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Stranraer 0-1 Airdrieonians

  • Post published:25 November 2023

Scorer: C Gallagher (25)

Joshua Rae’s save eight minutes from time denied Stranraer the chance of extra time against Championship Airdrie in the Scottish Cup.

There was little to separate the two sides over 90 enjoyable minutes on a winter afternoon at Stair Park.

Manager Scott Agnew was able to welcome back midfield duo Scott Robertson and Dylan Forrest from suspension while Deryn Lang was called into the attack in the absence of the injured Ben Armour.

The Diamonds are enjoying life back in the second tier of Scottish football but it took a fine block from Aaron Taylor-Sinclair to prevent Stranraer from taking a surprise lead.

Lang did well to push the ball out to the right for Matty Grant, who cut inside and saw his shot from 20 yards deflected by the Airdrie man and spin inches beyond the post.

Kyle Girvan then glanced a header wide of the target before the hosts were given a warning on 18 minutes.

Grant attempted to flick the ball clear but it struck Kanayochukwa Menya, who steadied himself before curling an effort off the crossbar with Lewis Budinauckas well and truly beaten.

Dylan Forrest returned to the starting lineup following a one-game suspension

Charlie Telfer then volleyed wide before Stranraer again came close at the other end.

James Dolan and Lang battled well before the ball came to Grant.

The midfielder looked offside but with no flag coming he was able to get his shot away, firing over from a tight angle.

Seconds later and the only goal of the game duly arrived.

Craig Ross attempted to head a cross clear but it fell kindly at the feet of Liam McStravick, who calmly set up Callum Gallagher to roll the ball home from barely eight yards out.

Airdrie were enjoying plenty of possession without truly worrying or hurting their hosts and Stranraer probably had the better chances over the opening 45 minutes.

Among those coming close was former Airdrie man Sean McIntosh who blasted a loose ball just over the bar.

The duo that had combined for the opening goal created the first chance of the second half.

Again, McStravick was the provider and he cut the ball back for the onrushing Gallagher but the frontman’s header lacked any real placement or power and Budinauckas held on to it easily.

The goalkeeper was called into more telling action on the hour mark.

Adam Frizzell’s corner was met by Taylor-Sinclair at the back post and the former Livingston man surely thought he had scored but for a brilliant Budinauckas save, with the goalkeeper getting down well to push the ball out.

Matty Grant was a threat throughout for Stranraer

Like any good cup tie, the longer the game stayed in the balance the more home fans felt there would be another chance to get a goal.

That opportunity duly arrived with 82 minutes played.

Robertson’s through ball found Grant, who outpaced the defender to get his shot away only for Rae to make a good block.

The ball fell back to Grant but he could not steady himself enough and sliced the rebound wide of the target.

Stranraer kept pushing and Budinauckas was even thrown up for a free-kick in stoppage time but in the end Airdrie did enough to secure their place in the fourth round of the competition.

Defeat again for Stranraer but plenty of positives to take into an encounter with Forfar Athletic next Saturday.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson (Strachan 84), Williamson, Girvan, Ross, Dolan (Walker 72), Hawkshaw (McDonald 72), Forrest, McIntosh, Grant, Lang.
Not used: Downie.

Airdrieonians: Rae, Watson, Taylor-Sinclair (Hancock 90), Fordyce, Megwa, McMaster (G Gallagher 90), Telfer, Frizzell (O’Connor 65), McGill (Todorov 65), C Gallagher (Dunlop 65), McStravick.
Not used: McCabe, Cassidy, Spalding and Hutton.

Referee: Grant Irvine.
Attendance: 505
HT: 0-1

Photos: Bill McCandlish