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Stranraer 0-1 East Fife

  • Post published:27 January 2024

Scorer: Austin (17)

A first half strike from Nathan Austin saw East Fife pick up all three points in a scrappy match at Stair Park.

Stranraer were looking to build on some impressive recent home form and welcomed an East Fife team directly above them in the League Two table.

Scott Agnew named the same starting XI that had been edged out at Ochilview a week earlier while East Fife made one change as Brian Easton came in while Jonathan Page dropped to the bench.

Both teams had chances to open the scoring in the early stages of the game.

A back-pedalling Lewis Budinauckas did well to claw Jack Healy’s cross to safety from under his own crossbar after just two minutes.

The ball dropped kindly to Scott Shepherd but the goalkeeper got out quickly to block from close range.

Four minutes later and it was only the woodwork that prevented the opening goal.

Craig Ross rose highest to get on the end of Chris Johnston’s corner but he could only direct his header onto the upright and it bounced to safety.

The only goal of the game would come on 17 minutes.

Austin raced onto a long ball over the top, held off his marker Kyle Girvan and then rounded Budinauckas.

The striker still had plenty to do but managed to squeeze the ball home, despite the efforts of retreating defenders.

Stranraer flashed a couple of balls across the box and forced a number of corners but all too often Allan Fleming was not worked.

That continued into the second half when Stranraer were presented with a glorious chance to level the score.

Tom Orr had scored less than a minute after the restart at the last home game and the chance was presented to the same man.

He capitalised on Easton’s slip to run through with only Fleming to beat from the edge of the box.

Orr went with the outside of his foot and the ball flew wide of the target.

It was a scrappy second half that was largely devoid of anything resembling a clear cut chance.

The only other real opportunity would fall to the visitors and Brogan Walls.

The home defence backed off the midfielder, who ran into the empty space and into the box before Budinauckas made a vital block.

Stranraer fans would have been hoping for one clear cut chance and the opportunity to test Fleming in the visiting goal.

Unfortunately, it never really materialised as the East Fife defence dealt with the bulk of Stranraer’s possession and kept their goalkeeper untested.

The Blues now face a trip to New Dundas Park and the chance to pick up their first win at Bonnyrigg Rose.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson, Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Orr, Dolan, Forrest, Ecrepont (Gilmartin 71), Johnston (Hawkshaw 61), Grant.
Not used: Williamson, K Fleming and Downie.

East Fife: A Fleming, Newton, McManus, Easton, Millar (Docherty 71), Murdoch, Healy, Shepherd (Schiavone 80), Walls (Murray 90), Austin, Trouten.
Not used: Nicol, Page, Cunningham and Beveridge.

Referee: Andy Gamble
Attendance: 370
HT: 0-1