20191026 Montrose W

STEVIE Farrell is hoping Stranraer can follow in the footsteps of Montrose and get on the winning trail.

Tomorrow’s opposition were sitting bottom of the table just a few weeks ago and had not tasted victory in the league since April.

However, in the last three games they have picked up maximum points, with victories over Peterhead, Clyde and Airdrieonians.

Stranraer have also been lacking in victories but come into the game on the back of three consecutive draws.

Farrell said: “Four weeks ago, everybody had Montrose written off.

“Now, they are probably thinking they are promotion contenders.

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“It was three games and they kept believing in their squad and that it was not much different from last year.

“They probably felt they were not picking up the results they deserved.

“If you look at our first ten games, arguably, we could have had another four or five points and you would be right back in it.

“That is the fine lines in football.

“Montrose had that in their first six or seven games and they have turned it around in the last three.

“We came through that tricky spell of four defeats and now we are trying to change draws into wins – solid points into three points.

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“It can turn very, very quickly in one game.

“We are all very capable of beating each other in this league.”

The Blues come into the game again without Jamie Hamill and Grant Gallagher.

Club captain Hamill missed last weekend’s draw with Dumbarton through a calf problem and is again on the sidelines.

Farrell said the experienced defender was working with the physio and the club’s medical staff as he bids to get back to full fitness.

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At the other end of the pitch, the manager was hopeful a high-scoring closed doors match and a session focusing heavily on goalscoring could make all the difference.

Farrell said: “We worked very hard on turning chances into goals last night (Thursday).

“I don’t think it is even so much our general play around the box [that is lacking].

“Our general play in the final third is excellent but it has just been the final bit of putting the ball in the net.

“We worked hard on that last night in training and hopefully we will find that final bit tomorrow.”

Stranraer also put ten past Next Level Soccer Academy on Tuesday evening, with Mark Stewart (pictured) scoring four, Cameron Elliott grabbing a hat-trick and David Dangana, Robert Jones and James Hilton all finding the net.

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The manager felt the closed door game allowed players such as Leon Murphy, Ian Smith, Dangana and Jones to get minutes under their belts and to get into promising positions.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, the Blues found out they would be welcoming Dunfermline Athletic to Stair Park in the third round of the Scottish Cup.

The manager was happy with a home draw and added: “We can go into the game really looking forward to it.

“There is not a massive expectation on us but every round there is an upset.

“You normally find someone makes a name for themselves.”

Last meeting
Stranraer 2-2 Montrose
Saturday 3 August 2019

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THREE goals in the final 14 minutes saw the spoils shared between Stranraer and Montrose on the opening day of the league season.

James Hilton scored his first league goal for the club after getting on the end of Mark Stewart’s low cross to give the Blues a half time lead.

However, the game was punctuated by injuries, with Stewart going off in the first half and Jordan Allan off after the break. The full-back’s departure signalled the start of the crazy final quarter of an hour.

First, Terry Masson capitalised on defensive uncertainty and bundled the ball over the line.

Smelling blood, Montrose seized the initiative with Blair Lyons finding Liam Callaghan, who turned and fired home.

Almost as quickly, Stranraer got themselves back on level terms when trialist Robert Jones teed up Carlo Pignatiello, who scored with the aid of a deflection.

Stranraer: Currie, J Allan (Murphy 74), Cummins, Hamilton, D Smith, Hamill, McManus, Thomson, Hilton, Stewart (Pignatiello 32), Dangana (Jones 72).
Not used: I Smith and Burgess.

Montrose: Fleming, Steeves, M Allan (Lyons 70), Waddell, Dillon, Masson, Webster, Milne, Callaghan, Cregg (Watson 67), R Campbell (McLean 70).
Not used: I Campbell, Rennie, Skelly and Lennox.

Last five meetings

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Stranraer 2 Montrose 2 (Hilton and Pignatiello; Masson and Callaghan) at Stair Park on August 3, 2019
Montrose 3 Stranraer 1 (Milne, Henderson and Watson; McDonald) at Links Park on March 30, 2019
Stranraer 1 Montrose 2 (Cameron; Rennie (Pen x2)) at Stair Park on January 5, 2019
Montrose 1 Stranraer 1 (Rennie; Hamill) at Links Park on November 17, 2018
Stranraer 2 Montrose 0 (Brownlie and Anderson) at Stair Park on August 25, 2018

Last five games

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Stranraer


DRAW v Dumbarton (H): 0-0
DRAW v East Fife (A): 1-1 (Jones)
DRAW v Airdrieonians (A): 2-2 (Allan and Hilton)
LOSS v Falkirk (H): 0-3
LOSS v Clyde (A): 6-1 (Hilton)

Montrose

WIN v Airdrieonians (A): 1-3 (Lyons x2 and Webster)
WIN v Clyde (A): 0-2 (Webster (Pen) and MacBeath)
WIN v Peterhead (H): 4-3 (MacBeath, Webster x2 and Watson)
LOSS v Forfar Athletic (A): 2-0
LOSS v East Fife (H): 1-3 (Lyons)

Last time out

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Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, J Allan, Cummins, Hamilton, McManus, Pignatiello, Thomson (I Smith 84), Stirling, Hilton (Murphy 74), Elliott (Dangana 77).
Not used: Stewart, Jones, D Smith and Burgess.

Airdrieonians v Montrose: Lennox, Ballantyne, Steeves, M Allan, Dillon, Webster, Watson (Niang 66), Callaghan, Ballantyne (Masson 79), Lyons, MacBeath (Johnston 66).
Not used: Waddell, I Campbell, Struthers and Fleming.

Referee
John McKendrick

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THE experienced John McKendrick is the man in the middle at Links Park on Saturday.

He took charge of five games involving Stranraer last season, with Stevie Farrell’s men posting a record of one win, two draws and two defeats. The most recent game came on a Tuesday evening in March when Brechin City emerged victorious at Stair Park thanks to two late goals. Andy Jackson and former Blue Craig Thomson netted to give the visitors all three points.

For the last game away from Stair Park, fans need to cast their minds back to three days before Christmas last year. On that occasion, Kyle Turner was the difference maker in a 1-0 victory over Dumbarton.

Mr McKendrick also took charge of three Montrose games last campaign, with the Angus side winning two and losing one. The most recent of those was the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Queen of the South. Ross Campbell’s double would give Montrose the upper hand going into the second leg, with the Dumfries side finding the net through Connor Murray at Links Park.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Raith Rovers 13 24
2 East Fife 13 24
3 Airdrieonians 13 23
4 Falkirk 13 22
5 Montrose 13 19
6 Dumbarton 13 17
7 Clyde 13 16
8 Peterhead 13 15
9 Stranraer 13 10
10 Forfar Athletic 13 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)
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)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)