Match preview: East Fife

05 East Fife W

IT HAS been 13 weeks since Stranraer brought the curtain down on another season.

Now, in less than 24 hours, Stair Park will once again welcome League One football, with East Fife making the trip down the A77.

Stevie Farrell and his newly-assembled squad are gearing up to build on last season, which, ultimately, saw them finish seventh

The manager said: "The players are looking forward with anticipation to the season.

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"People are desperate to get started.

"The League Cup is great, but the league is the bread and butter and everybody has got predictions of what is going to happen - everybody has got predictions for Stranraer.

"We just need to remain as a group, along with the fans and everybody at the club.

"As long as we pull together in one direction, we are going to have some good times this season.

"We will have some difficult times, but as long as we all stick together we can have a good season."

The Blues come into the opening league game on the back of a difficult Betfred Cup section, which saw them finish with zero points. Still, there are reasons to be optimistic after pushing Partick Thistle hard last Saturday.

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Of course, only 11 players can start for Stranraer tomorrow (Saturday). Farrell has decisions to make throughout the team with a full squad to choose from.

Cameron Belford and Ryan Wallace return from suspension while Tom Lang has shaken off a leg injury. Goalkeeper Max Currie and striker Stephen Okoh impressed at Firhill, which means the manager will have some tough choices.

He said: "Football is all about opinions.

"You could ask 100 fans for their teams and they would pick 100 different teams.

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"It is not necessarily the same team as last week and it will not necessarily be the same team next week.

"We have got reports on East Fife and had them watched three times.

"We will pick a team to go out and get a result tomorrow."

Meanwhile, the manager confirmed that the squad is now likely complete with the addition of Sam Lidington.

The promising defender is the latest - and likely last - addition to the squad, immediately joining junior heavyweights Hurlford United on loan.

lidington 1

Sam made his debut for Hurlford in a 4-0 friendly win over Rutherglen Glencairn last Saturday.

The ex-Kilmarnock youngster is in good company at Blair Park alongside former Stranraer captain and current head of youth development Allan Jenkins.

That means there will be no place in the squad for any of the three trialists who featured in the recent pre-season friendly with Cumbernauld Colts.
Last meeting
Stranraer 2-1 East Fife
Saturday 6 May 2017

East Fife 6 May 2017 010

IT IS a new season, but equally a case of 'same old, same old', as Stranraer's season kicks off with the same opposition that visited on the final day of the last campaign.

Plenty has, of course, changed since the game in May. Three of the starting XI from the last encounter have left with five of the substitutes also finding pastures new. Meanwhile, the Fifers have had a change of manager, with Barry Smith having left and been replaced by former Albion Rovers man Darren Young.

A victory on the last occasion would guarantee the Blues avoiding finishing ninth, and in fact Craig Malcolm's goal saw the home side move up to seventh. It would prove to be Malcolm's 104th - and final - goal for the club in his 250th appearance.

East Fife would equalise through Jason Kerr's overhead kick, before Amadou Kassaraté ensured Stranraer's season ended with a victory. Willie Gibson's shot proved too hot to handle for Mark Hurst and substitute Kassarate bundled home the rebound.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick (McGowan 89), Barron, Neill, Bell, Agnew, Donald (Wilson 72), Thomson, Gibson, Malcolm (Kassarate 82).
Not used: Morena, McGuigan, Kemp and Currie.

East Fife: Hurst, Kerr, Watt (Reilly 55), Penrice, Duffy, Slattery, Kane, Curran, Robinson, Paterson (Smith 71), Duggan.
Not used: Cooper, Brown, Lamont, Austin and Gordon.

Last five meetings

East Fife 28 Jan 2017 016


- 2-1 (Malcolm and Kassarate; Kerr) at Stair Park on May 6, 2017
- 0-0 at Bayview Stadium on January 28, 2017
- 1-1 (Bell; Brown) at Stair Park on October 22, 2016
- 2-0 (Insall x2) at Bayview Stadium on September 10, 2016
- 1-0 (Malcolm) at Stair Park on August 4, 2014

Stranraer's last five games

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Partick Thistle (A): 1-0
Livingston (H): 2-4 (Neill and Agnew)
Cumbernauld Colts (A): 1-1 (Trialist)
Airdrieonians (A): 3-1 (Robertson)
St Mirren (H): 1-4 (Agnew)

East Fife's last five games

Elgin City (H): 3-2 (Duggan, Docherty (P) and Willis)
Hearts (A): 3-0
Dunfermline (H): 0-0 (Dunfermline win on penalties)
Peterhead (A): 1-0
Stranraer (A): 2-1 (Kerr)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Partick Thistle: Currie, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Hamill, Bell, Anderson (Woods 61), Turner (Stoney 83), Thomson, Okoh (Agnew 74).
Not used: McGowan, Holland, Simpson and McLaren.

East Fife lineup v Elgin City: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson, Reilly (Wilkie 78), Slattery, Millar, Flanagan (Inglis 89), Willis, Duggan, Wilson.
Not used: Young.

Referee

kevin graham


Kevin Graham was last involved in an East Fife match in March this year. The Fifers visited Cliftonhill but were undone by a goal from their former striker - and current Stranraer frontman - Ryan Wallace ten minutes after the restart.

Graham's last trip to Stair Park came in September last year when the Blues welcomed Albion Rovers. The home side were 3-0 up through Craig Thomson's double and a Mark McGuigan strike before Ross Stewart and Paul Willis ensured a nervy finale.

Graham's last involvement with Stranraer though would come eight days before Christmas last year. Brechin picked up a 2-0 win with first half strikes from Alistair Love and Connor McLennan before Stranraer's day got worse when Steven Bell was sent off.

Admission

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Entry prices are as follows:

Adult £15, Concessions (65+) £10, Secondary School £5, Primary School FREE.

Coverage

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If you can't make it to Stair Park, you can keep up with all the action on Twitter at @StranraerFC.

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 2 6
2 Raith Rovers 2 4
3 Arbroath 2 4
4 East Fife 2 3
5 Albion Rovers 2 3
6 Forfar Athletic 2 3
7 STRANRAER 2 3
8 Airdrieonians 2 1
9 Alloa Athletic 2 1
10 Queen's Park 2 0

Fixtures


00 Stranraer FC 2015 Logo
3 Number Lotto
Sunday 13 August 2017

Numbers: 3, 7 and 16

2 winners at £500:

Sid c/o Central Bar, Newton Stewart
Julie, Dunragit