LOSS v Montrose (A): 3-1 (McDonald)
LOSS v Brechin (H): 0-2
DRAW v Arbroath (H): 0-0

Brechin City

DRAW v Arbroath (H): 1-1 (Miller)
LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-1 (Hill)
LOSS v Montrose (H): 0-3
LOSS v Airdrieonians (H): 0-3
WIN v Stranraer (A): 0-2 (Jackson and Thomson)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Raith Rovers: Currie, McDonald, D Smith, Hamill, McManus, Turner, McCann, Elliott (Crossan 83), Cameron, Lamont (Anderson 78), Victoria.
Not used: Brownlie, McColm and Avci.

Brechin City lineup v Arbroath: Bowman, McLean, Hill (McGeever 77), Spark, Scobbie, Miller, Burns, E Smith, Robertson, Thomson (Kavanagh 7), Jackson.
Not used: J Tapping, Orsi, C Tapping, Jamieson and O’Neil.

Mike Roncone

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COMEBACKS have been the name of the game in the matches involving Stranraer, Brechin City and Mike Roncone this term.

The referee has taken charge of just one Stranraer game this season and that came at Stair Park in January. Grant Anderson and Innes Cameron had the Blues 2-0 up against East Fife at half time. Kevin Smith would pull one back before Joao Victoria restored the two-goal advantage. Unfortunately, the Fifers would rally and Craig Watson pulled one back before Anton Dowds bagged a double to turn the game on its head and seal a 4-3 win.

There were plenty of goals in Mr Roncone’s one tie involving Brechin City this term as well. That came back in August at Glebe Park, with Dumbarton leading 1-0 at the break through Bobby Barr. Brad Spencer doubled the advantage for the visitors before Boris Melingui scored either side of a Callum Tapping goal to give the hosts all three points.

Mr Roncone also took charge of one Brechin game last term and that took place at Cappielow in March. Then John Baird scored a second half double to give Greenock Morton all three points.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish
Our final home game of the regular league season is against Airdrieonians on Saturday 4 May.

Regular entry prices apply.

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)