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Scorers: Stranraer - Thomson (21) and Agnew (63); Arbroath - O'Brien (16), Denholm (18 and 42) and McCord (33, 49 and Pen 66)

RYAN McCord's hat trick and some woeful defending saw Stranraer hit for six by Arbroath.

The hosts came into the tie full of confidence after three wins in a row, including a 4-0 success against Albion Rovers last time out.

However, they were not at the races against Arbroath as Dick Campbell's men outclassed them across the park.

Stevie Farrell named the same side that had won at Cliftonhill while the Red Lichties came full of confidence as well, with their own unbeaten run on their travels in the league stretching to more than a calendar year.

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The Blues quickly found themselves behind though when Cameron Belford could only punch Mark Whatley's free kick up in the air.

Jamie Hamill was back on the goal line but could not do enough to keep Thomas O'Brien's looping header out.

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The away side's advantage was doubled just 90 seconds later when Danny Denholm collected Bobby Linn's through ball and smashed past Belford.

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It was a shocking start from the home side but they pulled one back just four minutes later.

Hamill's ball to the back post was nodded down by Morgyn Neill and Ryan Thomson did well to fire the ball home from close range at the second attempt.

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The game's pivotal moment would come just after the half hour mark.

Thomson's surging run found Ryan Wallace, with his shot beating David Hutton only to come off both posts and bounce to safety.

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Less than 60 seconds later, Arbroath were celebrating a 3-1 lead after a swift counter-attack.

Stranraer's defending was again poor with David Barron's last ditch block denying Omar Kader before Denholm swung in a cross for Ryan McCord to score from inside the six yard box.

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Any chance of a comeback was well and truly killed off before the break when Denholm cut in from the right, weaved his way along the 18-yard box and fired an unstoppable effort beyond Belford.

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Arbroath extended their advantage less than five minutes after the restart with McCord grabbing his second of the game.

Again, the home defence was cut open but McCord still deserves credit for firing the ball beyond Belford from a tight angle.

Stranraer managed to pull one back with a fine team goal with substitute Kyle Turner and Wallace linking up well on the right hand side.

Turner then found substitute Stephen Okoh, who rolled the ball along the six-yard box for Scott Agnew to tap home at the back post.

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Still, it would be Arbroath who deservedly had the final say.

Grant Irvine penalised Barron after a spot of wrestling in the box with Colin Hamilton and McCord, who had earlier been denied by Belford, fired home from the penalty spot.

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In truth, it could have been worse with Belford denying Gary Fraser while the visitors also had a goal chopped off in the first half.

Stranraer will be hoping that it was simply a bad day at the office and will look to put that showing behind them when they travel to Forfar next weekend.

Stranraer: Belford, Hamill, Dick, Barron, Neill, Thomson, Woods (Turner 19), Bell, Wallace (Stoney 78), Agnew, Anderson (Okoh 63).
Not used: Lang, Elliott, McGowan and Currie.

Arbroath: Hutton, Henry, Gold, Hamilton, O'Brien, Whatley, Kader (Fraser 73), Yule, McCord (Swankie 70), Denholm (Hester 83), Linn.
Not used: Little, Prunty and Douglas.

Referee: Grant Irvine
HT: 1-4
Attendance: 360

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Raith Rovers 9 22
2 Ayr United 9 17
3 Albion Rovers 9 15
4 East Fife 9 15
5 Arbroath 9 14
6 Stranraer 9 14
7 Airdrieonians 9 11
8 Alloa Athletic 9 9
9 Queen's Park 9 5
10 Forfar Athletic 9 5