Irn Bru Scottish League – Division Two
Forfar Ath 3 Stranraer 1
Shaun Niven at Station Park
Stranraer’s dismal league results at Station Park continued last weekend as Dick Campbell’s side put them to the sword in an opening forty five minutes that all but made the second half an irrelevance such was the magnitude of their superiority against a lack lustre blues team.
The loyal blues fans on the supporter’s bus made the 360 mile round trip to Angus buoyed by recent performances and with the knowledge that the Galloway 11 had strolled through the home fixture against the same opposition with a 4-1 victory in October.
It is just over eight years since an away league victory for Stranraer against the Loons was recorded when a young Danny Fox made his debut for Neil Watt’s all conquering side before his career took off with the fame and fortune of SPL, Premiership and full international appearances.
The home side started apace, their slick pass and move game, not often associated with the brothers Campbell’s teams putting Stranraer on the back foot from the off.
Stranraer did have an opportunity to take the lead against the run of play. Chris Aitken’s clever curling free kick had Hill scrambling across his goal line but the ball ultimately sailed past the far post.
But Stranrear went behind soon after when Gavin Malin opened the scoring with a drive from 20 yards out.
Forfar exuded confidence now and the only surprise was that they did not add to their tally on more than one occasion.
Kader and Templeman both spurned glorious chances for the Loon’s but just as manager Stephen Aitken thought his team was going to go into the break trailing by Malin’s solitary strike the game was over as a contest in a two minute spell before the break.
The first saw Swankie and Templeman show all their ability and guile combining down the left and playing the ball into the danger area, Omar Kader arriving on cue to slide the ball home. The cheers of the local fans had hardly subsided when goal number three was added, Iain Campbell took a high corner from the right and Chris Templeman again with space and time to pick his spot headed down, the ball bounced in front of Stewart who could only manage to help it on its way across the line.
Forfar resumed the second period as they had finished the first but Stranraer went rather gung ho as they at least tried to regain some dignity from the match.
Darren Gribben replaced Borris and Robert Love replaced Kinnaird in quick succession as Manager Aitken tried to quell the Athletic forward momentum. It showed dividends when the smallest man on the park, Love rose just over the half way line to return a clearance into the path of Moore who showed a turn of pace seldom seen in his locker to reach the bye line and cross along the ground where it was slotted home by Craig Malcolm.
The goal was a slight life line and Stranraer showed new attacking vigour. This was helped by the somewhat harsh decision to dismiss Michael Bolochoweckyj for a challenge on Moore. McKeown saw a header saved well by Hill as Stranraer pushed for a second that may well have spread panic through the home ranks in a final throw of the dice Aitken replaced defender Mark Staunton with Armand Oné but a second goal was to prove beyond the Blues.
The Blues now prepare for the visit of Albion Rovers on Saturday, themselves boosted by a surprise result against Stenhousemuir on Tuesday night, where a victory for the would all but condemn the Coatbridge outfit to relegation and push us closer to Second Division survival.
Stranraer: Colin Stewart, Lloyd Kinnaird (Robert Love 57), Mark Staunton (Armand Oné 75), Frank McKeown, Michael Dunlop, Chris Aitken, Sean Winter, Grant Gallagher, Michael Moore, Craig Malcolm, Ryan Borris (Darren Gribben 51). Subs Not Used: Keiren Wood, Russell Cadwell.