Scorers: East Fife - Dowds (18), Agnew (45 pen), Denholm (50) and Wallace (59); Stranraer - Robertson (78) and Victoria (78)

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EAST FIFE braved the blizzards and a late Blues fightback to storm to victory at New Bayview.

Scott Robertson and Joao Victoria struck within seconds of each other to give Stranraer hope, but the home side held on to ensure their opponents would suffer their first defeat in seven games.

Stevie Farrell handed James Hilton his first start since the beginning of January, in the only change from the side which drew at Forfar a week earlier.

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The manager had spoken before the match about the need to start on the front foot, and Stranraer responded by creating a handful of early chances.

Lewis McIntyre, making his third start, attempted to catch Brett Long out with a cross/shot from out wide, but the East Fife keeper did well to hold it.

Ryan Stevenson opened up the home defence with a well-timed through ball for Andy Stirling, but the winger was edged out wide and could only drag his shot past the post.

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And Hilton almost benefitted from another good Stevenson pass, only to shoot wide.

But it would be East Fife who went in front.

Stevenson found himself on the receiving end of a hefty challenge, but the home side broke forward as referee David Dickinson waved play on.

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Anton Dowds raced onto the resulting through ball and kept his cool to slot home into the corner of the net.

The day would go from bad to worse for Stranraer ten minutes later, as Hilton went over on his ankle and had to be stretchered off the pitch, to be replaced by Joao Victoria.

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And the Fifers would inflict further misery by doubling their lead before the half was over.

Ryan Thomson was adjudged to have handled the ball when diving onto the artificial turf to attempt a headed clearance, and former Stranraer midfielder Scott Agnew stepped up to send Max Currie the wrong way from the spot.

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Any of the Blues faithful hoping for an instant reply would be disappointed within five minutes of the restart.

Ryan Wallace arrived at the byeline to square for Danny Denholm, who had the simplest of tap ins at the back post.

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And Wallace would add a fourth just ten minutes later, scoring direct from a wind-assisted corner.

Currie would be called into a couple of saves to deny the lively Callumn Morrison, with Adam Cummins making a last-gasp goal line clearance from goalscorer Denholm.

But the travelling Stranraer support would finally have something to cheer as their side scored twice within a minute.

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Joao Victoria was denied by a reflex save from Long, but Scott Robertson pounced on the rebound to fire home.

Victoria then added his first goal since returning to the club, slotting into the bottom corner.

The Portuguese forward almost pulled another goal back after winning the ball in the box, his quickly taken shot failing to trouble the goalkeeper after a good challenge on the last defender.

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Stevenson dragged a shot wide in the closing stages, but that would be as close as Stranraer would come to an unlikely comeback.

Stranraer: Currie, McIntyre (Elliott 83), Robertson, Cummins, Allan, Thomson, Hamill, McManus, Stirling, Hilton (Victoria 28), Stevenson.
Not used: Burgess, Johnstone, Phillips, Ross.

East Fife: Long, Murdoch, Dunlop, Higgins, Slattery, Morrison, Davidson, Agnew, Denholm (Watson 82), Wallace (Dunsmore 90), Dowds (Baker 69).
Not used: Hart, Smith, Hunter, Watt.

Referee: David Dickinson
Attendance: 491
HT: 2-0

Photos: Bill McCandlish, Stranraer FC
Stranraer have the chance to claw back some points with back to back home games against Montrose (Tuesday) and Peterhead (Saturday).

Admission: Adults £15, Concessions (over 65) £10, Secondary and Primary £5 (without season ticket)

Mo and Pete W2