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Scorers: Stranraer - Agnew (11); St Mirren - Reilly (27), Stewart (31), Morgan (40) and Buchanan (55)

SLOPPY defending ensured Stranraer's season got under way with a heavy defeat at the hands of Championship side St Mirren.

It was a day for debutants with Stranraer welcoming new signings Tom Lang, Grant Anderson, Jamie Hamill and Ryan Wallace, who made their first starts.

Meanwhile, Stephen Okoh and Paul Woods came off the bench in the second half to make their first appearances.

However, it was a familiar face to both sets of fans who got the ball rolling.

Ryan Thomson intercepted a stray pass in his own half and powered forward on the counter-attack.

It was three versus three and Thomson's through ball was inch-perfect for Scott Agnew, with the ex-St Mirren man slotting the ball under Craig Samson.

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It was a good start for the home side but St Mirren quickly turned the tie in their favour. Lewis Morgan's run across the box ended with his shot coming back off the left post and debutant Gavin Reilly was in the right place to tuck home the rebound.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Stevie Farrell's men as they found themselves a goal down four minutes later.

Ian McShane's free-kick was nodded across the box by Gregor Buchanan and into the path of Cammy Smith. Cameron Belford managed to get something on the ball but it was another debutant - Ross Stewart - who reacted quickest to slam home the loose ball.

Then, on the stroke of half time, St Mirren settled the tie with goal number three.

Again, McShane was heavily involved as his corner to the edge of the box found Morgan, who was completely unmarked. The midfielder had time to bring the ball down and his deflected effort left Belford with no chance.

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If the home fans were hoping to see a reaction after the break, they were left disappointed as the visitors made it 4-1 ten minutes into the second half.

For the third time, St Mirren scored from a set piece and again McShane was the provider. This time his inswinging corner was headed under the outstretched Belford from close range by Buchanan, who collided with the post in scoring the goal.

Perhaps understandably, the tempo of the tie drifted in the final half hour but both teams had chances to get on the scoresheet again.

Samson twice denied Hamill from distance while Stewart should have added to his tally but Belford was equal to the frontman.

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Not the way Stranraer wanted to start the season but, obviously, there is still a long, long way to go and plenty of chances to put things right.

The first opportunity to do just that comes on Tuesday evening, when the Blues continue their Betfred Cup campaign with a visit to fellow League One side Airdrie.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Neill, Lang, Bell (Stoney 58), Anderson (Okoh 58), Hamill, Thomson, Agnew, Wallace (Woods 58).
Not used: Barron, McGowan, Turner and Currie.

St Mirren: Samson, Demetriou, Irvine, McGinn, Buchanan, MacKenzie, Morgan, Smith (O'Keefe 77), McShane (Quinn 72), Stewart, Reilly (Kirkpatrick 68).
Not used: Sutton, Baird, MacPherson and Stewart. HT: 1-3 Attendance: 849 Referee: Colin Steven

Photos: Stranraer FC, Glenn Coulter LBIPP

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