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PREMIERSHIP LIVINGSTON survived a second half scare from Stranraer to escape Stair Park with a narrow victory.


The Blues defended well for much the opening 45 but were undone by two goals in three first half minutes.

Stevie Farrell made two changes from the side which swept away Berwick Rangers three days earlier, recalling first choice pair Max Currie and Jamie Hamill to the lineup.

Livi would have to wait a quarter of an hour for their first meaningful effort, as former Ayr United defender Nicky Devlin headed off target from a Livingston corner.

Stranraer replied as James Hilton received a long free kick and played in Jordan Allan - the full back found defensive colleague Lee Hamilton, who could only drag his shot wide from 15 yards.

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The full-time side had started at an intense tempo in the searing evening heat, requiring the Blues defence to make a number of vital blocks, clearances and last-gasp challenges.

Devlin came close once more on the stretch, but could only help the ball past the post.

Livingston looked like taking the lead in the most bizarre of circumstances as Blues keeper Currie took a swing and a miss at Cummins' pass back, but thankfully it rolled past the post.

The visitors would finally go ahead with just four minutes of the first half remaining.

Mark Stewart mistimed a challenge on Livi striker Lyndon Dykes in the box, with Steven Lawless making no mistake from the spot.

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And the Lions doubled their lead just on half time as Devlin exploited a gap on the Blues' left flank, squaring for Aymen Souda to apply the simplest of finishes.

A comeback looked unlikely at the break, but Stranraer clearly hadn't read that version of the script.

With Livingston seemingly happy to see the game out, Stevie Farrell's side pulled one back on 57 minutes.

Young striker Cameron Elliott raced onto a long ball, rounded the keeper and found the net at the second attempt after his first effort was blocked by the defender.

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Livingston were creating chances but failed to cause Currie any serious problems in the Stranraer goal.

The final turning point came with 15 minutes remaining.

Blues midfielder Ryan Thomson - who had been lively throughout - went down under heavy scrutiny in the box, but referee Craig Napier waved away his protests.

Currie was finally called into action with just over five minutes to go, punching away a powerful free kick from Livi defender Ricky Lamie.

Substitute Ian Smith would lash a shot wide of the mark in the final minute of normal time as Stranraer threw everything at Livingston, but the visitors' defence held firm.

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The Blues will now look to regroup ahead of a mouthwatering tie against Ayr United at Somerset Park on Saturday.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Allan, Cummins, Hamilton, Hamill, McManus, Hilton (Smith 80), Elliott, Thomson, M Stewart (Dangana 69).
Not used: Burgess, D Smith.

Livingston: R Stewart, Devlin, Lithgow, Lamie, McMillan, Bartley, Jacobs (Crawford 73), Pittman, Lawless (Erskine 76), Souda (Tiffoney 81), Dykes.
Not used: Sarkic, Miller, Pepe, Sibbald.

Referee: Craig Napier
Attendance: 402
HT: 0-2

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

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