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  • Post published:15 December 2023

Super sub James Dolan is hoping his goal against Clyde is enough to put him back into the starting line-up.

The wideman replaced Olly McDonald with 28 minutes left to play at New Douglas Park on Saturday.

And barely 60 seconds after his introduction he had pulled the score back to 2-2 and helped Stranraer to gain a valuable point on the road.

Scott Agnew will face a decision on Saturday when Bonnyrigg Rose make the trip to Stair Park.

Dolan was looking to get back to his early season form and said: “I think the last few weeks I have not been playing as well as I was at the start of the season.

“I think I was doing really well at the start of the season but I think at my age it is not too abnormal to have a wee dip in form.

“Hopefully, I can get my form back up as soon as possible.

“I think that is about 21 or 22 games I have played.

“It is all good experience and it is all learning for me as well.

“Even last year, I was injured for about three or four months and when I came back it was a wee bit stop-start.

“It was a bit of a stop-start season last year so I am just glad that I have been playing games on a regular basis and at a higher level as well is definitely helping me.”

Dolan, who is studying Spanish and economics, is the club’s joint top scorer alongside the injured Tom Orr and leads the way for assists as well.

Dolan tucked away the equaliser at New Douglas Park last weekend

That comes as the summer signing made the step up from playing in the West of Scotland Football League with Cumnock.

Despite the impressive figures, the former Ayr United man felt the numbers could be even better.

He said: “They are decent, to be fair, but I probably could have more goals.

“I have just got to keep going.

“There have been a few games where I have missed chances that I should be scoring and a few times where I have not been in the right position when boys have put crosses into the box and I’ve not been in the right area at the back post to get a tap in.

“I think if I just get better at that sort of stuff then I am sure my numbers will go up.”

The goal on Saturday also marked the second week in a row where Stranraer have found themselves behind and came back to take something from the game.

Another example of that fighting spirit came in the last meeting with Bonnyrigg Rose.

Deryn Lang levelled the scores after Neil Martyniuk had opened the scoring at New Dundas Park earlier this campaign.

Dolan said: “I think it would probably help if we did start showing up and scoring the first goal in games.

“The boys have definitely showed that we do have the character in us to bounce back from going behind.

“You can see it has happened in the last couple of games.

“If we start scoring earlier in games, start scoring first, it will definitely be better for us.”

Last meeting

Stranraer are yet to defeat Bonnyrigg Rose since the New Dundas Park side’s promotion to the SPFL

Spoils were shared at New Dundas Park in August.

Bonnyrigg had led at the interval thanks to a Neil Martyniuk penalty – the second he has scored in three meetings in Midlothian. However, with time running out, it was Stranraer who were celebrating. Deryn Lang came on for Josh Walker to make his debut and blasted home when the ball fell kindly in the box.

Bonnyrigg Rose: Martin, Mailer, Martyniuk, Young, Grigor, Peggie, Currie, McGale (Connelly 86), Doan (Barrett 74), Watson (Mahady 62), Osadolor (McGachie 61).
Not used: Forbes, Murray, Faye and Andrews.

Stranraer: M McDonald, Robertson, Williamson (Lang 58), Girvan, McIntosh, Walker (O McDonald 71), Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, Armour, Orr (Hughes 89).
Not used: O’Connor.

Last five meetings

  • Bonnyrigg Rose 1 Stranraer 1 (Martyniuk (Pen); Lang) at New Dundas Park on August 19, 2023
  • Bonnyrigg Rose 1 Stranraer 0 (McGachie) at New Dundas Park on April 1, 2023
  • Stranraer 0 Bonnyrigg Rose 1 (Faye) at Stair Park on February 11, 2023
  • Bonnyrigg Rose 3 Stranraer 2 (Gray, Mitchell and Martyniuk (Pen); Walker and Watt) at New Dundas Park on December 23, 2022
  • Stranraer 2 Bonnyrigg Rose 2 (Own goal and Walker; Smith and Currie (Pen)) at Stair Park on August 13, 2022

Last five games

The Blues are unbeaten in their last two, but without a win in five games


  • DRAW v Clyde (A): 2-2 (Ross and Dolan)
  • DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 1-1 (McDonald)
  • LOSS v Airdrieonians (H): 0-1
  • LOSS v Stenhousemuir (H): 0-3
  • LOSS v Peterhead (A): 3-2 (Armour and own goal)

Bonnyrigg Rose

  • DRAW v Peterhead (H): 1-1 (Young)
  • LOSS v Stenhousemuir (A): 1-0
  • WIN v Albion Rovers (A): 0-1 (Martyniuk (Pen))
  • WIN v East Fife (H): 4-2 (Osadolor, Currie and Martyniuk (Pen x2))
  • LOSS v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-2

Last time out

Dylan Forrest led the team out against Clyde in the absence of experienced duo Grant Gallagher and Sean McIntosh


Lineup v Clyde: Budinauckas, Robertson, Williamson, Girvan, Ross, Hawkshaw (Walker 86), McDonald (Dolan 62), Forrest, Fleming, Grant, Lang (Sneddon 89).
Not used: Strachan and Downie.

Bonnyrigg Rose

Lineup v Peterhead: Martin, Mailer, Martyniuk, Young, Peggie, Stewart (Barrett 75), Currie, Connelly, Buchanan (Osadolor 71), Doan, Watson (Sutherland 89).
Not used: Jarvis, McGale, Faye and Andrews.

Five facts

Happy birthday to former Stranraer goalkeeper John Hillcoat

1. If named in the starting line-up tomorrow (Saturday), Dylan Forrest will start his 50th game for the club. His first start came against Dundee in July last year.

2. Tomorrow also marks the 53rd birthday of former Stranraer number one John Hillcoat. A man of many clubs, Hillcoat had already played for Dunfermline Athletic, Clyde, Hamilton Academical, Partick Thistle, Clydebank, Hamilton Academical (again), Greenock Morton, Hamilton Academical (again), Queen of the South and Dumbarton before joining Stranraer from St Mirren. He would make 36 appearances before moving to Ayr United, Brechin City, Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire and then a brief spell at St Johnstone.

3. Last weekend was the first time Stranraer had trailed twice in an away league game and managed to take at least a point since September 2014 against Airdrie. Jamie Longworth had the Blues in front before Paddy Boyle and Bryan Prunty put Diamonds in control. Craig Malcolm levelled things before Luca Gasparotto fired Airdrie into the lead, until stoppage time when Adam Forde scored. The visiting team that day was: Mitchell, Pettigrew, Longridge, Rumsby (Forde 79), McKeown, Gallagher, Stirling, Gibson, Winter (McCloskey 89), Malcolm, Longworth (Stoney 23). Not used: Russell, Marenghi and Tobin.

4. Over the course of five meetings with Bonnyrigg Rose (450 minutes), the Blues have been in front for 51 minutes. In comparison, the Midlothian men have been in front for 153 minutes.

5. Stranraer have not gone unbeaten in December since 2020. On that occasion, the Stair Park side drew with Stirling Albion (Tom Orr and Darryl Duffy scoring), matched the 2-2 scoreline at Stenhousemuir (Adam Cummins and Ruari Paton scoring), defeated Albion Rovers (Paton, Orr, Duffy and Cameron Elliott scoring in a 4-0 win) and thumped The Spartans 5-0 (Duffy, Paton, Cummins scored alongside a double from Matty Yates).


Admission at Stair Park is on a ‘pay at the gate’ basis, with pricing as follows:

  • Adult – £15
  • Concession – £10
  • 5 to 16 Years Old – £5
  • Under 5 – FREE

Stranraer FC merchandise is available, and the Pavilion Bar at the ground is open from 1pm for pre and post-match refreshments.

As always, you can follow our social media channels for live updates, interviews and highlights across the weekend.

Photos: Bill McCandlish