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Scorers: Stranraer - Anderson (10, 68), Agnew (66 pen); Airdrieonians - Furtado (56)

STRANRAER moved up to fifth place in the league table with a comprehensive victory over Airdrie at a sunny Stair Park.

A double from Grant Anderson either side of a Scott Agnew penalty ultimately produced the result the Blues' play deserved.

The Blues were on top throughout, and perhaps could have won by more, if not for some missed chances and major decisions going against them.

Manager Stevie Farrell made two changes from the lineup which defeated Partick Thistle Colts eight days earlier.

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In came the previously injured duo of Grant Anderson and David Barron, with Steven Bell and Kyle Turner dropping to the bench. 

Paul Woods, utilised out wide up until now, moved to his preferred position in behind lone striker Ryan Wallace, with Scott Agnew occupying the right hand side of midfield.

Farrell's changes immediately paid dividends.

The returning Anderson proved too hot to handle for the Diamonds defence throughout, and opened the scoring with only ten minutes on the clock.

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The winger moved confidently to collect Ryan Thomson's pass from the feet of Airdrie right back Scott Stewart, driving down the left and firing a shot at goal, which visiting keeper Rohan Ferguson could only parry into the net.

The Blues would proceed to dominate the first half with some of the most attractive football seen at Stair Park in quite some time, but couldn't capitalise on any of the chances created.

Anderson's close range shot was blocked after a spot of pinball in the visitors' box, with Wallace and Woods both missing the target from opportunities shortly after.

Agnew got on the end of an Anderson through ball on the right side of the box, but the midfielder's shot failed to trouble the keeper.

His next effort was more promising, this time curling a shot just over the left upright from 20 yards after some tidy link-up play with Wallace.

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Wallace was looking for his fifth goal in as many games, but after a one-two with Woods, Ferguson was there to make a good stop from the in-form striker.

Ferguson would be called upon again as Wallace struck direct from a free kick on the edge of the box, turning away the striker's swerving effort.

Referee Gavin Ross would face his first big decision of the game as Airdrie defender Jordan McGregor appeared to punch away an Anderson cross, landing on Wallace in the process, but no penalty was awarded.

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Wallace fired over after more good play from Woods, before Ryan Thomson had a glorious chance to double the Blues' lead.

The midfielder slid in to meet Wallace's looping cross, only to poke it just wide of the left hand post.

It was a narrow lead at the break for Stranraer, who probably should have put the game to bed with the chances they had in the first half.

And it looked to have cost them when on 56 minutes, trialist Willis Furtado put Airdrie back on level terms.

The former Stenhousemuir man beat the Blues defensive line, and kept his cool to slot past Cameron Belford and make it 1-1.

However, it took just ten minutes for Stranraer to assume control once more.

A delightful backheeled pass from Woods set Wallace free on the left hand side of goal, and Tom Fry's shirt tug was enough for the referee to award a penalty.

Up stepped Agnew, who fired the spot kick low and hard into the bottom left corner to put the Blues ahead.

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The home side would increase their advantage just two minutes later.

Anderson had been struggling with a knock, but shrugged it off to make a sliding tackle from the advancing Sean McIntosh, with the ball sent back to Belford.

Airdrie defender David Brownlie headed the keeper's long ball into the path of Woods, who got the better of ex-Stranraer loanee Luke Watt, and charged into the box to square it to Anderson.

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The winger saw his first effort blocked, but made no mistake with the second, firing a sweet strike into the top left corner of the net to put the Blues well in front at 3-1.

However, the excitement of the goal soon gave way to a different kind of drama.

Scott Robertson, wearing the captain's armband for the day, received a straight red card for attempting to kick the ball out from under the fallen body of Airdrie defender Fry.

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With Robertson off the field, the ten-man Blues were forced to defend their two-goal lead, with Bell replacing Agnew.

Home custodian Belford was finally forced into action in the closing stages, and duly delivered with a stunning stop from Ryan Conroy's free kick, but that would be all the visitors could muster.

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Stevie Farrell reflected on a deserved three points at the final whistle, with the win moving his side up to fifth in the table, level on points with fourth-placed Airdrie .

A win at the expense of in-form Albion Rovers at Coatbridge next week would move the Blues up into the promotion playoff places.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Woods, Wallace (Stoney 87), Agnew (Bell 73), Anderson (Turner 81), Hamill, Thomson.
Not used: Lang, McGowan, Currie, Okoh.

Airdrieonians: Ferguson, Stewart, MacDonald, Brownlie, McGregor, Conroy, McIntosh (Allan 74), Watt, Furtado, Tierney (Thomson 74), Fry.
Not used: Cairns, Edwards, Russell, Kerr.

Referee: Gavin Ross
Attendance: 431
HT: 1-0

Post-match interviews

Photo credit: Bill McCandlish, Morgan Images