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Stranraer 1-2 Elgin City

Scorers: Stranraer – Own goal (79); Elgin City – Ewan (53) and Jeffreys (64)

Stranraer’s bid to ease any relegation nerves suffered a setback as Elgin City took all three points at rain-soaked Stair Park.

The Blues were forced to play the entire second half with 10 men when Dylan Forrest was sent off in first stoppage time.

Goals from Connall Ewan and Freddy Jeffreys ensured it was the long-travelled visitors who were toasting three much-needed points in their own bid to pull away from bottom spot.

Scott Agnew made one change from the team that had lost out at Peterhead as James Dolan replaced Matty Grant in the starting line-up.

A heavy downpour ensured free-flowing football was going to be difficult and the first 45 minutes presented little in the way of goalmouth action.

There were two main talking points: a possible penalty for Elgin and the dismissal of Forrest.

Dylan Forrest saw red in controversial circumstances

The first incident saw Dayshonne Golding cut the ball back to the onrushing Russell Dingwall, who was sent tumbling in the box under Kyle Girvan’s challenge.

Referee Duncan Williams was not impressed and felt the tackle was perfectly fair.

Then, in first half stoppage time, it was Stranraer left questioning the referee.

Forrest appeared to win the ball when challenging Michael Dangana but received a yellow card from the official.

The Stranraer man disputed the call and slammed the ball down in frustration, which resulted in Mr Williams producing a second yellow card and bringing Forrest’s afternoon to a premature end.

It was clearly going to be a challenging second 45 minutes for Stranraer on a heavy pitch.

Their bid to take something from the game suffered a setback eight minutes after the restart.

Lewis Budinauckas did well to turn Dingwall’s shot round the post but the save only denied the opening goal by a matter of seconds.

Dingwall’s first delivery was headed back out of the box but the Elgin man played it back in.

Stranraer could not get the ball clear and Ewan managed to poke the ball over the line from inside the six-yard box.

Elgin’s advantage was doubled just after the hour mark when the ball rolled under Girvan’s foot.

Deryn Lang was a nuisance for 10-man Stranraer in the closing stages

Jeffreys was quickest onto the loose ball and got a shot away, across Budinauckas and into the bottom corner of the net.

To Stranraer’s credit, they tried to make a game of it in the closing stages.

Agnew had thrown on Grant and Deryn Lang, who were joined by more attacking options in Tom Orr and Aiden Gilmartin, while Grant Gallagher made his 300th appearance for the club.

Orr would be at the heart of some key moments over the remaining 20 minutes.

First, he dodged a challenge near the halfway line and sprinted half the pitch before forcing Thomas McHale into a save.

The resultant corner saw Stranraer get on the scoresheet as Mark Gallagher could only divert Grant’s corner into his own net.

Thomas Orr saw a convincing penalty appeal turned down

Orr then forced McHale into another save with a fierce drive from 25 yards before one last twist in the tale.

Orr attempted to cut inside Ross Draper but was sent crashing to the muddy turf.

Many in Stair Park were confident it was a penalty but the man in the middle felt otherwise and waved play on.

In the end, Elgin held out for the remaining few minutes and stretched their advantage over Stranraer, Bonnyrigg Rose and Clyde at the bottom of the table.

The Blues head to East Fife next weekend, looking for three points in their bid to ease nerves.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Ross, McQueen, Girvan, Ecrepont (Orr 70), Robertson, Forrest, Johnston (Grant 54), Fleming (G Gallagher 63), Dolan (Gilmartin 70), Armour (Lang 54).
Not used: Williamson, Miller, McIntosh and Downie.

Elgin City: McHale, Draper, Dolzanski, Ewan, Booth, Dingwall, M Gallagher, Cameron, Jeffreys (Cairns 85), Golding (Jones 69), Dangana (Bray 46).
Not used: Cooper, Jamieson, Kelly and MacLeman.

Referee: Duncan Williams
Attendance: 273
HT: 0-0

Photos: Bill McCandlish