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A STUNNING strike from Luke Donnelly helped Stranraer record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Blues have been inconsistent for much of the campaign but were impressive in victory over Forfar Athletic.

Stevie Farrell had the luxury of a full squad to choose from, with only one change from the win over Arbroath in the Scottish Cup seven days ago.

That saw Mark Lamont, who was involved in the winning goal at Gayfield, coming in for David Smith, with Ian Smith keeping his place in the starting line-up.

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Jim Weir’s men made the journey south full of confidence after an impressive recent run and had a couple of half chances with Dylan Easton and John Baird coming close in the first six minutes.

At the other end, Andy McDonald and Donnelly had a pair of headers off target but the first real talking point would come just after the half hour.

Mark Hill’s free-kick from fully 25 yards very almost snuck in but Max Currie did well to get something on it before colliding with the post.

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Stranraer went even closer just three minutes later through Donnelly, who was at the heart of most things during the 90 minutes.

He managed to find evade a couple of chances and curled a great effort which left Marc McCallum well beaten and relieved to see it clip the crossbar and bounce over.

Donnelly then whistled a free-kick past the post before Forfar again threatened through Easton.

His swerving drive looked destined for the top corner but Currie was equal to it.

Then, with half time approaching, Stranraer found the breakthrough.

Forfar could not get the ball clear on the left and it was played in to Donnelly.

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The striker had his back to goal but a clever turn and ferocious shot across McCallum was a worthy way to get the fans on their feet.

The visitors likely felt a little bit hard done by and started the second half with a determination to get an equaliser but they were undone for a second time.

On this occasion, Donnelly was the provider as he cut the ball back to Connor McManus who coolly slotted home from the edge of the box for his first for the club.

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Two almost became three moments later through PJ Crossan, whose deflected effort was just inches the wrong side of the post.

Forfar had opportunities, notably through substitute Connor Coupe, who called Currie into action, but increasingly it looked as though the hosts would hold on.

However, Forfar were given hope with just ten minutes left on the clock.

Referee Alan Newlands was quick to punish David Brownlie for a spot of wrestling in the box and Baird rifled home the resultant spot kick.

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There would be no further late drama though, with Currie dealing with Coupe’s effort three minutes from time.

It was an impressive showing from Farrell’s men, who move to within two points of fourth spot.

Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Lamont (D Smith 67), Turner, I Smith (Anderson 81), Crossan, Donnelly (Higgins 88)
Not used: McGowan, Cameron, Diver and Avci.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Meechan, Whyte, Travis, Reilly, Hilson (MacKintosh 74), Hill, Baird, Easton (Coupe 58), Moore (Cunningham 85).
Not used: Munro, Malone, Kennedy and Young.

Referee: Alan Newlands
Attendance: 224
HT: 1-0

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