Scorers: Stranraer – Anderson (53); Raith Rovers – Buchanan (29)

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A DETERMINED second half performance saw Stranraer bounce back from a goal down to seal a point.

The Blues welcomed Raith Rovers – favourites for the League One title in the eyes of many – on the opening day of the league campaign.

Stevie Farrell handed league debuts to Adam Cummins, Andy McDonald, David Smith, Connor McManus, Ian Smith, Mark Lamont and Luke Donnelly.

Meanwhile, Raith Rovers welcomed goalkeeper Kieran Wright, on loan from Rangers, after Robbie Thomson was ruled out.

It would be fair to say it was a first half of few chances.

The best chance for the hosts came after ten minutes after Donnelly collected Max Currie’s long kick up field.

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The frontman elected not to go for the shot and instead laid the ball back to David Smith.

He found Lamont but his ambitious volley from 25 yards flew over the bar.

Instead, the game’s opening goal would come just before the half hour mark.

There seemed little on for Raith Rovers but the ball got caught under the feet of Jamie Hamill on the edge of the box.

The Stranraer captain was robbed of possession and Liam Buchanan was on hand to slip the ball under the advancing Currie.

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It was a soft goal and Stranraer could likely feel hard done by that they were trailing at the break.

However, they failed to let that setback dent their ambitions and they came out with renewed vigour after the break.

The first warning came after good link-up play between Grant Anderson and Donnelly in midfield.

The ball was worked back to Anderson but he pulled his shot across the goal and wide of the left post.

It was a warning that the visitors failed to heed, with Stranraer finding a leveller eight minutes after the restart.

McManus’ through ball was inch perfect and Anderson nipped in between Wright and the defender to collect the loose ball.

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Anderson then rounded the goalkeeper and rolled the ball into the empty net, off the base of the left post.

The game was very nearly turned on its head moments later through Lamont.

Chris McGowan’s teasing cross caught out the defence but Lamont could only plant his header the wrong side of the post.

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The Blues were enjoying the upper hand in the second half and were frustrated by two last ditch tackles from Kyle Benedictus.

Still, the visitors twice threatened in the last five minutes.

First, Stranraer struggled to get the ball clear and Currie did superbly well to hold on to Euan Murray’s fizzing drive.

Then, with just a minute left, Raith full-back Jamie Watson was given plenty of space, which he strode into before blasting a shot over from 25 yards.

Stranraer still looked dangerous though and Donnelly almost conjured up a chance in stoppage time, weaving his way to the byline, but he could not find a man with his cut back.

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The Blues were well worth a point and perhaps, on another day, could have taken all three.

Now, attention turns to Arbroath and the first away trip of the league season.

Stranraer: Currie, Hamill, Cummins, McDonald, D Smith, McGowan, McManus, I Smith (Lidington 89), Lamont (Turner 70), Donnelly, Anderson (Ashmore 80).
Not used: Brownlie and Avci.

Raith Rovers: Wright, Watson, Valentine (Flanagan 73), Murray, Benedictus, Gillespie, Buchanan (Milne 65), Matthews, Wedderburn, Nisbet, McKay.
Not used: Stevenson and McGuff.

Referee: David Lowe.
Attendance: 424
HT: 0-1

Photos: Stranraer FC


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