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Stranraer 3-4 The Spartans

Scorers: Stranraer – Orr (25), Dolan (66) and Lang (70); The Spartans – Craigen (38), Armstrong (45+1), Tapping (56) and Henderson (75)

Blair Henderson settled a seven-goal thriller at Stair Park as Stranraer’s winless run was extended.

The Blues came into the game hoping to bounce back from an unwanted hat-trick of defeats.

Tom Orr and Blair Sneddon came into the side but it was the visitors who had the first real chances of the game.

Lewis Budinauckas, making his home debut, got down well to keep out a Cammy Russell effort on 12 minutes before the Blues survived a real warning three minutes later.

James Craigen was given too much room outside the box and his low shot flew along the wet turf but came back off of the right post.

Despite those two opportunities, it was the hosts who took the lead.

Thomas Orr scored the opener for Stranraer

James Dolan teased the defender before getting a yard of space to fire a low ball across goal and Orr was waiting to slide home from close range.

It was a goal which allowed the home side to step up a gear and they could have put the game to bed before the break.

First, Dylan Forrest curled a shot wide and then the Blues were inches away from an impressive second.

Dolan and Orr exchanged passes and it was the former Ayr man who sidefooted a shot beyond Jacques Heraghty in the home goal but, unfortunately, his aim was slightly off and it went past the post.

Sneddon was then denied a goal on his home debut by a last ditch tackle from Jordan Tapping as Stranraer threatened to pull away.

Blair Sneddon came close to doubling the Blues’ lead

Before that could become a reality, the visitors pulled level through Craigen’s dipping free-kick from 20 yards.

Things then went from bad to worse as the capital club got their noses in front on the stroke of half time.

Stranraer were caught up field and Russell slotted the ball through to Rhys Armstrong, who coolly fired under Budinauckas.

The momentum was with the visitors and that continued after the break as Tapping bundled home Armstrong’s corner from close range.

It could have been game over on 65 minutes but Danny Denholm was denied by the post and the Blues immediately made them pay.

An audacious effort from James Dolan soared over the goalkeeper’s head

Only Dolan will know if it was a cross or a shot but whatever the intention the result was the same: the looping effort deceived Heraghty and nestled in the top corner of the net.

Four minutes later and it was all level once again as substitute Deryn Lang raced onto Kyle Fleming’s through ball and kept his cool to slide the shot under the advancing goalkeeper.

Unfortunately, there would be one last twist in the tale as Spartans got back in front and saw the game out.

Sneddon’s attempted clearance bounced off Bradley Whyte and he picked out Henderson in the box, with the striker making no mistake.

Deryn Lang levelled the scoring, but there was a final twist in the tale

Stranraer forced a number of corners in the final five minutes in a bid to find an unlikely leveller but the closest they came was a fierce drive by substitute Oliver McDonald, which the goalkeeper palmed to safety.

Disappointment in losing four goals and the game but Scott Agnew can take heart from the battling qualities his team showed to get back into the match.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson, Williamson (Lang 58), Ross, Armour, Orr, Dolan (O McDonald 80), Forrest, Fleming, Sneddon, McIntosh.
Not used: Walker, Agnew, Strachan and M McDonald.

The Spartans: Heraghty, Watson (Allan 59), Waugh, Tapping (Morrison 68), Henderson, Russell, Denholm (Dishington 68), Sonkur, Armstrong (Jones 90), Craigen, Whyte.
Not used: Brown, Newman and Meek.

Referee: Jordan Curran
Attendance: 353
HT: 1-2

Photos: Bill McCandlish