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Civil Service Strollers 0-3 Stranraer

  • Post published:28 October 2023

Scorers: Girvan (56), Ross (72) and Robertson (84)

Three unanswered second half goals saw Stranraer ease through to the third round of the Scottish Cup.

The Blues came into the contest on the back of five consecutive defeats and determined to avoid a cup shock at the hands of Civil Service Strollers.

Scott Agnew made three changes from the side that had lost out against East Fife as Cammy Williamson, Dean Hawkshaw and Ben Armour came into the team in place of the cup-tied Blair Sneddon, with Tom Orr and Deryn Lang dropping to the bench.

The visitors to Edinburgh saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages without forcing goalkeeper Stuart Burnside into action.

When they did have the beating of the home number one, they were left cursing their luck.

Dean Hawkshaw produced a bright display for Stranraer

Scott Robertson’s cross from the right was met first time by Hawkshaw but he could only direct his shot over the goalkeeper and onto the crossbar.

The roles were reversed just before the half hour mark when Hawkshaw turned provider.

This time, Robertson got his head to the ball but could only glance it across goal and wide of the target.

Civil Service Strollers enjoyed a spell of possession before the break and Matthew Shaw called Lewis Budinauckas into action, although his close range header lacked the necessary power.

The first goal was always going to be crucial and it came Stranraer’s way 12 minutes after the restart.

It was a day of celebrations for the Blues

Burnside had looked composed with everything thrown at him in the first half but he was involved in the Stranraer opener.

The goalkeeper came to collect Hawkshaw’s free-kick into the box but lost track of the flight of the ball and Kyle Girvan was on hand to bundle home from close range.

It was a goal which seemed to settle the nerves of both the Stranraer team and the travelling fans.

Dylan Forrest had already forced Burnside into another save before Girvan’s defensive colleague Craig Ross got his first goal for the club since April 2022.

Armour was desperately unlucky to see his close range header come back off the post but Stranraer kept possession and Sean McIntosh cross the ball in for Ross to score.

Craig Ross doubled the visitors’ lead

The game was becoming increasingly stretched as the hosts threw men forward in a bid to get back into the contest.

And they came within a whisker of doing just that when a lovely curling effort from substitute Liam McQuaid flew just inches wide of the post with Budinauckas at full stretch.

Stranraer were threatening at the other end and Matty Grant was only denied a first of the season by a last gasp block by the experienced Conrad Balatoni.

There would be time for one more goal though and it came in style.

Robertson collected the ball outside the box, danced round his marker and then lashed the ball into the top corner of the net to leave Burnside with no chance.

There were jubilant scenes in the dugout after Robertson’s 85th minute goal

The hosts gave it their best to get on the scoresheet in the closing stages but some brilliant blocks and defensive efforts ensured Stranraer progressed with a clean sheet.

Civil Service Strollers: Burnside, Parker, Balatoni, Shaw (Guthrie 71), Yeats (McQuaid 71), McConnell, Laird (Mbewe 81), Clarke, Lawson, Girwood (Amponsah 71), Cole (Findlay 71).
Not used: Valentine, Duffy and Wilkinson.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson, Williamson, Girvan, McIntosh, Ross, Dolan (Walker 88), Hawkshaw (McDonald 77), Forrest (Lang 89), Grant (Strachan 88), Armour (Orr 77).
Not used: Downie.

Referee: Duncan Nicholson.

Photos: Bill McCandlish