arbroath 20190323 000a

A DETERMINED second half showing saw Stranraer pick up a valuable point, despite playing the second 45 minutes with ten men after Max Currie’s red card.

Stevie Farrell’s men showed tremendous spirit after the sending off and created more chances than league champions elect Arbroath.

Unfortunately, they found Darren Jamieson in inspired form in the Arbroath goal.

Farrell made one change to the side that won at Ochilview, with Andy McDonald in for the injured Adam Cummins.

arbroath 20190323 b010

Dick Campbell’s visitors named former Blue Luke Donnelly in the starting line-up while another ex-Stranraer man, Ryan Wallace, was among an attack-minded bench.

It was the hosts who came out of the blocks quickest though and there were just two minutes on the clock when Innes Cameron went close.

The striker scored seven days ago against Stenhousemuir but this time he could only direct a header from Grant Anderson’s cross down, into the ground and wide of the post.

Ten minutes later and the Blues beat Jamieson but Arbroath were rescued by the post.

Cameron flicked on Jamie Hamill’s free-kick and David Brownlie’s controlled volley left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot before the ball came back off the inside of the post and bounced to safety.

Stranraer were certainly not overwhelmed by their league leading opposition and Alistair McCann fired over the bar as the home side continued to make chances.

arbroath 20190323 b006

However, Arbroath fired a timely reminder just before the half hour mark and were, like Stranraer previously, left cursing the woodwork.

The home defence was cut open for the first time when Gavin Swankie’s clever flick put Michael McKenna clean through on goal.

Currie stood tall though and blocked the shot with his leg.

The danger was not quite over though and Bobby Linn struck the post with an angled drive.

That was it in the way of chances in the first half but there would be one major talking point before the half time whistle.

A ball in the six-yard box was gathered by Currie before he was knocked to the ground by McKenna.

Currie picked himself up and seemed to take exception to McKenna’s challenge.

arbroath 20190323 003

The referee calmed matters down before showing a yellow card to the Arbroath midfielder and a straight red to Currie.

That meant a chance for Lyle Avci, who has not played for the first team since coming off the bench against Partick Thistle back in August.

Joao Victoria was the unlucky man to make way as Stranraer prepared for a second half with ten men.

Understandably, the sending off gave Arbroath a boost and for the opening ten minutes or so they set up camp in the Stranraer half.

However, the home defence stood firm, allowing Arbroath little space as they approached the box.

The one occasion they found a way through, they found Avci up to the challenge.

arbroath 20190323 005

David Gold weaved his way past two defenders and fired towards goal, only for the substitute goalkeeper to produce a fine one-handed save.

The sending off had also an impact on Stranraer and they looked determined to take on the challenge.

As the half wore on, it was the ten-men who looked increasingly likely to grab the first goal.

McCann won the ball in midfield and exchanged passes with Anderson.

arbroath 20190323 b004

The on-loan St Johnstone man then swung in a teasing ball with Anderson unlucky to see Jamieson block the first effort before smacking the rebound off the chest of Thomas O’Brien, who was standing on the goal line.

If that was a clear-cut chance, it would not be the last.

Connor McManus delivered a perfect ball over the top with Cameron winning the race to the ball.

His shot looked destined for the bottom corner but Jamieson produced an impressive save to tip it round the post.

arbroath 20190323 007

McManus repeated the trick with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Again, his ball over the top sent Cameron through towards goal but this time his shot was over the crossbar.

Arbroath would have one final chance though and that came two minutes from time.

Swankie brought down a long ball out of defence for substitute Wallace, who blasted past the post from 25 yards.

Fittingly, it would be the Blues who had the final say.

Ninety-two minutes were on the clock when Cameron bullied O’Brien and squared the ball to the onrushing Anderson.

arbroath 20190323 b002

He shot from the edge of the box but again Jamieson was in the way to ensure the scores would finish goalless.

In the end, both sides would have to settle for a point but the Stranraer fans could certainly go home proud of their team.

Home fans could have been forgiven for thinking the second half would be a case of ten men behind the ball.

arbroath 20190323 b001

The players showed plenty of defensive quality but equally created more chances and on another day could have taken three points.

Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, Smith, Hamill, McManus, Turner, McCann, Anderson, Victoria (Avci 45+4), Cameron.
Not used: Lamont, Elliott, Crossan and O’Keefe.

Arbroath: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Whatley, Gold, McKenna (McCord 75), Donnelly (Wallace 71), Swankie, Linn (Kader 65).
Not used: Spence, Doris and Hill.

Referee: Gavin Ross
Attendance: 432
HT: 0-0

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Highlights
Interviews

betfred1

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 3 6
2 Livingston
2 5
3 Falkirk 3 4
4 Stranraer 2 3
5 Berwick 2 0