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ANNAN ATHLETIC took the regional bragging rights with a narrow friendly win over Dumfries and Galloway nearly-neighbours Stranraer.

As Blues boss Stevie Farrell emphasised earlier in the day, the exercise was all about giving players game time and in that sense it certainly did the trick.

Fifteen of the Stranraer squad - plus one unsigned trialist - all saw action at Galabank, with several encouraging performances across the heavily-rotated lineup.

Local goalkeeper Lyle Avci played the first half in goal for Annan following his release from Stranraer, with fellow Wigtownshire native James Hilton on the opposite side.

Hilton looked to beat his former Ayr United teammate with a free kick early on, but could only find the wall.

The winger was lively throughout the 90 minutes, flashing a shot wide from distance after quarter of an hour and firing over just before the break.

However, it was the League 2 side which had the best chances of the first half.

Scott McLean and Dan Wright both came close to breaking the deadlock, before Tommy Muir capitalised on a defensive slip up to roll the ball past Dale Burgess in the Blues goal.

Stranraer were inches away from an equaliser when Cameron Elliott rushed to meet a low delivery into the box, but the ball was just beyond his outstretched leg.

With Stevie Farrell absent, his coaching staff of Chris Aitken and Frank McKeown made five changes at the break.

Stranraer responded by creating their best passing move of the game so far, as veteran striker Mark Stewart latched onto a through ball only to shoot over the bar with the goalkeeper to beat.

Annan had a couple of chances, but otherwise it was one-way traffic in the second half for the Blues with substitutes Carlo Pignatiello and Ian Smith dictating much of the play.

Having spent the past few seasons in League 2 with Stirling Albion, Lee Hamilton is no stranger to Galabank, and the defender almost marked his return to Annan with a goal.

The defender - who played the full 90 minutes at centre half - rose to meet an inswinging corner but his powerful header was off target.

With goalscoring opportunities at a premium, a little bit of magic from new signing Pignatiello almost carved out a late leveller.

His perfectly-weighted ball found Hilton clean through on goal, but the hosts' second half keeper made a fine reflex stop.

Ultimately the contest was a good workout for Stranraer, who face Blyth Spartans and BSC Glasgow in quick succession over the coming days before a home friendly against Coleraine on Saturday 6 July.

Stranraer: Burgess (Currie 45), Hamill (Allan 45), Robertson (Cummins 45), Hamilton, D Smith, McManus, Trialist, Thomson (I Smith 45), Stewart, Elliott (Pignatiello 45), Hilton.

Not used: None.

HT: 1-0

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Falkirk 3 7
2 Raith Rovers 3 6
3 Forfar Athletic 2 6
4 Airdrieonians 3 6
5 Stranraer 3 4
6 Dumbarton 3 3
7 East Fife 2 2
8 Peterhead 3 2
9 Montrose 3 1
10 Clyde 3 1


Fixtures

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)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Mark Stewart (STR)
10 - Leon Murphy (MID)
11 - Ian Smith (MID)
12 - Carlo Pignatiello (MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (STR)
15 - Robert Jones (STR)

17 - David Smith (DEF)
18 - David Dangana (STR)
21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)