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Scorers: Moffat (66), Shankland (80)

NINE-MAN Stranraer slumped to a disappointing defeat against Ayr in a foul-tempered contest at Somerset Park.

With Liam Dick still injured, Stevie Farrell named the same side which battled Raith Rovers a week earlier.

Under 20s defender David Gray was included in the squad, and made his debut from the bench in the closing stages.

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The Blues controlled the game in the early going, but failed to create any clear-cut opportunities.

Ayr full back Paddy Boyle grazed the top of the crossbar from a corner, before Stranraer keeper Cameron Belford was called upon to turn away a long range Lawrence Shankland effort from the centre of goal.

Stranraer had plenty of the ball in the first half but lacked a cutting edge, although Ryan Wallace came close with a low strike which took a deflection past the left hand post.

Ayr midfielder Andy Geggan was fortunate to get away with just a booking for a full-blooded challenge on Paul Woods, a decision which set a dangerous precedent for what was to come in the second half.

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The action took on a frenetic tempo as the game progressed and although the home side had the better opportunities, Stranraer were defending well.

The best chance for the Blues in the first half would fall to Robertson, whose glancing header from an Agnew free kick sailed just past the left hand side of goal, but the score remained 0-0 at half time.

Ayr manager Ian McCall made two changes at the break, bringing on Jamie Adams for the already-booked Geggan and Craig Moore for Declan McDaid.

Moore would have a chance early in the second half, bringing a good save from Belford low to his left after a swift Ayr counter attack.

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Shankland was next to take aim, but the Englishman turned his goalbound strike past the left hand post.

Kyle Turner received a yellow card for a scything challenge on Ayr midfielder Robbie Crawford, and the atmosphere at Somerset began to turn sour with a heated confrontation between both sets of players.

From the resulting free kick, Ross Docherty picked out defender Chris Higgins at the near post, but the former Queen of the South man headed wide despite having plenty of time and space.

Michael Moffat, however, wouldn't make the same mistake.

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The veteran striker has been in a rich vein of form, and when presented with a ball over the top to his feet, he tucked it comfortably past Belford to give the home side the lead.

Ayr were well on top by this point, and only another heroic save from the Blues keeper prevented Adams from doubling their advantage.

But things went from bad to worse for Stranraer with quarter of an hour to go.

Adams went in recklessly on Scott Robertson, who retaliated and received his second straight red card of the season for violent conduct, as the Ayr midfielder escaped with a booking.

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Five minutes later, Shankland capitalised in the box after another reflex stop by Belford to put the hosts 2-0 up.

With a two goal deficit and only 10 men on the field, Blues supporters could have been forgiven for thinking things could only get better.

But in added time, their woes were compounded as club captain Steven Bell followed Robertson down the tunnel after another clash with Adams.

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It rounded off a rotten afternoon for the Blues, who will now be without both men for the visit of Queen's Park in a week's time.

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

Ayr: Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Rose, Ferguson, Geggan (Adams 45), Crawford, McDaid (Moore 45), Docherty, Moffat (Forrest 83), Shankland.
Not used: Gilmour, McGuffie, Avci, Reid.

Referee: Mat Northcroft
Attendance: 1473
HT: 0-0