Scorers: Stranraer - Stevenson (54 pen); Raith Rovers - Baird (36)

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A SECOND half Ryan Stevenson penalty ensured Stranraer stretched their unbeaten league run to five games.

Five consecutive draws have boosted the club’s morale with back-to-back 1-1 results against Falkirk and now Raith Rovers.

Stevie Farrell made two changes from the side that had drawn with the Bairns seven days earlier.

Joao Victoria was unable to play against his parent club while Cameron Elliott was missing through injury.

That opened the door for Denny Johnstone to make his home debut while Andy Stirling also returned to the team.

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Clearly buoyed by recent results, Stranraer came out of the blocks quickly and took the game to the league leaders.

Goalkeeper Robbie Thomson had to punch clear a Jordan Allan corner that threatened to go straight into the goal – more on that later.

Stirling was enjoying success down the left and the swirling wind meant crosses into the box were proving dangerous.

At the other end, Kieran MacDonald did well to carve out Raith’s first real opportunity.

His cross from the left was met by the diving Steven MacLean but the on-loan striker could only put his header across goal and wide of the post.

It was not until the 26th minute that Max Currie was called into action in the home goal.

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There seemed little on for veteran striker John Baird but Currie had to be alert to get down to his backheel from just a few yards out.

The breakthrough would come on 36 minutes and it would come for the visitors.

A long clearance up the park caught out the home defence and Baird ran through on goal.

He still had plenty to do but kept his cool to round Currie and then squeeze the ball home despite the attention of Scott Robertson and Adam Cummins.

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Much like the game against Falkirk seven days earlier, Stranraer trailed by a goal at the break and had it all to do in the second half.

Many inside Stair Park thought the hosts had found their leveller four minutes after the restart.

Ryan Thomson cut in well from the right and saw his shot deflected past the post for a corner.

Again, Allan swung the ball in and this time it seemed destined for the net, with Jamie Hamill getting the final touch on the goal line.

However, referee David Lowe was not happy with the action in the six-yard box and ruled out the goal.

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Fortunately, Stranraer would not have long to wait for their leveller.

Just five minutes later they were given the chance to score from the penalty spot after a fine team move.

Stirling played the ball to Allan, who was brought down by Michael Miller.

Stevenson stepped up and sent Thomson the wrong way from 12 yards for his first senior goal since a strike for Raith against Hibs in February 2017.

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The weather had ensured it was an unpredictable game and Stranraer were carving out chances to turn the game on its head.

Stevenson’s cross into the box caused uncertainty in the Raith ranks but Stirling, still looking for his first goal since returning to the club, could not quite poke the ball over the line from inside the six yard box.

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Ten minutes later, it took an impressive save from Thomson to keep the scores level after a scramble in the box.

The ball broke to McManus on the edge of the box and he smashed a shot through a crowd of players with the Raith goalkeeper in the right place to make the block.

That’s not to say it was all one-way traffic and Kyle Benedictus fired in a timely reminder with under 20 minutes to go.

McManus could only flick on a free-kick and the Raith defender, lurking at the back post, put his first time effort wide of the target.

Half chances came and went at the end, with Cummins and Stevenson both seeing efforts blocked in stoppage time but a draw was probably about a fair result.

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The Blues really took the game to their opponents after the break and must look to take that performance into next week’s trip to Forfar.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Allan, Cummins, Pignatiello, McManus, Hamill, Ryan Thomson, Stirling, Stevenson, Johnstone (Hilton 75).
Not used: McIntyre, Phillips, Ross and Burgess

Raith Rovers: Robbie Thomson, Miller, MacDonald, Davidson, Benedictus, Hendry, Matthews, MacLean, Tait (Spencer 72), Bowie (Armstrong 67), Baird (Dingwall 78).
Not used: Anderson, McKay, Watson and Munro.

Referee: David Lowe
Attendance: 327
HT: 0-1

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish