albion 20180127 beith 1

Scorers: Albion Rovers - Reid (52); Stranraer - Beith (8, 89) and Robertson (74)

ON-LOAN Tynecastle ace Angus Beith won hearts again as Stranraer ultimately overcame a spirited Albion Rovers comeback at a decidedly gusty Cliftonhill.

The wind made conditions almost unplayable for both sides at times, but in the end it was a deserved victory for the Blues.

Stevie Farrell made two enforced changes from the team which defeated Raith Rovers a week earlier.

albion 20180127 agnew 1

Having been limited to appearances from the bench in recent weeks, Scott Agnew made his first start since limping off at Airdrieonians on 11 November, slotting into the midfield in place of Ryan Thomson.

albion 20180127 currie 1

With goalkeeper Cameron Belford having left the club, Max Currie returned from a loan spell at Cumbernauld Colts to record his first appearance since the cup defeat to Dumbarton last October.

Currie would be called into action only a few minutes into the game.

Scott McLaughlin took aim with a swerving free kick which caught the wind and sailed towards the top corner, but the keeper tipped it over the bar at the top right corner.

albion 20180127 b001

Beith had only signed a new deal the day before to extend his Stair Park loan spell until the end of the season.

And he would waste no time in demonstrating, as if there was any doubt, exactly why Stranraer were so keen for him to stay a little longer.

albion 20180127 b003

Stephen Okoh made a probing run down the right hand side and swung in a promising cross for Paul Woods.

Woods' attempt was blocked, but Beith was once again in the right place at the the right time to smash home his 7th goal of the season.

albion 20180127 b005

Rovers rallied after going behind, and Currie was twice called into action to deny home captain Gary Fisher from distance.

Meanwhile at the other end, Okoh was presented with a clear goalscoring opportunity as he went one on one with Kieran Wright.

albion 20180127 b007

Unfortunately for the striker, the Rovers keeper was alert to the danger and snuffed out the ball at Okoh's feet, with Beith's rebound also turned away.

The real moment of truth for Currie came on 39 minutes, when young forward Connor Shields advanced into the box with only the goalie to beat.

Shields looked certain to score, but the young shot-stopper produced an excellent reflex block with his legs to keep the Blues in front going into the half time break.

The windy conditions in Coatbridge must have been matched in ferocity by home manager Brian Kerr's hairdryer treatment in the dressing room, because Rovers came out swinging early in the second half.

And they got the goal their response deserved when Alan Reid took advantage of some slack defending to slot the ball home from close range.

albion 20180127 b009b

The goal could have revitalised the home side's fortunes, but instead it sparked Stranraer into life once more.

Beith's strike from distance was pushed over the bar, before the visitors cranked up the pressure with chances for Turner and Woods.

But the turning point would come from an unlikely source in the form of captain Scott Robertson.

The marauding defender capitalised on some indecision in the Rovers defence to decisively fire home from 8 yards.

albion 20180127 b011b

The captain made no attempt to hide his delight as he celebrated in front of the travelling fans, but the best was yet to come.

albion 20180127 b013
albion 20180127 robbo 1

Naturally, it would be Beith who had the final say.

The midfielder received a long ball over the top from Turner and demonstrated composure beyond his years to rifle a perfectly-placed finish into the bottom right corner.

albion 20180127 b014

Although the Hearts youngster was bound to steal the headlines, it was another heartening team performance from Stevie Farrell's youthful side, who move up to 3rd in the table.

albion 20180127 b016 beith

The Blues will now aim to consolidate their playoff place at home to East Fife on Saturday 3 February.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Neill, McGowan, Hamill, Woods (Anderson 72), Turner, Beith, Dykes (Lyon 72), Agnew, Okoh (Gray 90+1).
Not used: McLaren, Barron, Scott, McKinlay.

Albion Rovers: Wright, Reid, McLaughlin, Baur, Fisher, Holmes (McMullin 84), Davidson, McLeish, Shields, Higgins (Victoria 84).
Not used: Lightbody, Gallagher, Potts, Watters.

Referee: David Lowe
Attendance: 388
HT: 0-1

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

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


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

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

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andrew 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)

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