Brechin 25 Feb 2017 035Scorers: Gibson (22) and Malcolm (78)

CRAIG Malcolm's second half header ensured Stranraer made it five games unbeaten and moved to within a point of safety.

Brechin had picked up maximum points in the two encounters so far this season, including a 1-0 win at Stair Park at the beginning of October.

But Stranraer are a much different outfit compared to four months ago, with Stevie Farrell's men looking increasingly resilient and hard to break down.

The manager was forced into one change with Craig Pettigrew, who limped off in the final ten minutes of last weekend's pulsating 3-3 draw with Peterhead, only fit enough for the bench.

That meant a recall for Morgyn Neill at the heart of the defence, with Scott Robertson moving across to right back.

Brechin 25 Feb 2017 013Dougie Hill had the ball in the net in the opening five minutes but the header was ruled out for climbing in the box.

It was an early warning for Stranraer that they had to be at their best but it was a game where the hosts struggled to find any real rhythm in the opening stages.

That was until the midway point of the first half when Willie Gibson, who scored twice seven days ago, opened the scoring.
Brechin 25 Feb 2017 015
There seemed little on for the midfielder but his shot from fully 30 yards took a deflection, which left Graeme Smith flat footed and helpless.

Moments later and the Blues could have doubled their lead when Robertson could only blaze over at full stretch after a Gibson cross.

Brechin were always going to come out and try to find a leveller after the break and they created their best chance of the game five minutes after the restart.

Ally Love did well to bring down a deep cross from the right and his volley was well saved by Cameron Belford, who then spread himself superbly to deny Andy Jackson on the rebound from barely a few yards out.

Increasingly, Stranraer were coping with whatever Brechin threw at them and the key moment came with 13 minutes left.
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Gibson turned provider and his whipped in free-kick was inch perfect for Malcolm to head home his 100th goal for the club.

The striker is now part of a very select group having reached treble digits for the Blues.
Brechin 25 Feb 2017 022
The game was slipping away from Brechin and things could have got even better for Stranraer in stoppage time.

Kyle Turner fed the ball through to fellow sub Amadou Kassarate and it took a good save from Smith to deny the striker his first goal for the club.

All in all, it is five games unbeaten for Stranraer and the prospect of safety is now within touching distance.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Bell, Thomson, Agnew, Donald (Turner 67), Gibson (McGuigan 86), Malcolm (Kassarate 80).
Not used: Wilson, Kemp, Pettigrew and Currie.

Brechin City: Smith, McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Hill, C O'Neil (Lynas 85), Graham, Dale (Rodger 73), Jackson, Watt, Love.
Not used: Caldwell, McCormack, Ford, Dods and P O'Neil.

Referee: Steven Reid
Attendance: 340
HT: 1-0
Brechin 25 Feb 2017 034

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 16 42
2 Raith Rovers 16 29
3 East Fife 16 23
4 Montrose 16 21
5 Forfar Athletic 16 21
6 Airdrieonians 16 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 16
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 16 15


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)
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)