Scorers: Stranraer - Layne (59); Motherwell - Hartley (38)
Stranraer win 3-2 on penalties

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TRIUMPHS in penalty shoot-outs have been few and far between for Stranraer in recent years.

Promotion play-off finals and cup semi-final defeats have all come from the penalty spot but the Blues reversed that trend with a gutsy win over Motherwell.

Stevie Farrell made a double change for the visit of the Premiership side, with Adam Cummins and David Brownlie making their debuts and Jamie Hamill and Mark Lamont moving to the bench.

Hamill's omission saw Kyle Turner become the youngest player ever to wear the captain's armband for Stranraer.

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It also marked a change in shape, with the hosts opting to go three at the back, with David Smith and Chris McGowan pushed further forward as wing backs.

That defensive solidity would prove crucial for Stranraer who limited their opposition to few clear cut chances.

Motherwell had scored five in a midweek demolition of Edinburgh City but that never looked on the cards at Stair Park.

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A Cummins header wide at one end was cancelled out by a Carl McHugh header wide at the other, with chances few and far between in the opening 30 minutes.

Things started to open up before half time, with a chance at either end in the space of 60 seconds.

First, Curtis Main inadvertently blocked Andrew Rose’s shot on goal before he teed up Christopher Cadden.

Stranraer’s defence smothered that effort and the ball was launched clear for Isaac Layne.

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The striker had little in the way of support and went it alone, shrugging off a challenge before smashing the ball into the chest of goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

A minute later and Stranraer found themselves presented with another opportunity.

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A clever flick by Luke Donnelly sent Grant Anderson through on goal.

The midfielder evaded one challenge but could not get his angles right and fired past Carson’s near post.

Those two missed chances would come back to haunt the Blues, who conceded seven minutes before the break.

Cadden’s set-piece was inch-perfect for returning captain Peter Hartley, who rose unchallenged to head home from six yards.

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Motherwell should have doubled their advantage nine minutes after the restart.

Rose, an early substitute for the injured Charles Dunne, nodded the ball back towards the goal and Conor Sammon could only lift his effort on to the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Stranraer refused to give up and twice came close to pulling level.

Layne did well to win a loose ball on the right before hanging up a cross for McGowan, who could not quite get the ball from under his feet and his shot was blocked at the expense of a corner.

Turner then whipped in the dead ball for Cummins, who nodded back across goal and Carson did well to deny Andy McDonald from close range.

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The home fans did not have long to wait for the leveller though.

Hartley could only nod a long ball up in the air and Layne quickly collected it, burst into the box and kept his cool to slot past Carson.

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Half chances came and went but Stranraer had the best opportunity to win the game ten minutes from time.

Layne held the ball up well in the centre circle and split open the visiting defence with a through ball for Lamont.

The midfielder had plenty of time, probably too much time, to pick his spot and was unlucky to see his shot come back off the crossbar with just Carson to beat.

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A draw meant Stranraer were guaranteed at least a point but there was the prospect of a bonus point from the penalty shoot-out.

It proved a nervy affair, with only five of the dozen penalties finding the back of the net.

Carson denied Layne before Main struck the bar in the first round of penalties.

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Cummins smashed home his spot kick and Cadden levelled things up.

McGowan then confidently put his away before Richard Tait put his wide of the left post to give Stranraer the advantage.

However, Carson denied Turner and Ryan Bowman ensured it was 2-2 after four penalties each.

Carson was again on hand to deny Lamont but Max Currie stepped up to save from Elliot Frear.

That meant it was sudden death and after McDonald slotted home, Currie was the hero in denying Rose.

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Stranraer: Currie, McGowan, McDonald, Brownlie, D Smith, Cummins, McManus, Turner, Anderson (I Smith 76), Layne, Luke Donnelly (Lamont 73).
Not used: Elliott, Lidington, Ashmore, Hamill and Avci.

Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Hartley, McHugh (Frear 62), Dunne (Rose 3), Grimshaw, Cadden, Sammon (Bowman 68), Kipre, Main, Taylor-Sinclair.
Not used: Liam Donnelly, Rodriguez Gorrin, Johnson and Gillespie.

Referee: Euan Anderson
Attendance: 885
HT: 0-1

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish


Next for Stranraer is a home clash with League 2 outfit Clyde on Tuesday night (7.45pm kickoff).

Admission for all Betfred Cup group stage fixtures is £12 for adults, £6 for concessions.

BC3 Clyde W

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16