East Fife 28 Jan 2017 006NO GOALS but plenty of hope as Stranraer ended a three-game losing streak to earn their first point of 2017.

The Stevie Farrell era began with a trip to New Bayview with the Blues hoping to bounce back off the bottom of the table.

That failed to happen but there were plenty of positive signs in a disciplined performance against the league's form team.

The Fifers came into the game having not tasted defeat since mid-November and Farrell made a single change from the defeat last week against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup.

Mark McGuigan dropped to the bench in favour of Craig Pettigrew, who was cup tied for the trip to Pittodrie.

The former Auchinleck Talbot man was back in at right back, with David Barron and Morgyn Neill at the heart of the Stranraer defence, alongside Liam Dick at left back, with club captain Steven Bell and Scott Robertson protecting the back four.

Conditions were not great at New Bayview, with rain, sleet and snow all falling from the sky.

The Fifers had the first opportunity but Cameron Belford did well to block the close range shot with his legs.
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It was far from one-way traffic though and the Blues perhaps shaded possession in the opening 45 minutes.

They twice came close from distance midway through the first half.

First, Willie Gibson took a quick free-kick and powered a shot from 30 yards, which was well held by Ryan Goodfellow.

Then, less than 60 seconds later, Ryan Thomson found Scott Agnew and his effort from distance flew just past the right hand post.

Stranraer survived a bit of a scramble in their own box minutes later before Kevin Smith fired over the crossbar two minutes before the interval.

After the restart, the Fifers probably had their best spell in terms of possession as they pinned Stranraer in for much of the opening 15 minutes.

However, the Blues fought their way back into the tie after a double change with McGuigan coming on for Malcolm and Michael Donald making his debut as a trialist in place of Thomson.
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The game's best chances would come in the final 20 minutes with the visitors coming close to scoring on three occasions.

First, Gibson's corner looked perfect for Bell, who shrugged off his marker but could not keep his header down from six yards as it flew over the bar.

Then, arguably the chance of the game came with just nine minutes left.

Gibson's free kick was nodded back across goal and from eight yards Dick could only slot past the upright with the goal at his mercy.

Stranraer were trying to force the issue now and East Fife defenders threw themselves in front of a couple of shots.
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Finally, Farrell's men could have taken all three points with less than a minute to play.

Pettigrew's cross looked far too deep but dropped agonisingly onto the crossbar with Goodfellow scrambling.

All in all, a not too bad showing from Stranraer and on another day it could have been three points instead of one.

However, in tricky conditions and at a venue which has not always been a happy hunting ground, it was a point which gives the club something to build on.

East Fife: Goodfellow, Kane, Page, Kerr, Penrice, Slattery, Brown (Lamont 79), Smith, Robinson, Paterson, Insall (Duggan 50).

Not used: Mutch, A Trialist, Austin and Hurst.

Stranraer: Belford, Dick, Barron, Neill, Pettigrew, Robertson, Bell, Agnew, Malcolm (McGuigan 68), Thomson (B Trialist 68), Gibson.

Not used: Maley, Morena, Wilson, Turner and Currie.

Referee: Scott Millar

Attendance: 584

HT: 0-0

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 25 59
2 Raith Rovers 25 43
3 Forfar Athletic 26 43
4 East Fife 23 38
5 Montrose 26 35
6 Airdrieonians 26 31
7 Dumbarton 25 27
8 Stranraer 24 27
9 Brechin City 24 25
10 Stenhousemuir 24 22


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)