L11 Arbroath W

STEVIE Farrell reckons it will take a good performance from every single member of his squad if they are to take something off Arbroath tomorrow (Saturday).

The league leaders make the trip to Stair Park having not tasted defeat in League One this season.

That included a 3-1 win at Gayfield, where the Blues matched their hosts for much of the contest before two late goals saw Arbroath emerge victorious.

The Stranraer boss feels his side have improved since then and was hopeful they could be celebrating come full time.

He said: “Teams that are top of the league are the most consistent teams over the course of the season.

“We are still in the last week of October and many teams sitting top then will not be there come May.

“Leagues can change very, very quickly.

“We have to ensure we continue with the level of performance of the last three games.

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“We are playing well with good individual and collective performances.

“It is going to take 11, 12, 13, 14 individual performances but collectively as well.

“We have shown the level of performance in the last three weeks and we can cause them one or two problems.”

The Blues will be without the front duo of Cameron Elliott and Isaac Layne.

Nineteen-year-old Elliott has joined Kilbirnie Ladeside on loan until January while Layne’s troublesome knee injury has again forced him onto the sidelines.

Farrell said: “With Cammy, we just felt we could not guarantee him enough game time.

“He was coming off the bench now and then and he wanted to get 90 minutes.

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“We felt the best way to do it was him to go out on loan.

“He has gone to the top league in Junior football and will, hopefully, get 90 minutes and come back to us in January feeling better.

“Everyone else is available for tomorrow, except for Isaac, who needs a scan on his knee.

“We have tried and tried to get him back but it is causing him problems.

“I don’t know how long he will be out but it has been causing him problems from the beginning of the season.

“No matter how much we tried to rest him and bring him back, it flared up.”

The changes in the squad over the summer have been well-documented and, at the beginning of the campaign, the manager said things would take time to come together.

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Now, he feels things are heading in the right direction, something which, obviously, pleases him.

He said: “I think I am seeing signs of improvement.

“I think the team is probably a wee bit ahead of where I thought they would be with so many new starts and youngsters.

“The level of performance recently has been really, really good and the level of our play has been excellent.

“We will get our rewards if we keep playing like that this season.”

Those comments come on the back of a point at Brechin, win over Dumbarton and a narrow defeat to Raith Rovers.

The Blues could not find a way through a stubborn ten-man Kirkcaldy side, who held out for all three points.

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Despite defeat, Farrell was pleased with how his team played and said: “Even Raith fans would have said we were the better side with 11 men.

“I like to think I’m honest when I give my assessment and I am the first to say when we are well beaten but last Saturday was excellent and I was proud of the players.

“Some of the play was a joy to watch and we deserved more from the game but that is how football treats you sometimes.”

Last meeting
Arbroath 3-1 Stranraer
11 August 2018

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LATE strikes from Michael McKenna and Ryan Wallace gave Arbroath all three points in the first encounter of the season.

Ricky Little opened the scoring with just ten minutes on the clock when he got up to head home Wallace’s corner.

However, the Blues would pull level in stunning fashion. Luke Donnelly picked up the ball in the middle of the field and strutted past a number of defenders before rounding the goalkeeper to roll the ball home.

Max Currie was in impressive form to keep the scores level but with just over ten minutes left it was Arbroath who got the decisive goal. Andrew McDonald’s mistake was punished by McKenna and, then, Wallace swept home just a couple of minutes from time to wrap up the win.

Arbroath: Jamieson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Gold (Thomson 61), Whatley, Kader (Denholm 67), McKenna, Wallace, Swankie (Graham 82), Linn.
Not used: McCord, Hester and Hill.

Stranraer: Currie, McGowan, McDonald, D Smith, Hamill (Lamont 79), Cummins, McManus (Ashmore 82), Turner, Donnelly, Anderson, I Smith (Elliott 70).
Not used: Brownlie, Lidington, Layne and Avci.
 
Last five meetings

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Arbroath 3 Stranraer 1 (Little, McKenna and Wallace; Donnelly) at Gayfield Park on August 11, 2018
Arbroath 2 Stranraer 3 (Kader and Swankie; Okoh, Anderson and Agnew (P)) at Gayfield Park on March 24, 2018
Stranraer 1 Arbroath 4 (MacPherson; Wallace (Px2), McKenna and Denholm) at Stair Park on February 20, 2018
Arbroath 1 Stranraer 2 (McCord; Turner and Beith) at Gayfield Park on December 2, 2017
Stranraer 2 Arbroath 6 (Thomson and Agnew; O’Brien, Denholm x2 and McCord x3 (Px1)) at Stair Park on September 23, 2017

Last five games

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Stranraer

LOSS v RAITH (A): 2-1 (Donnelly)
WIN v Dumbarton (H): 3-2 (Anderson, Brownlie and Crossan)
DRAW v Brechin (A): 1-1 (Donnelly)
LOSS v East Fife (H): 0-2
WIN v Stenhousemuir (H): 2-0 (Turner and Cameron)

Arbroath

WIN v Dumbarton (H): 3-1 (Wallace, Doris and Swankie)
LOSS v Edinburgh City (H): 1-4 (McKenna)
DRAW v Raith Rovers (A): 1-1 (Linn)
WIN v Airdrieonians (H): 3-1 (Swankie, Hamilton and Wallace)
WIN v Stenhousemuir (A): 1-2 (Wallace (P) and McCord)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Raith Rovers: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, D Smith (Lamont 65), Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner (Cameron 84), Donnelly, Anderson (Layne 72), Crossan.
Not used: Higgins, I Smith, Diver and Avci.

Arbroath lineup v Dumbarton: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Whatley, McKenna (Doris 73), Swankie, Linn (Denholm 72), Smith (Kader 80), Wallace.
Not used: Gold, McCord, Graham and Hill.

Referee

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GRANT IRVINE took charge of two games at Stair Park last season.

Unfortunately, Stranraer scored three and conceded 11 over those two matches. That included a 6-2 defeat to Arbroath but the last match was on January 2, with Ayr United running out 5-1 winners.

Lawrence Shankland and Alan Forrest scored doubles, with Michael Moffat also finding the net before Kyle Turner’s consolation.

Mr Irvine took charge of four Arbroath games last season, most recently in March with a trip to Cliftonhill.

That saw the hosts open the scoring through Sean Higgins but they were pegged back by former Stranraer man Ryan Wallace. A valuable point looked to be staying in Coatbridge but Colin Hamilton popped up with the winner one minute from full time.
 
Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Good news for home and away fans - the Pavilion Bar is open once again at Stair Park.

The bar is located by the away turnstiles and provides a warm welcome for all supporrters.

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SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 13 33
2 Raith Rovers 13 23
3 East Fife 13 22
4 Forfar Athletic 13 18
5 Brechin City 13 16
6 Airdrieonians 13 16
7 Stranraer 13 15
8 Dumbarton 13
14
9 Montrose 13 14
10 Stenhousemuir 13 12


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)