Scorers: Ayr United - Adams (16); Stranraer - Anderson (3), Agnew (pen 85)

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STRANRAER spoiled 10-man Ayr United's title party with an unexpected win at a sunswept and packed Somerset Park.

An air of anticipation surrounded the contest ahead of kickoff, with over 2000 home supporters in attendance hoping to witness the hosts wrap up the League 1 title.

And although the home fans left the ground disappointed, the 160 travelling Blues fans will be celebrating throughout the weekend.

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Stevie Farrell made one change from the side which defeated Alloa Athletic, bringing Cameron MacPherson into the midfield.

The change bore fruit almost immediately, as MacPherson was involved in the build up to the Blues' early goal.

The St Mirren loanee supplied Scott Agnew out wide, and the playmaker's cross found Grant Anderson lurking at the back post.

Anderson's header seemed to hang in the air for an eternity as Ayr keeper Jordan Hart watched it loop over his head and into the corner of the net.

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With Stranraer in front, United had a number of chances to level the scoring.

First, Jamie Adams headed past the post from a corner, before Max Currie produced a fine reflex save to deny SPFL top scorer Lawrence Shankland.

However, the league leaders have made a habit of bouncing back from early goals this season, and indeed they were soon back on level terms.

Adams has been a thorn in the side of the Blues in recent years, and he kept up that tradition with a powerful near post header which left Currie no chance.

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And it was almost a second goal as Craig Moore met Shankland's cross to rattle the crossbar.

But the game would take a major twist just after the half hour mark in the Blues' favour.

Shankland, who has been the focus of much acclaim this season and rightly so, caught Morgyn Neill with his arm, and the referee wasted no time in showing the striker the red card.

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The scores would be level at the break, but from the restart Stranraer controlled the game and limited Ayr to very few chances.

Farrell turned to his bench to introduce youngsters Gavin Scott, Cameron Elliott and Dean Hawkshaw, and U20s standout Elliott would come close to giving the Blues the lead.

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The former Beith Juniors youngster rose to meet MacPherson's cross, but his header was saved.

Jamie Hamill was next to test home custodian Jordan Hart with a drive from 40 yards, before Currie denied home substitute Declan McDaid at the other end.

The final turning point would come with just five minutes of normal time remaining.

With Ayr failing to create anything of note, Farrell and the travelling fans urged their team on, and the visitors would find the winning goal.

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Elliott created an opening on the left hand side, and released Kyle Turner into the box, who was caught by the outstretched leg of Adams.

The referee pointed to the spot, and Scott Agnew stepped up to tuck home the penalty into the bottom right corner.

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The goal sent the travelling fans wild, and the Blues defence saw out the remaining minutes to clinch their fourth win in as many games.

With Arbroath and Alloa both winning, Stranraer's chances of reaching the playoffs are now all but over, barring a miraculous set of results in the coming weeks.

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But the Blues could yet have a further say in the title race, with next week's opponents Raith Rovers hoping to have better luck against Farrell's youngsters when they visit Stair Park.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, MacPherson (Hawkshaw 73), Agnew, Turner, Lyon (Elliott 66), Anderson, Okoh (Scott 57).
Not used: Barron, Gray, Dykes.

Ayr United: Hart, Rose, Ferguson, Reid (McGuffie 13 {Moffat 86}), Bell, Crawford, Forrest (McDaid 66), Adams, Kerr, Moore, Shankland.
Not used: Faulds, Hare-Reid, Murphy, McCowan.

Referee: Euan Anderson
Attendance: 2,323
HT: 1-1

Photos: Stranraer FC

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