Scorer: Stranraer - Neill (54)

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STRANRAER maintained their playoff hopes by securing their first victory in almost 14 years away to Alloa Athletic.

Stevie Farrell had spoken of overturning that statistic prior to kickoff, and the Blues answered the call with a battling display to earn their third win in as many weeks.

The manager named the same eleven which defeated Forfar Athletic seven days earlier, with a lengthy injury list forcing another youthful-looking bench.

Alloa had only suffered one defeat in their previous seven games, but were ultimately outperformed in a cagey game which always looked like it might be settled by the odd goal.

Stranraer started the game strongly as last week's goalscorer Ross Lyon produced a clever bit of trickery to spin his way into the box, but his shot was deflected wide.

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The hosts were wasteful in front of goal in the first half, with Andy Graham, Jordan Kirkpatrick, PJ Crossan, Steven Hetherington and Scott Taggart all missing the target, as Lyon was denied by some good defending at the other end.

Scott Agnew came close to scoring for a fourth successive game as his curling free kick looped just over the right hand upright from 20 yards.

Fellow midfielder Kyle Turner looked the most likely to score throughout the afternoon, but surprisingly his goal never arrived.

The youngster skipped several challenges before firing over the bar in the Blues' last chance of the half.

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It was almost a nightmare start to the second period for Stranraer goalkeeper Max Currie, whose attempted clearance from a backpass was scuffed alarmingly into the path of the Alloa forward line

However, young full back Chris McGowan was on hand to save the day and poke the ball clear.

Both sides created better chances in the second 45, but it was the visitors who would seize the initiative with 54 minutes on the clock.

A powerful Scott Robertson effort was blocked for a Stranraer corner.

The prolific Agnew turned provider this time, planting the delivery on centre back Morgyn Neill's head for a close-range finish.

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Helpless home keeper Neil Parry could only get a hand to it, turning the ball into his own net.

Alloa would create some promising chances, but the visitors also had a number of opportunities to double their lead during a two-minute onslaught.

First, Turner danced his way through the Wasps defence once more, rattling the crossbar with a sensational effort from 20 yards.

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Next, Parry would present Scott Robertson with an opportunity as he spilled a cross into the defender's path, but the Blues skipper saw his imprompu effort turned over the bar.

And finally, McGowan headed narrowly wide from another accurate Agnew cross.

A goal down and with a playoff place to preserve, Alloa turned up the pressure, and only some brave defending from the Blues back four kept them at bay.

Ross Stewart was posing a threat in the air at the other end, and he would hit the woodwork with a powerful header, before firing a shot wide moments later.

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Home substitute Kris Renton, along with Kirkpatrick, would come close to equalising in the closing stages, with Turner and MacPherson both creating chances but failing to capitalise.

Ultimately, however, one goal was enough for Stranraer to secure the victory.

The Blues now sit 6 points behind both Arbroath and Alloa with 3 games to play - and 3 wins likely to be needed.

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Next for Stevie Farrell's side is a trip to Somerset Park, where the hosts will be bidding to wrap up the League 1 title.

Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, J Robertson, Graham, McCart, Flannigan, Smith (Cawley 66), Hetherington, Crossan (Renton 77), Stewart, Kirkpatrick.
Not used: Meggatt, Monaghan, Goodwin, Wilson.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, Hawkshaw (MacPherson 81), Agnew, Anderson, Turner, Lyon (Dykes 89), Okoh (Scott 75).
Not used: Elliott, Gray.

Referee: Mat Northcroft
Attendance: 472
HT: 0-0