L08 Brechin W

STRANRAER boss Stevie Farrell has urged his side to turn their chances into goals.

The Blues have been inconsistent so far this term and find themselves, like just about everyone else in League One with the exception of Arbroath, locked in a battle to escape the pack.

Just four points separate Airdrieonians in third and Stenhousemuir in tenth, with Stranraer locked in the middle.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Brechin, the manager said: “I think that is going to be the story of the league for much of the season.

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“It is such a tight league this year and I think somebody said to me that it is the tightest league in Scotland.

“That tells you where things are and is probably a good snapshot of how the division is going to be.

“There is not much between teams home or away and the first goal is going to be crucial.

“Last week, maybe that was my only criticism.

“We need to score when we are on top in games.

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“When we have won games, we have scored when we are on top.

“Games we have lost, we have started better than the opposition and failed to score.”

The Blues have scored just six goals in the league this season, only one better than lowest scorers Montrose and Stenhousemuir and just a third of that managed by league leaders Arbroath.

Farrell has moved to strengthen his attacking options with the addition of PJ Crossan.

The teenage frontman knows all about League One having spent much of last season on loan at Alloa Athletic.

PJ1

Farrell said the paperwork was being finalised to see him join from Celtic ahead of the trip to Glebe Park.

He said: “PJ is somebody I wanted to sign at the start of the season.

“He was one of the first players that myself and Stuart Millar went after but at that time he was not available and was remaining at Celtic.

“He only became available in the last day or two and Stuart’s relationship with Celtic helped the deal.”

Crossan will be joined in the squad by Andy McDonald, who is back after a two-match ban, but Mark Lamont is still sidelined by injury.

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Farrell was pleased to strengthen his squad, with 21 players to choose from.

The manager again stressed each player had a role to play and said: “It is a long season and everybody is looking over their shoulder.

“There is good competition for places.”

The Blues will need to be at their best tomorrow when they face a Brechin side unbeaten in their last four games.

There are also a number of familiar faces, with Giuliano Morena, Conor Brennan and Dene Shields all ex-Blues in Darren Dods' squad.

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Last meeting
Brechin City 0-0 Stranraer
Saturday 22 April 2017

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IT WOULD be fair to say Stranraer have not had the best of times at Glebe Park recently.

The last four visits have brought a grand total of zero goals. Positively, the last visit at least brought a point, with the previous three visits resulting in defeats.

Stevie Farrell’s men came into the game on the back of victory over Airdrie, with Ryan Thomson and Steven Bell on the bench. Craig Malcolm started in midfield, with Mark McGuigan up front.

It was a first half of few chances with things brightening up after the break. That included chances for Brechin, with Cameron Belford making a magnificent save from Andy Jackson.

At the other end, Scott Agnew, Morgyn Neill and Malcolm all came close but ultimately it would finish goalless.

So, you need to go back to May 2015 for the last time Stranraer celebrated a goal in Brechin. That was thanks to Stephen Stirling and two penalties from Willie Gibson, which helped Stranraer to a 3-1 win.

Brechin City: P O’Neil, McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Lynas, Dale, Trouten, Graham, Jackson, Watt, Love.
Not used: Ford, C O’Neil, Dods and Caldwell.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Pettigrew (Wilson 77), Agnew, Turner (Thomson 60), Gibson, Malcolm, McGuigan (Kassarate 68).
Not used: Bell, Donald, Kemp and Currie.
 
Last five meetings

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Brechin City 0 Stranraer 0 at Glebe Park on April 22, 2017
Stranraer 2 Brechin City 0 (Gibson and Malcolm) at Stair Park on February 25, 2017
Brechin City 2 Stranraer 0 (Love and McLennan) at Glebe Park on December 17, 2016
Stranraer 0 Brechin City 1 (Jackson) at Stair Park on October 1, 2016
Brechin City 1 Stranraer 0 (Robson) at Glebe Park on April 23, 2016

Last five games

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Stranraer

LOSS v East Fife (H): 0-2
WIN v Stenhousemuir (H): 2-0 (Turner and Cameron)
LOSS v Airdrieonians (A): 2-0
WIN v Montrose (H): 2-0 (Brownlie and Anderson)
DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 0-0

Brechin City

DRAW v Forfar Athletic (A): 1-1 (Hendry)
DRAW v Raith Rovers (H): 1-1 (Melingui)
DRAW v Arbroath (A): 2-2 (Jackson x2)
WIN v Dumbarton (H): 3-2 (Melingui x2 and C Tapping)
LOSS v Montrose (A): 2-1 (Melingui)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v East Fife: Currie, McGowan, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, Anderson (Elliott 70), Layne (Diver 61), Donnelly (Cameron 61).
Not used: Higgins, I Smith, Ashmore and Avci.

Brechin City lineup v Forfar Athletic: Brennan, McGeever, Spark, Smith, Burns, Orsi, Tapping, Sinclair (Lynas 72), Morena (Melingui 85), Jackson, Hendry.
Not used: McLean, J Tapping, O’Neil and Dailly.

Referee

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STRANRAER fans don’t need to cast their mind back too far for the last time John McKendrick took charge of a match involving the Blues.

The referee was at Station Park when Stranraer travelled to Forfar last month for a 0-0 draw. Isaac Layne was involved in that game for Stranraer and he was also playing when Mr McKendrick took charge of a Brechin game last term.

Dunfermline Athletic ran out 4-0 winners on that occasion with Lee Ashcroft, Fraser Aird, Andy Ryan and Kallum Higginbotham all on the scoresheet.

The whistler visited Glebe Park in January, when Brechin picked up a point against Morton, with Connor McLennan on target.
 
Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Our next home game sees former Blues manager Stevie Aitken bring his Dumbarton side to Stair Park.

The league clash takes place on Saturday 6 October with a 3pm kickoff:

L09 Dumbarton W

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 9 21
2 Raith Rovers 9 17
3 East Fife 9 16
4 Brechin City 9 13
5 Stranraer 9 12
6 Airdrieonians 9 10
7 Stenhousemuir 9 9
8 Forfar Athletic 9
9
9 Dumbarton 9 8
10 Montrose 9 8


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
9 - Isaac Layne (STR)

10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)