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  • Post published:8 March 2024

Familiarity is part of the reason for Stranraer’s defensive improvements, according to goalkeeper Lewis Budinauckas.

The Blues have kept clean sheets in each of the last two league games, including a 5-0 win over play-off chasing Dumbarton on Tuesday night.

Goalkeeper Budinauckas has pulled off some impressive stops along the way.

He said: “I think since the turn of the year, we have got one of the best defensive records.

“That is not just me, but that shows how I have gelled with the back four and we have got to know each other a lot better.

“I feel my performances have got better as well.

“Getting to know people and playing with mainly the same four in front of me has been good.

“We are getting to know each other really well.”

Budinauckas, who is on loan from Rangers until the end of the season, has collected many plaudits over recent weeks.

Budinauckas has had an impressive loan season between the sticks for Stranraer

The shotstopper was brought in to provide competition for Martin McDonald before taking the number one spot.

A debut away to Dumbarton at the end of September has seen him keep the gloves for more than 20 games.

That regular first team football, which comes on the heels of a previous loan spell at Civil Service Strollers, has benefited the goalkeeper, whose dad, Kevin, previously played at Stair Park.

Lewis said: “I think I feel in myself that I have improved so much from the start of the loan to now.

“It is a big part of any young goalkeeper’s development.

“It has been a different challenge.

“You are thrown in, especially with the physicality of playing first team football.

“That is a big part of it.

“One thing that I think has improved is there are a lot more decisions to make within the game.

“That has got better with more games.”

Budinauckas and his team-mates make the long trip north on Saturday to take on another team chasing play-off success, Peterhead.

The youngster arrived on loan from Rangers last year

Stranraer have won both encounters between the two sides at Stair Park but it was the hosts celebrating at Balmoor back in November.

The visitors twice came from behind but, ultimately, a late free-kick from Joe McKee proved the difference.

Budinauckas was looking forward to the game and said: “We go with confidence, especially after the game against Dumbarton.

“We were very unlucky to lose there the last time with the free-kick, a brilliant free-kick, late on.

“We believe we can beat anybody and just again it is about following on from Dumbarton and putting a consistent run of form together.”

Last meeting

Thomas Orr was on target for Stranraer back in January

Goals in each half were enough to give Stranraer victory over Peterhead at Stair Park in January.

The first strike saw James Dolan and Chris Johnston combine well after six minutes. They broke from the halfway line, with Dolan centring the ball for Johnston, who took a touch and lifted his shot over Stuart McKenzie.

Johnston turned provider after the break as he lifted the ball over the Peterhead defence for Tom Orr. Appeals for offside were ignored and the striker squeezed the ball home to mark his birthday with a goal.

Peterhead pushed to get back into the game but their afternoon was rounded off four minutes from time when Andy McCarthy was sent off for a second yellow card.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Girvan, C Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont, Robertson (Fleming 86), Dolan, Forrest, Johnston (Hawkshaw 73), Grant, Orr (Lang 78).
Not used: Williamson, Walker, Strachan, Gilmartin and Downie.

Peterhead: McKenzie, D Strachan (Jordan Brown 68), Goldie, R Strachan, S Ross, McCarthy, Ward (Pawlett 54), Jack Brown, McKee (Ritchie 28), McAllister, Shanks.
Not used: Wood.

Last five meetings

  • Stranraer 2 Peterhead 0 (Johnston and Orr) at Stair Park on January 13, 2024
  • Peterhead 3 Stranraer 2 (McAllister, S Ross, McKee; Armour and Own goal) at Balmoor Stadium on November 11, 2023
  • Stranraer 2 Peterhead 1 (Orr and Fleming; Jason Brown) at Stair Park on September 2, 2023
  • Peterhead 3 Stranraer 0 (Conroy x2 and Scott Brown) at Balmoor Stadium on December 7, 2019
  • Stranraer 1 Peterhead 2 (Dangana; Scott Brown x2) at Stair Park on August 31, 2019

Last five games

The returning Ben Armour scored the Blues’ fourth goal on Tuesday night


  • WIN v Dumbarton (H): 5-0 (Own goal, Grant, Forrest, Armour and Lang)
  • DRAW v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-0
  • LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-1 (Ross)
  • LOSS v Spartans (H): 1-2 (Orr)
  • WIN v Clyde (H): 2-0 (Fleming and Ecrepont)


  • LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 1-0
  • DRAW v Elgin City (H): 1-1 (Shanks)
  • DRAW v Bonnyrigg Rose (H): 0-0
  • DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 3-3 (McAllister, Duffy and Stewart)
  • DRAW v Clyde (A): 1-1 (McAllister (Pen))

Last time out

Grant Gallagher inched closer to his 300th appearance with a cameo against Dumbarton after returning from injury


Lineup v Dumbarton: Budinauckas, Ross, McQueen, Girvan, Ecrepont, Robertson (Gallagher 74), Forrest, Johnston (McIntosh 70), Fleming, Grant (Dolan 58), Armour (Lang 57).
Not used: Williamson, Orr, Miller and Downie.


Lineup v Peterhead: McKenzie, D Strachan, Goldie, Wilson (Ward 68), Duffy, McCarthy, McKee, Jordan Brown (Armstrong 68), Pawlett (Stewart 53), McAllister (Ritchie 25), Shanks.
Not used: R Strachan, Gibbons, O’Keefe and Wood.

Five facts

Jamie Longworth overcame an assault from Gregor Buchanan to help Stranraer to a 5-1 win over Dunfermline

1. Two Stranraer players could tick off personal milestones on Saturday. Matty Grant could make his 50th start for the club, having also made six substitute appearances. Meanwhile, Craig Ross will be hoping to make his 100th start to go alongside his two substitute appearances.

2. Stranraer have clearly been in the mood for sharing the goals throughout the team. In fact, it has been a different goalscorer for each of the club’s last nine goals. Counting back, Deryn Lang, Ben Armour, Dylan Forrest, Matty Grant and an own goal were on the scoresheet against Dumbarton. On February 24, Craig Ross netted away to the same club and seven days prior to that it was Tom Orr who scored against Spartans. Finn Ecrepont and Kyle Fleming were on target against Clyde. Stopping the sequence was a goal from Orr against tomorrow’s opponents, Peterhead.

3. Stranraer have not won on their previous six visits to Balmoor Stadium. The last victory came in March 2015 and came after Andy Rodgers had put the hosts in front. Second half goals from Willie Gibson and Jamie Longworth saw the tie turned on its head.

4. Tuesday night’s win was the first time Stranraer had scored five in a league game at Stair Park since a 5-1 triumph over Dunfermline Athletic in February 2015. Fittingly, there were five different scorers for the Blues on that occasion too. Grant Gallagher scored before an equaliser from Andy Geggan. Gregor Buchanan was then sent off for the visitors before Chris Aitken and Willie Gibson scored before the break. Jamie Longworth and Jon McShane then wrapped up the scoring.

5. Fans need to cast their minds back even further for the last time more than five goals were scored by the home side in a league contest at Stair Park. Stephen Stirling scored a double and Sean Winter found the net in the first half against East Stirlingshire in December 2011. Stuart McColm, Scott Taggart and Michael Moore found the net after the break to wrap up a 6-0 win. The home team that day was: Marshall, Taggart, Noble, McGregor (Gallagher 65), McKeown, Kane, Stirling (Agnew 77), McColm, Winter (Moore 70), Malcolm, Grehan. Not used: Shepherd and Mitchell.


Follow live updates from Balmoor via the Stranraer FC Twitter feed

Due to availability we’ll have limited coverage from Balmoor this weekend, with normal service set to resume for next Saturday’s home meeting with Elgin City.

Follow our live updates on X (formerly Twitter) to keep up with the latest news throughout the afternoon.

Peterhead’s Blue Toon TV will bring you highlights of all the action later in the weekend.

Photos: Bill McCandlish