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Stranraer 2-0 Peterhead

  • Post published:13 January 2024

Scorers: Johnston (6) and Orr (46)

Early goals in both halves helped Stranraer to three vital points against second placed Peterhead.

The Blues came into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to Elgin City and Scott Agnew made one change from the trip to Borough Briggs.

Birthday boy Tom Orr was brought into the starting line-up as Deryn Lang settled for a place on the bench.

An early goal was likely just what Agnew was looking for and it duly arrived after just six minutes.

Chris Johnston, making his home debut, played the ball out wide to James Dolan.

The former Ayr United youngster crossed back to ex-Kilmarnock man Johnston, who took a touch before lifting a shot over the advancing Stuart McKenzie.

Chris Johnston had a productive home debut for Stranraer

It was a clever and composed finish, which put Stranraer in the driving seat.

Dolan almost had his name on the scoresheet midway through the first half after again doing well on the left.

He cut into the box and fired at McKenzie from a tight angle before the ball came back to his feet.

He fired at goal for a second time only to see it cleared in the six-yard box.

The manager has spoken in recent weeks about Stranraer needing to take advantage of their periods in the ascendancy.

Opposition sides are going to have chances and Peterhead had their first real effort on goal just after the half hour mark.

Home debutant Chris McQueen earned Man of the Match honours following a resolute defensive display

Finn Ecrepont, making his first appearance at Stair Park since a permanent switch from Ayr, tried to shepherd the ball out but was robbed of possession.

Hamish Ritchie, a first half substitute for the injured Joe McKee, seized on the loose ball and got a shot away, which Lewis Budinauckas did well to block with his shins.

If Stranraer fans were late back from tucking into half time refreshments, they likely missed the game’s second goal.

Johnston lifted a lovely ball over the top and Orr got the birthday present he was after as he sprinted through and slid the ball under McKenzie from a tight angle.

Less than 55 seconds of the second half had been played but already Stranraer looked on course for the win.

Peterhead had enjoyed plenty of possession in the first 55 minutes of the game but failed to overly work Budinauckas, who was protected by his defence.

Birthday boy Thomas Orr beat the Peterhead defensive line to hand the Blues a cushion

The goalkeeper punched clear a corner and had Scott Robertson to thank when he blocked Jack Brown’s low follow up from outside the box.

Clearly, the visitors had to throw men forward in a bid to salvage something from the game and that left spaces at the back.

Stranraer were quick to capitalise on that with balls over the top or through the stretched defence.

One of those came on 67 minutes when Matty Grant sprinted through with just McKenzie to beat.

The Stranraer man won the race to the ball but could not quite find a way beyond the experienced number one, who got a toe on the ball.

Peterhead’s increasingly slim chances of getting something from the game were ended four minutes from time.

Andy McCarthy had already been booked and saw a second yellow yard as he tangled with Robertson, who was trying to set up a Stranraer attack.

Goalkeeper Lewis Budinauckas and his defence claimed a welcome clean sheet

In the end, a well deserved win for the home side, who not only picked up three points but an almost as welcome clean sheet along the way.

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

Peterhead: McKenzie, D Strachan (Jordon Brown 68), Goldie, R Strachan, McCarthy, McAllister, Shanks, Ward (Pawlett 54), Jack Brown, S Ross, McKee (Ritchie 27).
Not used: Wood.

Referee: Steven Kirkland
Attendance: 321
HT: 1-0

Photos: Bill McCandlish