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Scorers: Hamill (65)

JAMIE Hamill's second half thunderbolt was enough to see Stranraer get their League One campaign off to a winning start.

The Blues and their visitors had chances, particularly in the first half, but it was not until midway through the second period that Hamill broke the deadlock.

Stevie Farrell made two changes to the side which had impressed but ultimately lost at Firhill. Max Currie and Stephen Okoh dropped to the bench, with Cameron Belford and Ryan Wallace free from suspension and back in the starting lineup.

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Wallace in particular would play a key role in the game, but it was the Fifers who were to have the best chance early doors.

Stranraer's defence did not help themselves after a spot of pinball in the box fell to Chris Duggan. The frontman managed to find space to turn but was leaning back and fired his shot over the crossbar.

The Blues were creating plenty of chances of their own though, with Grant Anderson looking impressive on the right. He skipped by his man and fired in a cross which Wallace did well to reach with an acrobatic volley. Ryan Goodfellow was equal to it though and pushed the ball to safety.

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Wallace could have had a hat trick against his former club in the first half, with the 27 year old finding space in the box. His shot was blocked but fell kindly to Kyle Turner, who saw his own effort blocked by the advancing Goodfellow.

Wallace had two more chances just before the half hour mark.

First, he blazed narrowly over after Scott Robertson's defence-splitting pass, and then he pulled a shot wide of the post after being played in by Anderson.

Still, for all those chances the Blues could have found themselves behind ten minutes before the break.

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Hamill's attempted cross field pass to Morgyn Neill was woefully short and seized upon by Pat Slattery.

The midfielder only had Belford to beat but the goalkeeper stood tall and the East Fife man steered his effort the wrong side of the left post.

Wallace had another chance at the end of the half after he was brought down just outside the box. His free kick clipped the wall and had Goodfellow beaten, but cracked off the crossbar and bounced to safety.

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There was one final nervy moment for the Blues in the opening period when Aaron Dunsmore found space down the right. His low cross inside the six-yard box caught out everyone and David Barron did exceptionally well to divert the ball behind when it would have been easier to put it into Belford's goal.

Those missed chances meant the only surprise at half time was that neither team had found the net.

Opportunities were a bit rarer after the break, with Anderson stinging the palms of Goodfellow after being set clear on the right by Turner.

The goal finally came after the hour mark, with Wallace turning provider. The striker collected the ball in his own half and played the perfect pass to Hamill to his right.

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The ex-Kilmarnock man still had plenty to do but burst into the box and smashed an unstoppable drive past Goodfellow for his first league goal in more than two years.

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Very quickly, the Blues almost doubled their lead.

Substitute Paul Woods had only been on the park for a matter of minutes when he almost capitalised a moment of hesitancy between Goodfellow and Ben Gordon. The midfielder nipped in between them and hooked his effort towards goal only for it to fly past the right post and hit the sponsor boards before nestling behind the goals.

East Fife attempted to find a way back into the tie, but Belford was rarely tested. Indeed, it took until stoppage time for a genuine test of the home defence.

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Neill was a bit casual on the left and surrendered possession, before the visitors were awarded a free kick inches outside the box. Former Stranraer man Mark Docherty looked favourite to take it but the wall stood firm and the chance was gone.

Perhaps the result should have been more comfortable, but it was three points and a clean sheet.

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Stranraer face another tough test next week when they head to Fife to visit Raith Rovers, who are heavily tipped for an immediate Championship return.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Bell, Hamill, Anderson, Turner (Woods 66), Thomson (Agnew 66), Wallace (Okoh 81).
Not used: Lang, McGowan, Stoney and Currie.

East Fife: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson, Gordon, Flanagan, Millar, Slattery (Wilkie 73), Wilson (Hurst 66), Willis, Duggan.
Not used: Reilly, Young and Cordery.

HT: 0-0
Attendance: 409
Referee: Kevin Graham

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SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 16 38
2 Raith Rovers 14 32
3 Alloa Athletic 16 24
4 Arbroath 15 23
5 East Fife 16 22
6 STRANRAER 14 21
7 Airdrieonians 15 18
8 Albion Rovers 14 16
9 Forfar Athletic 16 12
10 Queen's Park 16 11

Updated 9/12/17 at 10pm