Winning is a habit that all footballers love and Dylan Forrest is no different.
Stranraer have now gone three fixtures without enjoying three points and Forrest and his team-mates are desperate to get back out at Stair Park to change that.
Tomorrow (Saturday) and a home game against The Spartans presents a chance to do just that.
The midfielder said: “It just makes everything so much better when you are winning games.
“You feel better, the dressing room is a lot better and, of course, you are keeping the fans happy as well.
“We need to try to get back on track.
“It was all high at the start of the season and it has maybe taken a wee dip now.
“We just need to try to get a win, especially at home.
“We were disappointed with the way we lost to Forfar at home.
“We did not really put on any sort of show for the fans.
“Especially at home, we want to try to win games and pick up points away from home.
“You don’t want to be festering away for a couple of weeks and just dwelling on poor results.
“The best way to get over a result and try to make it up to the people you have let down is to get back out and play and try to put it right.”
Stranraer’s form before the international break had seen them pick up 11 points from a possible 15.
Since then, they have not added a solitary point to the total.
Despite that disappointment, the Blues remain just one point outside the play-off places.
Forrest, who is now in his second campaign with Stranraer, felt a good showing tomorrow would ensure it was a first quarter of the season that showed promise.
He said: “The gaffer spoke to us about the fact that after this game that is us played everybody.
“It is just the way the form has gone – if you maybe swapped it about a wee bit with a win here, then a defeat and then a draw, it maybe feels a wee bit better.
“It is just a wee bit downbeat just now because it is three on the trot.
“A win on Saturday, you put it all together, look back and reflect, then it is a very good start.”
The Capital club are one of those sides sitting above Stranraer in the table, although any kind of home win would change that.
Dougie Samuel’s side have enjoyed a promising first eight games in their debut campaign in League Two.
Forrest is no stranger to the newcomers having come up against them in the Lowland League.
He added: “They have always been one of the strongest teams in the Lowland League, similar to Bonnyrigg.
“They are a well run club and they have got very good players.
“They will have that buzz that Bonnyrigg had last year of coming up and they don’t fear anybody.”
Few would expect a repeat of the last time the two sides met.
On that occasion, Stranraer ran out comfortable winners with Darryl Duffy opening the scoring with a towering header.
The advantage was doubled through Ruari Paton, who finished Andy Stirling’s cross from a tight angle. Adam Cummins then made it three from inside the box to wrap up the first half scoring.
Substitute Matty Yates headed over the goalkeeper to make it four and the frontman got his second of the night with an easy tap-in from Stirling’s centre.
Stranraer: Fleming, Robertson, Cummins, Sonkur, Hamill, McManus, Millar, Stirling, Duffy (Yates 40), Orr (Hilton 64), Paton (Elliott 69).
Not used: Gallagher, Devitt, Victoria and Walker.
Spartans: Baines, Watson, Maxwell, Corbett, Russell, Woods (Dawson 79), Atkinson (Tait 73), Jones, McCrory-Irving, Brown, Meekison (Murrell 62).
Not used: Ellison.
- 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
- LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 3-1 (Armour)
- LOSS v Forfar Athletic (H): 2-0
- LOSS v Stenhousemuir (A): 5-0
- WIN v Peterhead (H): 2-1 (Orr and Fleming)
- WIN v Clyde (H): 1-0 (O McDonald)
- DRAW v Bonnyrigg Rose (H): 2-2 (Armstrong and Russell)
- DRAW v East Fife (H): 2-2 (Armstrong and Henderson)
- DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 2-2 (Allan and Henderson)
- LOSS v Stenhousemuir (H): 0-1
- WIN v Peterhead (A): 0-1 (Dishington)
Last time out
Lineup v Dumbarton: Budinauckas, Robertson, Williamson, Ross, McIntosh, Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, Strachan (Orr 61), Armour (Lang 61), Walker (Sneddon 56).
Not used: McDonald
Lineup v Bonnyrigg Rose: Herraghty, Watson, Waugh, Tapping (Denholm 62), Sonkur, Morrison (Brown 62), Armstrong, Craigen, Whyte, Henderson, Russell.
Not used: Jones, Brown, Mwangi, Newman, Sunderland and Weir.
1. On loan from Queen’s Park, The Spartans goalkeeper Jacques Herraghty made his league debut against Stranraer. The game, played at The Falkirk Stadium, came on Friday, April 23, 2021. Herraghty came off the bench after 25 minutes to replace Ryan Mullen. There would only be one goal and it came seven minutes later as Matty Yates scored. There was one more talking point and that was Joao Victoria being sent off in stoppage time as the Blues held on.
2. It is not quite three years since Stranraer and The Spartans last met. One man who was lining up for the Blues on that occasion but will be in the away dressing room tomorrow is Ayrton Sonkur.
3. Two years before Stranraer faced The Spartans for the first time, the Blues travelled to take on their namesakes from south of the border, Blyth Spartans. On that occasion, Frank McKeown nodded home Stephen Stirling’s free-kick and the midfielder then teed up Jamie Longworth. The hosts pulled one back through Chris Moore before Stranraer trialist Jamie Watson wrapped up the win.
4. Today (Friday) marks the 32nd birthday of former Stranraer full-back Sean Burns. Now with Pollok, he made 53 appearances for Stranraer and scored twice. Coincidentally, one of those goals came at the Ainslie Park home of The Spartans. The goal came in a 2-1 win over Edinburgh City. The visiting line-up that day was: Scullion, Burns, Sonkur, Ross, McIntosh, Brady, Gallagher, Watson (Walker 80), Woods (Hilton 85), Hawkshaw (Yates 80), Muir (Mullen 89). Not used: Robertson, Ellis, Smith and Baker.
5. The Spartans come into the game on the back of three 2-2 draws. It was a feat that Stranraer managed in the league last season as well. A 2-2 draw with Bonnyrigg Rose (an own goal and a Josh Walker effort) was followed by a 2-2 draw with Elgin City (Anton Brady and Craig Malcolm found the net). The final game in the trilogy of draws came against East Fife when Paul Woods and Luke Watt found the net.
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.
Photos: Bill McCandlish