19 Ayr United W

STRANRAER boss Stevie Farrell is aiming to serve up some derby day delight for the Stair Park faithful - but has urged his players to treat it like any other game.

The Blues make the trip to Somerset Park hoping to close the gap on their promotion rivals.

Victory in Ayrshire would be Stranraer's first since 3 January 2015, when ex-Ayr man Craig Malcolm and strike partner Jamie Longworth were on target.

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Farrell was hoping another good result could be just around the corner.

He said: "I think it adds something for the fans.

"Stranraer fans and Ayr United fans like this fixture and they enjoy the occasion but it is not about the occasion for us.

"It is more about playing the match than the occasion.

"We want to go there and be competitive.

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"If we do that and we can play well then, hopefully, we can pick up a positive result."

The Honest Men were relegated last season after a single year back in the Scottish Championship.

Along with league leaders Raith Rovers, they were expected to mount a serious challenge for an immediate return to Scottish football's second tier.

That has proven to be the case so far this campaign, with the two sides occupying the top two spots in the League One table.

Farrell said: "They are, probably along with Raith Rovers, the favourites to go up and so they should be.

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"They are a full time club, with full time players and a strike force as good as anything in the division."

Ayr may arguably have the stronger squad on paper but the manager stressed the game was not played on paper.

He said: "We stress to the players that it does not matter about reputations.

"It does not matter about what they have done previously or historically - it is about the here and now."

Ian McCall's men come into the tie on the back of a 5-0 win away to Forfar Athletic while Stranraer's clash with Raith Rovers fell victim to the weather.

Liam Dick missed the visit of the Kirkcaldy side and a niggling groin injury is likely to ensure the full back misses out again tomorrow (Saturday).

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Farrell was hopeful it would only be a couple of weeks before Dick was back in action but added it was all about how the defender's body reacted to the treatment.

Last weekend's washout means the Blues have played only nine games compared to their hosts ten.

Farrell felt referee Gavin Ross got it right at Stair Park, abandoning the game shortly before half time with the score at 1-1.

He said: "It was probably as bad conditions as I have seen as a player, assistant manager or manager.

"It was really, really poor conditions from the start to the finish and the referee made the right decision.

"Then, we had the aftermath and the journey home, which was pretty horrendous."

Last meeting
Stranraer 3-4 Ayr United
Saturday 19 August 2017

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PADDY Boyle's late goal proved the winner as Stranraer ended up on the losing side, despite coming from 3-1 down.

It was a topsy-turvy game, with the Blues taking the lead through Ryan Wallace. He seized on Craig Reid's mistake and smashed the ball beyond Jordan Hart. However, Ian McCall's men ensured the scores were level at the break with Declan McDaid, who had already struck the post, levelling from the edge of the box.

Ayr seized control of the tie in the 15 minutes after the restart as Craig Moore and Michael Moffat put the visitors well on top.

Stranraer went for broke in a bid to get back into the game and Ryan Thomson's quickfire double looked like rescuing a point. Unfortunately, there was to be one last twist as Boyle burst through with five minutes left and fired home.

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Stranraer: Belford, Robertson (Neill 86), Dick, Lang, Hamill, Bell, Agnew (Woods 63), Anderson, Thomson, Wallace, Okoh (Turner 46).
Not used: McLaughlin, McKinlay, Stoney and Currie.

Ayr United: Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Reid, Geggan, Crawford, McDaid (McGuffie 72), Docherty, Moore (Gilmour 89), Moffat (Forrest 76).
Not used: Ferguson and Avci.

Last five meetings

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- 3-4 (Wallace and Thomson x2; McDaid, Moore, Moffat and Boyle) at Stair Park on August 19, 2017
- 0-0 at Somerset Park on May 15, 2016
- 1-1 (McGuigan; Docherty) at Stair Park on May 11, 2016
- 2-1 (Trouten and Wardrope; Thomson) at Somerset Park on March 26, 2016
- 1-0 (Longworth) at Stair Park on January 2, 2016

Stranraer's last five games

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N/A v Raith Rovers (H): 1-1, match abandoned (Agnew)
WIN v Alloa Athletic (H): 2-0 (Wallace and Hamill)
LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-1 (Okoh)
DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 1-1 (Stoney)
LOSS v Arbroath (H): 2-6 (Thomson and Agnew)

Ayr's last five games

WIN v Forfar Athletic (A): 0-5 (Moffat x3, Shankland and Moore)
DRAW v Airdrieonians (H): 2-2 (Geggan x2)
WIN v East Fife (H): 3-0 (Shankland, Geggan and Higgins)
WIN v Queen's Park (A): 0-2 (Adams and Shankland)
DRAW v Alloa Athletic (H): 3-3 (Shankland x2 and Adams)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Alloa: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Neill, Hamill, Woods (Elliott 88), Bell, Anderson (Agnew 61), Turner, Thomson, Wallace (Stoney 81).
Not used: Lang, McGowan, Okoh and Currie.

Ayr United lineup v Forfar Athletic: Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Ferguson, Gilmour (McDaid 66), Geggan (McGuffie 71), Crawford, Docherty, Shankland (Moore 74), Moffat.
Not used: Waite, Forrest, Murphy and Hare-Reid.

Referee

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Mat Northcroft was only in the middle of one Stranraer match last season and that came at the end of April. The Blues travelled to Alloa and it was ex-Stranraer man Kevin Cawley who scored the only goal when he got on the end of Adam Martin's cross in injury time. 

The referee was last involved in a match involving Ayr United almost exactly a year ago. He was the man in the middle when the Honest Men travelled to Cappielow to face Greenock Morton. Kevin Nisbet opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half but former Stranraer signing target Thomas O'Ware equalised and Gary Oliver scored the winner with a minute left on October 29.

You need to go back to the end of January 2015 to find the last time Northcroft was in charge at Somerset Park. He was on hand to see Dunfermline win 2-0, with now Ayr man Andy Geggan among the scorers.

Admission

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Set your sat nav for KA8 9NB. Parking is available on nearby streets if you arrive in plenty of time.

Entry prices at Somerset Park are as follows:

Adults £16, OAPs, students and 18-21 £10, under 18s £5.

Coverage

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Follow the Blues on Twitter at @StranraerFC for live updates throughout the afternoon.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 12 26
2 Raith Rovers 11 26
3 Alloa Athletic 13 21
4 Arbroath 13 20
5 East Fife 13 18
6 STRANRAER 12 17
7 Albion Rovers 13 16
8 Airdrieonians 13 15
9 Forfar Athletic 13 12
10 Queen's Park 13 8

Fixtures


00 Stranraer FC 2015 Logo
3 Number Lotto
Sunday 12 November 2017

Numbers: 11, 13, 14
1 winner at £1000

Congratulations to:
N. Henry, Belmont Rd, Stranraer