L24 Arbroath W

IN A WEEK of poor weather, Stevie Farrell is hoping lightning can once again strike and give Stranraer all three points at Gayfield.

Arbroath sit top of the table and 13 points clear of their nearest challengers as they attempt to return to the second tier of Scottish football for the first time in several years.

Part of the reason for their dominance in League One this season has been their strong home form.

However, Stranraer have a better record than most visitors to Arbroath in recent years.

Farrell said: “We’ve done it (won) three times in the last four games there.

“We know we can go there and cause problems.

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“They have only been beaten at Gayfield four times this season and only twice in the league.

“It is a phenomenal record and they sit top of the table on merit.

“It is theirs to throw away and I don’t suspect Dick Campbell will allow them to do that.

“It is going to be a difficult afternoon but we have gone there and caused them problems in the past.

“In the Scottish Cup, just before Christmas, we caused an upset on the day and know if we can play and compete we can cause an upset tomorrow.”

The Blues will have to do it without a trio of players though.

Farrell’s squad will be stretched to the limit and he said: “Chris McGowan trained all week but his knee flared up today (Friday).

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“The physio is just off the phone with me to say he is out.

“Ian Smith is still injured and PJ Crossan was injured playing for Celtic on Tuesday against Sunderland.

“We are down to minimum numbers.”

The one positive is that Adam Cummins is fully fit after the defender had been a doubt for last Saturday’s match with Stenhousemuir, which was postponed.

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That tie was rearranged for Tuesday night but again fell victim to the weather.

Farrell said: “It has been a long couple of weeks.

“To have two games postponed in that time has been frustrating and, hopefully, depending on the weather tonight and tomorrow, we will be back to it.”

Tuesday night meant players finishing work early and getting ready to head down the A77 on the team bus.

The bus waited to hear the result of the 4pm pitch inspection, with the game then called off.

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It meant the unusual situation of the players not having the expected game, heading home and then returning for training.

Farrell also took the time to congratulate Stranraer Reserves for their stunning form this season.

The South of Scotland team sit top of the table with a flawless record of 16 wins from 16 games.

He said: “It is a brilliant achievement.

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“It is great and we have had young Ally McColm training with us the last three or four weeks.

“He picked up a knock in the game during the week but he is one that Gary McCutcheon and Allan Jenkins think highly of.

“He has been training with the first team squad and the reserves’ achievement is great no matter what league you are in.

“Long may it continue.”

Last meeting
Arbroath 0-1 Stranraer
24 November 2018

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ONLY four teams have won at Gayfield this season – and Stranraer are one of them.

The Blues cut short Arbroath’s Scottish Cup journey with a 1-0 win in November.

Ian Smith scored his first goal for the club as Stevie Farrell’s men sprang the surprise. The scores were blank with under 15 minutes left but Smith got on the end of Mark Lamont’s cross to beat Darren Jamieson.

Arbroath pushed for a leveller but Max Ashmore very nearly put the game beyond doubt, only to fire wide.

Arbroath: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Gold, Denholm (Kader 68), McCord (Whatley 68), McKenna, Wallace (Doris 68), Linn.
Not used: Swankie and Hill.

Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, D Smith (Lamont 59), Hamill, Cummins, McManus (Ashmore 82), Turner, Donnelly, I Smith, Crossan (Diver 89).
Not used: McGowan and Avci.
 
Last five meetings

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Arbroath 0 Stranraer 1 (I Smith) at Gayfield Park on November 24, 2018
Stranraer 0 Arbroath 1 (Own Goal) at Stair Park on October 27, 2018
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 (Pen)) at Gayfield Park on March 24, 2018
Stranraer 1 Arbroath 4 (MacPherson; Wallace (Pen x2), McKenna and Denholm) at Stair Park on February 20, 2018

Last five games

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Stranraer

LOSS v East Fife (H): 3-4 (Anderson, Cameron and Victoria)
LOSS v Partick Thistle (A): 4-1 (Crossan)
LOSS v Forfar Athletic (A): 2-1 (Cameron)
LOSS v Montrose (H): 1-2 (Cameron)
LOSS v Airdrie (A): 3-0

Arbroath

LOSS v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-2
WIN v Stenhousemuir (A): 1-4 (Linn x2 and Wallace x2)
WIN v Brechin City (H): 1-0 (McCord)
DRAW v Montrose (A): 1-1 (O’Brien)
LOSS v Raith Rovers (H): 0-2

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v East Fife: Currie, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus (Elliott 83), Turner, Anderson, Cameron, Victoria, Crossan (O’Keefe 78).
Not used: McGowan, McDonald and Avci.

Arbroath lineup v Forfar Athletic: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Gold, Denholm (McKenna 56), Donnelly (Doris 74), Wallace (Spence 73), Swankie, Linn.
Not used: Kader, McCord, Whatley and Hill.

Referee

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CRAIG Napier has already taken charge of two Stranraer games this term, including a 2-0 win over Stenhousemuir in September.

The month before that, he was taking charge of Stranraer’s 3-1 defeat to Arbroath at Gayfield. Luke Donnelly, then of Stranraer and now of Arbroath, cancelled out Ricky Little’s opener. Those were the only goals until 13 minutes from time when Michael McKenna scored and ex-Stranraer man, Ryan Wallace, wrapped up the win four minutes later.

Mr Napier has taken charge of one Arbroath match since then. That came in October when Dick Campbell’s men travelled to Raith Rovers. Bobby Linn scored with 11 minutes left but Kevin Nisbet equalised three minutes from time.
 
Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

Joao Victoria is now available to sponsor in home, away or 3rd colours - along with a limited number of the existing squad.

Sponsor now

victoria w

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 33 68
2 Raith Rovers 33 55
3 Forfar Athletic 33 54
4 Montrose 33 47
5 East Fife 33 45
6 Airdrieonians 33 42
7 Dumbarton 33 39
8 Stranraer 33 39
9 Brechin City 33 35
10 Stenhousemuir 33 35


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
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 - Joao Victoria (STR)
10 - Ali McCann (MID)

11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
24 - Conor O'Keefe (MID)