20191109 Raith Rovers W

STEVIE Farrell has thrown down the gauntlet to his Stranraer side ahead of a trip to Kirkcaldy.

The Blues ended an eight-game winless streak with a deserved 3-0 victory over Clyde last weekend.

Adam Cummins, Scott Robertson and Mark Stewart all found the net, with the manager calling for more of the same when they head to Stark’s Park tomorrow (Saturday).

He said: “I’ve said it for a long time that we have been playing well and putting performances together that deserved better results.

“On Saturday, it all just clicked and we got that result.

“The performance matched the result and the result matched the performance.

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“The challenge now is can we keep that level of performance.

“If we keep that level of performance, then we are going to give ourselves a chance in games in League One, whether that is against Raith Rovers, Clyde, Falkirk or whoever.

“If we keep that level of performance then we know we are going to give ourselves a chance in games.”

The Blues boss has received mixed news when it comes to team news for tomorrow (Saturday).

Lee Hamilton came off before half time against Clyde, with fears that he had aggravated the injury which had seen him miss six weeks of action.

Fortunately, the defender came off before the injury was too serious and he is available for the clash with Raith Rovers.

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On the other hand, Jamie Hamill, who replaced Hamilton last Saturday after overcoming his own injury, is out.

The club captain aggravated his own calf problem and is likely to spend a fortnight on the sidelines.

Grant Gallagher remains out long term while Robert Jones chipped a bone in his hand against Montrose and is also out.

The manager praised the impact of Ryan Thomson, who proved a real nuisance to the Clyde defence.

He said: “Ryan Thomson brings experience.

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“The one thing that we have lacked up top this year is experience.

"Obviously, Mark Stewart has had a number of injuries and we are still trying to get Mark back to full fitness.

"With young players you lack that wee bit of consistency and know how.

“Experienced defenders in this league were knowing how to play against that youthfulness.

“With Ryan, the one thing he is is an experienced player.

“He goes and gets his body in and goes and uses his body the way as a striker you need to use it.

“He played up front a lot for Dunfermline and I know I can rely on him and he has played at this level.

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“Arguably, Ryan has been one of my best players this year in the middle of the pitch so I was reluctant to move him from there but we just felt we needed his know how, his experience in that area of the pitch.”

The manager enjoyed a busy weekend last week, which saw him also take in the South of Scotland League Cup Final at Blairmount Park.

Stranraer’s Reserves side were 3-2 up in extra time against Threave Rovers when the floodlights went off, with the match to replayed.

Farrell said: “I feel sorry for the lads, first and foremost.

“You get to a cup final at any level, particularly going into extra time and you are winning with a couple of minutes to go, and you are thinking of the next step, of getting your hands on the cup.

“Then bureaucracy and bad planning by the league and the authorities, the local authorities, has cost the boys that moment and that is a shame.

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“The one group of people who are not at fault are the lads.”

The following day, Farrell and the Stranraer squad crossed London Road from Stair Park to Stranraer Academy to take in a training session with Lochryan Boys’ Club.

The manager added: “That was great, I loved that.

“It reminds me of my own kid.

“He is a wee bit older now but I loved those days when he was four or five and you saw him kicking the ball with just a smile on his face.

“There were no politics involved, there was no competitiveness involved, there were just kids enjoying playing football.”

Last meeting
Stranraer 3-2 Raith Rovers
Saturday 17 August 2019

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TWO goals in the final seven minutes helped Stranraer pick up their first win of the league season when Raith Rovers visited back in August.

The hosts got their noses in front through Connor McManus. The midfielder had time on the edge of the box and picked his spot beyond a helpless David McGurn.

A goal down at the break, Raith Rovers sought to change that and pulled level just three minutes after the restart. Michael Miller headed home from a corner and then Brad Spencer smashed across Dale Burgess to give the visitors the lead.

However, Stranraer would find an equaliser of their own seven minutes from time. David Dangana was denied in spectacular fashion by McGurn but the ball fell kindly to the on-loan man to rifle home.

There would be one last twist in the tale when Cameron Elliott reacted quickest to smash home from close range after McGurn failed to hold onto substitute Ian Smith’s fierce drive from distance.

Stranraer: Burgess, Robertson (D Smith 89), Allan, Cummins, Hamilton, Hamill, McManus, Murphy, Pignatiello (I Smith 72), Elliott, Dangana.
Not used: Adair, Mitchell and Currie.

Raith Rovers: McGurn, Miller, MacDonald, Davidson, Benedictus, Hendry, Anderson (Trialist 86), Matthews, Spencer, Allan, Bowie (J Smith 71).
Not used: McKay, Watson, Tait and Munro.

Last five meetings

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Stranraer 3 Raith Rovers 2 (McManus, Dangana and Elliott; Miller and Spencer) at Stair Park on August 17, 2019
Raith Rovers 2 Stranraer 3 (McKay and Barjonas; Turner, Cameron and Victoria) at Stark’s Park on April 13, 2019
Stranraer 2 Raith Rovers 2 (Turner and Victoria; McGuffie and Nisbet (Pen)) at Stair Park on March 2, 2019
Raith Rovers 2 Stranraer 1 (Nisbet x2; Donnelly) at Stark’s Park on October 20, 2018
Stranraer 1 Raith Rovers 1 (Anderson; Buchanan) at Stair Park on August 4, 2018

Last five games

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WIN v Clyde (H): 3-0 (Cummins, Robertson and Stewart (Pen))
LOSS v Montrose (A): 1-2 (Hilton)
DRAW v Dumbarton (H): 0-0
DRAW v East Fife (A): 1-1 (Jones)
DRAW v Airdrieonians (A): 2-2 (Allan and Hilton)

Raith Rovers

LOSS v Peterhead (A): 2-0
DRAW v East Fife (H): 1-1 (Spencer)
DRAW v Clyde (A): 2-2 (Bowie and Gullan)
WIN v Glenavon (H): 3-1 (Bowie, Armstrong and Allan)
DRAW v Falkirk (H): 2-2 (Miller and Armstrong)

Last time out

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Stranraer v Clyde: Currie, Robertson, Allan, Cummins, Hamilton (Hamill 32), McManus, Pignatiello, Thomson (Stewart 74), Stirling, Hilton, Dangana (Elliott 68).
Not used: D Smith, Murphy, I Smith and Burgess.

Peterhead v Raith Rovers: McGurn, Miller, MacDonald, Davidson, Benedictus, Dingwall, Matthews, Spencer, Armstrong (Anderson 46), Bowie (Smith 69), Gullan (Baird 46).
Not used: McKay, Anderson, Tait and Munro.

Lloyd Wilson

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TWICE Lloyd Wilson has taken charge of a Stranraer game at Stair Park this season, with the Blues yet to win.

At the beginning of August he took charge of the game with Montrose, where James Hilton scored in the first half. Terry Masson and Liam Callaghan scored two quickfire goals for the visitors but Carlo Pignatiello ensured the points were shared.

Then, at the end of August, Peterhead were the visitors. Scott Brown scored a first half double before David Dangana pulled one back five minutes from time.

Tomorrow's clash will mark the first time that Mr Wilson has taken charge of a Stranraer match on the road.

The referee began his season at Stark’s Park when he took charge of the cup clash with Dundee. The visitors were 3-0 winners with a double from Andrew Nelson in the first half before Craig Curran wrapped up the scoring after the break.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish
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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)