Scorers: Arbroath - Kader (2) and Swankie (13); Stranraer - Okoh (68), Anderson (73) and Agnew (Pen 86)

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TWO goals down after just 13 minutes, surely only the most optimistic of Stranraer fans would have predicted an away win.

The Blues looked on the ropes but an incredible 19 minutes in the second half saw the game flipped on its head.

Only a few weeks ago, after the Blues had thrown a half time lead away against Albion Rovers, Stevie Farrell said no game was won at half time.

That certainly proved to be the case at Gayfield Park, with the Blues turning the game around to pick up a morale-boosting three points.

The Stranraer boss made a double change from the side which had lost 3-2 against Queen's Park.

Kyle Turner was suspended and Stephen Okoh dropped to the bench, which meant a recall for Paul Woods and Ross Lyon.

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Stranraer, with just one win in seven coming into the tie, got off to the worst possible start by going a goal down in the opening two minutes.

Too much room down the left saw a low cross played in, which was mishit in the centre but Omar Kader was lurking at the back post.

His shot was cleared in the goalmouth before the frontman smashed home the loose ball but the goal had already been given for the initial effort.

Worse was to come for the Blues when the home side doubled their advantage.

A quickly taken short corner was worked to the edge of the box where Gavin Swankie was waiting.

Jamie Hamill bravely blocked the first shot but it fell back to Swankie, who kept his cool to stride into the box and slot past the helpless Max Currie.

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Stranraer were off the pace and all they could show from the first half was Grant Anderson's header, which clipped the top of the bar after Cameron MacPherson's free kick.

Still, things could have been even worse before the break.

Swankie slammed his shot off the crossbar and, when the ball fell back to ex-Dundee man, he was denied by the legs of a scrambling Currie.

It was unclear where the comeback would come from and Currie denied Ryan Wallace before Morgyn Neill made a great last-ditch block after the restart.

Still, with under 25 minutes to go, Stranraer got back into the tie.

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Okoh had only been on the park six minutes after replacing Dylan Dykes when he got on the end of MacPherson's free-kick.

The striker glanced a header off the post before slotting the rebound past David Hutton.

It was a goal which swung the game and all of a sudden Stranraer were looking dangerous.

Arbroath's commanding two-goal lead evaporated within the space of five minutes as Stranraer pulled themselves level.

Scott Robertson, goalscorer last week, turned provider after stealing the ball wide on the right.

His cross was fractionally behind Anderson, who cleverly flicked the ball home.

The turnaround was complete just four minutes from time.

Substitute David Gray, on for the unfortunate Paul Woods, who had limped off injured, burst into the box and beat Hutton to the ball before the goalkeeper brought him down.

Scott Agnew, also a goalscorer last week, kept his cool to beat Hutton before celebrating in front of a pocket of the Stranraer fans.

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It was an incredible turnaround, and one which almost had a last twist in the tale.

Arbroath were throwing everything forward and Thomas O'Brien thought he had grabbed a stoppage time leveller, only for Hamill to be in the right place at the right time to clear off the line.

After recent heartbreak in five-goal thrillers, it was refreshing to see the Blues on the right end of the scoreline.

Arbroath: Gomes (Hutton 26), Little, Hamilton, O'Brien, Martin, Whatley, Kader (Linn 73), McKenna, Denholm, Wallace (Skelly 74), Swankie.
Not used: Gold, McIntosh, Gold and Yule.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, MacPherson, Woods (Gray 79), Agnew, Anderson, Lyon (Hawkshaw 70), Dykes (Okoh 62).
Not used: Barron and McLaren.

Referee: Greg Aitken
Attendance: 726
HT: 2-0

Photos: Stranraer FC

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