Scorers: Blyth Spartans - Devitt (70), Trialist (89) and Pearson (90); Stranraer - Elliott (8)

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CAMERON ELLIOTT fired Stranraer ahead after only 8 minutes in the side's first pre-season trip to Northumberland since a 3-1 victory back in 2014.


But in a reverse of that scoreline, Blyth hit back with three second half goals to run out worthy winners under new boss Lee Clark.

Stevie Farrell returned to the Stranraer dugout but was only able to name three substitutes.

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With David Smith on holiday, Mark Stewart in the maternity ward, and Grant Gallagher and Leon Murphy nursing slight knocks, a depleted lineup faced the National League North challengers at Croft Park.

Despite those setbacks, Stranraer created the best chances in the early going, as a 3-5-2 formation - with Scott Robertson and Jordan Allan as wing backs - stifled the Spartans' attacking play.

And the Blues raced into an early lead when a close-range finish from Elliott rounded off a fine team move.

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Five minutes later, James Hilton had a shot on target which Mark Foden spilled, but the home keeper managed to collect at the second attempt.

Foden wasn't quite so lucky on the half-hour mark as he dropped Allan's cross from the corner kick into the path of Lee Hamilton, but the Blues defender could only place his volley over the bar.

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Farrell made two changes at the break, with Dale Burgess on for the untested Max Currie and Ian Smith replacing Connor McManus.

Spartans took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, creating several good attempts on goal and dominating possession.

Michael Sweet found the side netting after a tidy turn, and long-time Blyth captain Robert Dale crashed one off the crossbar after Burgess had punched Joe Robson's effort away.

The long overdue equaliser finally arrived via the head of Tom Devitt, who met Dale's cross to head powerfully into the corner of the net.

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Blyth had the luxury of throwing on some fresh legs in the second half, and it paid off as two substitutes turned the game in their favour.

One of the Northumberland side's trialists produced a well-timed volley into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

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In the 90th minute, Stranraer were penalised for a passback despite protests from Burgess, Cummins and Hamill.

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And Dale Pearson hammered home from the resulting free kick to put a bit of gloss on what was otherwise a fairly even game.

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Stevie Farrell's side now have two days off to recover before their next friendly against Lowland League contenders BSC Glasgow.

Blyth Spartans: Foden, Evans, Callaghan (Pearson), Robson (Horner), Devitt, Hutchinson, Wrightson (Trialist), Mouanda, Fenwick (Trialist), Sweet, Dale (Butler).
Not used: Skirpan, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist

Stranraer: Currie (Burgess 45), Robertson, Allan (Trialist 59), Cummins, Hamilton (McManus 68), McManus (I Smith 45), Pignatiello, Thomson, Hilton, Elliott, Hamill.
Not used: None.

Referee: Adam Williamson
Attendance: 589
HT: 0-1

Photos: Stranraer FC

Gallery

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Raith Rovers 16 31
2 Airdrieonians 16 29
3 Falkirk 16 27
4 East Fife 16 26
5 Montrose 16 23
6 Dumbarton 16 21
7 Peterhead 16 19
8 Clyde 16 18
9 Forfar Athletic 16 15
10 Stranraer 16 10


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)
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)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)