Albion 5 Feb 2017 017Scorers: Malcolm (21 and 78) and Bell (88)

STEVIE Farrell's home managerial debut saw Stranraer pick up three vital points as they closed the gap on the teams above.

The Blues came into the game knowing three points would be a big boost in terms of keeping in touch with clubs like Stenhousemuir, Peterhead and their opponents Albion Rovers.

The hosts were forced into one change with Craig Pettigrew still nursing an ankle injury from last week's point at New Bayview.

That meant a full debut for Michael Donald, with new signing Amadou Kassaraté named on the bench.
Albion 5 Feb 2017 016
It was a slightly cautious opening from both teams, who knew there was plenty at stake.

Paul Willis had the first shot on target before Craig Malcolm stung the palms of Ross Stewart in the visitors' goal.

The opener came midway through the first half, with the hosts edging in front.

Scott Robertson found Scott Agnew and his shot seemed to deceive Stewart, who could only make an unconvincing block.

Malcolm showed a poacher's instinct to react quickest and slid the ball into the net to end his own personal goal drought, which stretched back to October.

The Blues could have doubled their advantage before the break, only to be denied by the woodwork.
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Agnew and Willie Gibson worked a quickly taken corner and Agnew's sliding shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

Whatever Darren Young said to his team at half time clearly had the desired effect as the visitors came out with a renewed attempt to get back into game.

They were on top for much of the early stages and really should have levelled but for a goal line clearance.

Theo Archibald's shot from 12 yards seemed destined to burst the net but Robertson was in the right place to head to safety.

It was a let off and the Blues should have put the game to bed moments later.
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Substitute Kyle Turner burst through the Albion defence and unselfishly squared the ball to the unmarked Agnew.

The midfielder took a touch but then uncharacteristically froze and his shot was blocked by a recovering defence when he should have really scored.

Fortunately, it was not to prove costly as the Blues found that second goal with 12 minutes left.

Agnew's corner was blocked but the midfielder's second cross was met by Steven Bell and Malcolm was lurking again to smash home from close range.

There was still time to add a third with Stranraer finding the net with two minutes left.

Albion 5 Feb 2017 010Gibson worked space on the left and drew Stewart out of his goal before squaring the ball to Bell, who managed to turn the cross home from close range.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Bell, Thomson, Agnew (Wilson 85), Donald (Turner 70), Gibson, Malcolm (McGuigan 79).
Not used: Kassaraté, Morena, Kemp and Currie.

Albion Rovers: Ross Stewart, Reid, Turnbull, Fisher (Ferguson 66), R Dunlop, M Dunlop, McCann (McBride 75), Davidson (Gilmour 88), Ross Stewart, Willis, T Archibald.
Not used: Ferry, P Archibald, Shields and Potts.

HT: 1-0
Attendance: 364
Referee: Gavin Duncan

Match images courtesy of Bill McCandlish and Glenn Coulter.

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 17 45
2 Raith Rovers 17 32
3 East Fife 17 26
4 Forfar Athletic 17 24
5 Montrose 17 21
6 Airdrieonians 17 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 17
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 17 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)