Scorers: Stranraer – Victoria (1) and McManus (72); Forfar Athletic – Irvine (22)

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CONNOR McManus was the matchwinner against Forfar at Stair Park for the second time this season.

Stranraer came into the game having slipped down to ninth in the table and knowing three points were much needed.

Stevie Farrell made a trio of changes from the disappointing defeat at Montrose, with Max Currie, back from suspension, Mark Lamont and Joao Victoria recalled in favour of Lyle Avci, David Brownlie and Grant Anderson.

One of those changes paid off almost immediately, with Stranraer scoring with just 31 seconds on the clock.

Innes Cameron managed to roll Michael Travis on the edge of the box and fired in a low cross.

Victoria was lurking and tapped the ball home from inside the six-yard box for his third for the club.

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It was the perfect start and Stranraer very nearly made it two, with Victoria this time the provider.

Kyle Turner passed the ball out wide to the on-loan Airdrie man, who still had more than half of the Stair Park pitch to cover.

He made it to the byline and attempted to find Turner but the ball was just inches too far in front of him and Marc McCallum in the Forfar goal managed to push the ball clear.

Despite the promising start from the home side, Forfar quickly started to create chances of their own.

Brad Spencer hit the post after Stranraer failed to deal with a cross from the left.

Ex-Dumbarton man Spencer provided a cushioned finish from eight yards and beat Currie but the ball came back off the inside of the upright and bounced to safety.

It was a warning for the hosts and Forfar would find their leveller with 22 minutes on the clock.

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Gary Irvine, who had already blazed an effort over the bar, played a clever one-two with Dale Hilson before firing past Currie from inside the box.

Still, Stranraer almost got back in front immediately when Cameron shrugged off the attention of Darren Whyte after a long ball up field and fired a fizzing volley the wrong side of the right post.

A draw was likely a fair outcome at the break but Stranraer would miss a glorious chance just six minutes after the restart.

A well-worked training ground set piece saw Jamie Hamill play a free-kick to the back post for Andy McDonald.

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The defender scored his first for the club at Montrose last weekend but this time got his angles all wrong and put his volley well off target.

At the other end, it would take a last ditch tackle from David Smith to deny Lewis Moore a certain goal.

Stranraer’s defence was cut open and Moore’s run from deep saw him clean through on goal.

However, just as he pulled the trigger, Smith managed to get something on the ball and deflect it behind for a corner.

It was end to end stuff and Victoria almost added to his goal tally shortly after the hour mark.

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The frontman’s drive from 25 yards had plenty of power and dip behind it but McCallum managed to get enough behind it to make the block.

The third goal was looking increasingly vital and it finally came with 18 minutes to play.

The build up may have been scrappy but the finish was anything but that.

Ali McCann weaved his way into the box before he found his path blocked and the fell to Cameron Elliott.

The teenage midfielder then tried his luck but again could not quite get the shot away.

And so the ball broke to makeshift centre half McManus, who fired the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box.

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The visitors would have the last real chance of the game and that came with 92 minutes on the clock.

Currie produced an impressive stop from substitute Murray MacKintosh but the ball fell to Travis, who, thankfully, blazed the rebound high and wide of the goal.

Three vital points for Stranraer, who move up to eighth in the League One table with just four games left to play.

Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, McManus, D Smith, Hamill, Lamont (Anderson 77), Turner, McCann, Elliott (O’Keefe 90), Victoria (Crossan 84), Cameron.
Not used: Brownlie and Avci.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Meechan, Eckersley, Whyte, Travis, Irvine, Reilly (Easton 84), Spencer (Coupe 72), Hilson, Baird (MacKintosh 84), Moore.
Not used: Bain, Malone, Aitken and Hoban.

Referee: Craig Napier
Attendance: 335
HT: 1-1

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

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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