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Stranraer must treat the remaining games like cup finals in a bid to avoid finishing club number 42, according to midfielder Dean Hawkshaw.

The Blues slipped to the bottom of League Two following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Clyde.

Despite the disappointment at New Douglas Park, Stranraer are still just one point adrift of Bonnyrigg Rose, who sit in eighth.

Hawkshaw acknowledged there was no getting away from the current predicament but stressed there was still belief in the changing room to turn it around.

He said: “To an extent it is outwith our own hands but if we can go and pick up as many points as we can over the next four games it gives us every chance.

“Every game is a cup final.

“We have got to do everything we can to win the games now.”

Twenty-six-year-old Hawkshaw told the club website that “nobody” was happy with the situation and the team was capable of much more.

Jordan Allan’s stoppage time goal was enough to lift Clyde off the bottom of the table and above the Blues.

Hawkshaw was frustrated at Stranraer conceding late on and stressed it was not the first time this season that had happened.

Hawkshaw came off the bench at New Douglas Park

Now, he has called on the team to concentrate until the final whistle – even if that is the 95th or 96th minute or beyond.

He said: “It was a sickener.

“Obviously, don’t get me wrong the weather affected the game so it was a game of two halves.

“We had the wind in the first half and I thought we played pretty well without causing too many problems for them.

“In the second half, they had the wind and kind of boxed us in a wee bit.

“To get to the end of the game, you are hoping you can see it out and take a point.

“It’s not the best situation but it is certainly not the worst.

“To concede the goal in the 92nd minute is a sickener.”

It has been a challenging season in more ways than one for Hawkshaw.

The former Kilmarnock and Airdrie midfielder did not feature in a league game until the middle of October and a trip to East Fife.

However, he battled his way into Scott Agnew’s starting line-up.

He remained a regular fixture until the defeat to the Bayview club at Stair Park in January before making his comeback in the recent draw with Bonnyrigg Rose.

Hawkshaw revealed he was forced onto the sidelines and said: “I thought I had broken my ribs.

“I went for an x-ray, the results came back and they said that my ribs were fine but it might be my muscle but I had an enlarged heart.

“The medical advice was that I should stop playing until they got to the bottom of it and saw a cardiac specialist.

“It took a wee while to see her but it could not have gone any better.

“We did a few tests and everything came back fine and I got the all clear to play again.

“It has been frustrating that I probably felt that I could play but the advice was to just refrain.”

Last meeting

Spartans scored a late double at Stair Park in February

A late, late double from former Stranraer man Ayrton Sonkur gave Spartans all three points in February.

Cammy Russell had the ball in the net for the capital club early doors but the offside flag was already up. Stranraer also had an effort ruled out for an infringement when Tom Orr latched on to James Dolan’s mishit shot.

It was the hosts who got their noses in front when Orr tucked home from close range at the second attempt after Scott Robertson’s low cross. Stranraer had chances to put the game to bed but that was how the score remained until second half stoppage time.

First, Bradley Whyte chipped it to the back post for Sonkur to nod back across goal and pull Spartans level. Then, on 96 minutes, they found a winner when a corner was kept alive and Sonkur smashed home from close range.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson, Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont, Dolan, Forrest, Fleming (Armour 84), Grant (Williamson 81), Orr (Lang 58).
Not used: Johnston, Gilmartin and Downie.

Spartans: Carswell, Watson, Booth, Waugh, Denholm (Brown 73), Sonkur, Watson (Whyte 74), Dishington (Jones 46), Russell, Armstrong (Tapping 73), Henderson.
Not used: Laing, Newman, Thompson, Craigen and McCready.

Last five meetings

Craig Malcolm bagged four goals in the Blues’ 2016 meeting with Spartans before their SPFL days
  • Stranraer 1 Spartans 2 (Orr; Sonkur x2) at Stair Park on February 17, 2024
  • Spartans 3 Stranraer 0 (Denholm, Sonkur and Own Goal) at Ainslie Park on December 23, 2023
  • Stranraer 3 Spartans 4 (Orr, Dolan and Lang; Craigen, Armstrong, Tapping and Henderson) at Stair Park on October 7, 2023
  • Stranraer 5 Spartans 0 (Duffy, Paton, Cummins and Yates x2) on December 26, 2020
  • Stranraer 7 Spartans 1 (Malcolm x4, McGuigan (Pen), Gibson and Turner; Malone) at Stair Park on August 16, 2016

Last five games

The Blues’ form has stuttered in recent weeks

Stranraer

  • LOSS v Clyde (A): 1-0
  • DRAW v Bonnyrigg Rose (H): 1-1 (Lang)
  • LOSS v East Fife (A): 2-1 (Grant)
  • LOSS v Elgin City (H): 1-2 (Own goal)
  • LOSS v Peterhead (A): 2-0

Spartans

  • DRAW v Elgin City (A): 2-2 (Henderson x2 (Pen x1))
  • WIN v Forfar Athletic (H): 1-0 (McNulty (Pen))
  • DRAW v Clyde (A): 0-0
  • LOSS v Dumbarton (H): 2-6 (Russell and Whyte)
  • DRAW v Stenhousemuir (A): 0-0

Last time out

Scott Robertson was injured in the Blues’ defeat at Clyde

Stranraer

Lineup v Clyde: Budinauckas, Robertson (Fleming 59), Williamson, Ross, McQueen, Gallagher (Hawkshaw 71), Dolan, Forrest, McIntosh, Grant (Ecrepont 71), Lang (Armour 81).
Not used: Miller, Orr, Gilmartin and Downie.

Spartans

Lineup v Elgin City: Carswell, K Watson (Dishington 61), Booth, Sonkur, P Watson, Russell, Armstrong (Thompson 77), Craigen, Whyte, Henderson, McNulty.
Not used: Denholm, Laing, Brown, Newman and McCready.

Five facts

Spartans defender Ayrton Sonkur has a formidable scoring record against his former club

1. A number of former Stranraer players are celebrating their birthdays tomorrow (Saturday). Among those blowing out the candles is 33-year-old Ryan Thomson. Initially joining from Dunfermline, Thomson had two spells with the Blues – with a season at Dumbarton in between. In total, he played 136 times and found the net on 13 occasions.

2. Stranraer’s last win at Ainslie Park came just over two years ago but not against tomorrow’s opponents. Instead, first half strikes from Craig Ross and Sean Burns put the Blues on top against Edinburgh City. Former Hearts and Cordoba midfielder Anthony McDonald scored after the break but the visitors held on for a 2-1 win.

3. It is 10 years ago since Stranraer last went through April without picking up at least one win. In 2014, the Blues drew 1-1 at East Fife (Scott Robertson scoring) before losing 4-2 to Arbroath (Sean Winter and Adam Forde on target), 2-1 to Brechin City (Andy Stirling scored) and 3-0 to Rangers.

4. Ayrton Sonkur has almost scored as many goals against Stranraer this season as he did for the club. The central defender scored a double in the last meeting at Stair Park and also found the net in the win at Ainslie Park in December. He found the net on four occasions for Stranraer between the summer of 2020 and 2022.

5. An Andy Stirling strike at Stirling Albion gave Stranraer victory the last time they played on April 13. The Blues won 1-0 at Forthbank Stadium in 2021 on a Tuesday night. The visiting team that day was: Fleming, Robertson, Burns, Cummins, Sonkur, McManus, Stirling, Millar, Hilton, Duffy (Orr 68), Paton (Elliott 88). Not used: Devitt, Hamill, Yates, Josh Walker, Taylor, Victoria and Jamie Walker.

Admission

Admission at Ainslie Park is priced as follows:

  • Adult – £15
  • Concession (16 to 18 and 65+) – £10
  • Youth (13 to 16) – £5

You can purchase tickets in advance via the home club’s Fanbase service.

Coverage

Our social media channels will have the latest updates from Ainslie Park

Follow our social media channels for all the action from Saturday’s trip to the capital.

You can follow live matchday updates on X (formerly Twitter) for the latest news throughout the afternoon.

The manager’s interview will be available on YouTube during the evening, and Club 1870 subscribers can watch the goals before midnight.

Extended highlights will follow as soon as possible on Sunday, with full match footage available via Club 1870 later on.

Photos: Bill McCandlish