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Stranraer have been urged to build on a memorable win to try to mount a late charge up the table.

A 2-0 victory over Clyde last weekend means the Blues are closer to the promotion play-offs than the bottom of the standings.

Scott Agnew’s side have 13 games to try to eat into the 10-point advantage held by Dumbarton, who occupy fourth spot.

Matty Grant acknowledged it would not be easy but was keen for his team to put together a strong end to the campaign.

He said: “I think, obviously, last year we won maybe two or three games in a row and that was about it.

“Obviously, this year has been similar.

“You never know, we might end up going on a really good streak just now.

“There are other teams in the league that have done it.

“Dumbarton did it last year and Stenhousemuir obviously won 12 or 13 in a row this season.

“There is no reason why that should not happen for us.”

Standing in their way tomorrow (Saturday) are The Spartans who have enjoyed a memorable debut season in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

It was thumbs up all round for Stranraer last Saturday

Ten wins, including two over Stranraer, has them sitting in third spot and only three points adrift of Peterhead in second.

Grant missed the 4-3 victory for the capital side at Stair Park in October as he continued to work his way back to fitness.

However, he was part of the team that went down 3-0 at Ainslie Park two days before Christmas.

The 22-year-old midfielder felt he was getting back to his best after that lengthy lay-off.

He said: “I think I missed about 12 or 13 games, which is obviously quite a lot, especially from the start of the season.

“I think since I came back, obviously, getting back fully fit was my main target.

“I now feel comfortable playing 90 minutes whereas there were maybe a couple of games where I would tire out at 60 or 70 minutes.

“I think I have played relatively well since coming back and I think I have had an impact in the games.

“Obviously, you are not going to play well in every single game so it is all about how you help out the boys and help out the team.”

Grant played a key role in last weekend’s victory with his usual energetic display.

Grant is calling for the Blues to build on their special win last weekend

He also played the ball through for Kyle Fleming to open the scoring but it was another team-mate who was making the headlines.

Finn Ecrepont’s 65-yard lob over a stranded Neil Parry has been attracting coverage from up and down the country.

Grant said: “It’s not something he is trying every week in training!

“It is just one of those where he has looked up, saw the goalkeeper and just went for it.

“I don’t think a lot people would try that, especially from their own half, so fair play to Finn!

“I certainly wouldn’t!

“I’ve actually started to run through because I thought he was going to kick it into the corner.

“I’ve started running up the park, I’ve seen him kick it and as soon as it has bounced I could not believe it.

“You are just watching it go in.”

Last meeting

Spartans made it two wins out of two against Stranraer shortly before Christmas.

The visitors to Ainslie Park had given as good as they got in the first half but found themselves a goal down at the break. A well-crafted attack saw the ball passed along the six-yard box and Danny Denholm was lurking to slide home.

Kyle Girvan was withdrawn at half time through injury and Spartans would go on to secure all three points. Stranraer failed to clear a free-kick on the left and when the ball was played back in Ayrton Sonkur was on hand to poke home.

The final goal came as the unlucky Craig Ross could only divert a corner into his own net.

Spartans: Heraghty, Waugh, Tapping, Sonkur, Dishington (A Brown 84), Russell, Denholm (Newman 68), Armstrong (Jones 73), Craigen, Whyte, Henderson (S Brown 85).
Not used: Watson, Ndlovu and Carswell.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Williamson, Girvan (Orr 46), Ross, Robertson, Dolan, Hawkshaw, Forrest, Fleming, Grant, Lang (McDonald 76).
Not used: Walker, Strachan and Downie.

All meetings

  • 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) Stair Park on October 7, 2023
  • Stranraer 5 Spartans 0 (Duffy, Paton, Cummins and Yates x2) at Stair Park 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

Stranraer have been difficult to beat at Stair Park in recent weeks

Stranraer

  • WIN v Clyde (H): 2-0 (Fleming and Ecrepont)
  • DRAW v Bonnyrigg Rose (A): 0-0
  • LOSS v East Fife (H): 0-1
  • LOSS v Stenhousemuir (A): 1-0
  • WIN v Peterhead (H): 2-0 (Johnston and Orr)

Spartans

  • DRAW v Dumbarton (A): 0-0
  • LOSS v Elgin City (H): 1-2 (Henderson)
  • LOSS v Forfar Athletic (A): 1-0
  • WIN v East Fife (A): 0-3 (Henderson x3)
  • DRAW v Clyde (H): 1-1 (Armstrong)

Last time out

Deryn Lang was instrumental in the Blues’ opening goal after coming off the bench

Stranraer

Lineup v Clyde: Budinauckas, Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont, Robertson, Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, Grant, Orr (Lang 64).
Not used: Williamson, Johnston, Armour, Gilmartin and Downie.

Spartans

Lineup v Dumbarton: McCready, Watson, Waugh (Booth 80), Sonkur, Watson, Dishington, Jones (Thompson 63), Newman, Armstrong (Laing 89), Henderson, Russell.
Not used: Denholm, Craigen, Whyte, Brown and Meek.

Five facts

Stranraer-born defender Callum Booth could make his first Stair Park appearance for Spartans

1. Former Stranraer man Gerry Doyle turns 60 tomorrow (Saturday). The midfielder played the majority of his senior games at Partick Thistle before moving on to Alloa Athletic. He then made the switch to Stair Park for a season in 1986 before moving on to Dumbarton.

2. Stranraer will be aiming for back-to-back league wins for the first time since August/September. The Blues defeated Clyde 1-0 through an Olly McDonald goal before then beating Peterhead 2-1 as Tom Orr and Kyle Fleming found the net.

3. Finn Ecrepont’s stoppage time goal against Clyde was the first time Stranraer had scored in stoppage time since… Olly McDonald’s goal against the same opposition.

4. Stranraer have a 100 per cent record against Spartans in cup contests while the Edinburgh club have a 100 per cent record in league games.

5. If selected, Stranraer-born Spartans full-back Callum Booth will play at Stair Park for the first time. The 32-year-old has played more than 350 career games but has only come up against the Blues once. That was at Firhill Stadium when Partick Thistle won 1-0 thanks to a late Christie Elliott strike. The visiting team that day in July 2017 was: Currie, Dick, Barron, Neill, Bell, Hamill, Robertson, Anderson (Woods 61), Okoh (Agnew 74), Turner (Stoney 73), Thomson. Not used: McGowan, Simpson, Holland and McLaren.

Admission

Admission at Stair Park is on a ‘pay at the gate’ basis, with pricing as follows:

  • Adult – £15
  • Concession – £10
  • 5 to 16 Years Old – £5
  • Under 5 – FREE

Stranraer FC merchandise is available, and the Pavilion Bar at the ground is open from 1pm for pre and post-match refreshments.

Coverage

Supporters can now access more coverage and content than ever via our Club 1870 subscription service

If you can’t make it to Stair Park, you can follow live matchday updates on X (formerly Twitter) throughout the afternoon.

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

Extended highlights will follow on Sunday morning, with full match footage available via Club 1870 on Sunday afternoon.

Photos: Bill McCandlish