SLOPPY defending saw Stranraer lose out in a vital match against Forfar Athletic.
The Blues came into the game looking to narrow the gap to just two points on their Angus visitors.
Stevie Farrell was boosted by Scott Robertson passing a late fitness test, which meant the manager was able to name the same side who had impressed but, ultimately, lost out against East Fife seven days earlier.
The Blues were looking to come out of the blocks quickly and take it to the opposition but they twice survived early scares.
Ross Forbes fired out of the ground before wasting a breakaway with a poor pass.
However, the deadlock was broken shortly after the quarter hour mark when former Stranraer man Mark Docherty rose unmarked to head home Forbes’ free-kick.
Stranraer did have chances of their own with James Hilton and Cameron Elliott both coming close after a teasing cross from Jordan Allan.
Unfortunately, the visitors doubled their advantage with 11 minutes left of the first half.
Forfar took a corner quickly and Forbes was again the provider as he fired in a cross for Dale Hilson to flick home from close range.
It needed to be an improved second half showing but again the hosts had to survive a fright when Forbes fired wide after beating Max Currie to a loose ball.
Stranraer gave themselves hope on 57 minutes when they ended a long wait for a goal from open play.
Marc McCallum failed to hold onto Allan’s cross and Robert Jones was in the right place to pounce on the loose ball and fire home.
Almost immediately, Forfar regained that two-goal advantage.
A low cross from the left was met by Forbes and he diverted the ball beyond Currie from close range.
Stranraer were determined to make their visitors work for the three points though.
Elliott was denied by McCallum before Adam Cummins headed narrowly wide of the target.
Time was ticking away and Forfar got their fourth goal with just nine minutes left.
Currie’s attempted clearance was not helped by the bobbly pitch and Forfar gained possession.
The ball was quickly worked to Sean Burns, who slid the ball home to wrap up the win.
Stranraer quickly bounced back to make it 4-2 though with Jones rising unmarked in the six-yard box to give McCallum no chance.
Again, the hosts attempted to push forward in a bid to salvage an unlikely point.
Five minutes from time and Carlo Pignatiello came within a whisker of making it 4-3 when his low shot from the edge of the box flew inches wide.
In the end, Forfar held on for an important three points with Stranraer looking to end their year on a high when they travel to Dumbarton on Saturday afternoon.
Stranraer: Currie, Scott Robertson, Allan, Cummins, Hamilton (Smith 60), McManus, Pignatiello, Hilton (Dangana 72), Stirling, Elliott, Jones.
Not used: McIntyre, Aitken and Burgess.
Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Irvine, Bain, Whyte, Meechan, Scott Robertson, Burns (McLean 89), Docherty, Hilson (Coupe 84), Forbes (Jackson 74), MacKintosh.
Not used: McGuff.
Referee: Chris Fordyce
Photos: Stranraer FC