Blues blow away City in gale

Darren Petrie is sent off after his tackle on Chris Aitken
Darren Petrie is sent off after his tackle on Chris Aitken
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Stranraer 3, Brechin City 0

Stranraer travel to Ibrox to take on leaders Rangers on Boxing Day in confident mood, as they made it five league wins in a row on Saturday.

Both teams started brightly, and Andy Stirling, fast becoming a fans’ favourite, linked with Jamie Longworth who knocked it wide to strike partner Martin Grehan. His early dangerous centre was intercepted and cleared by ex Stranraer defender Gerry McLauchlan.

Any ball played high was being affected by the conditions but Stranraer tried to play the ball on the ground through the nimble and quick of feet of Sean Winter and Stirling.

Grant Gallagher picked out Grehan in the penalty area with a slide rule pass, the big striker twisted clear of Brown but again McLaughlan was well positioned to foil his former employers.

Stranraer cranked up the pressure. Stirling and Grehan both had attempts thwarted as the signs became more promising for the home team as they charged forward at every opportunity.

Then came the breakthrough. Moyes stretched to play a backpass to keeper Nelson. The veteran, knowing if he handled it would be an automatic red card, agonisingly had to let it run past him for top scorer Longworth to have the easiest of chances to slot home his 18th of the season.

The second half was only three minutes old when one of the main talking points occurred. Chris Aitken received the ball near the centre circle, and Darren Petrie, on loan from Dundee United, lunged into a tackle, Aitken collapsed in a heap as home players rushed to vent their anger. The referee acted without hesitation, brandished the red card. Aitken was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

Stranraer, with a man advantage, pressed for the second, Docherty picked up a loose ball, drove forward and hit a wonderful pass to Grehan, and the striker dispatched the ball into the corner with Nelson rooted to the spot.

Longworth was given a well-deserved break when replaced by McKenna after just failing to connect with a fizzing Grehan centre with 10 minutes to play. The game was petering out when Gallagher added number three in the 89th minute. The ball was hit hard and low by Winter and looked to have evaded everyone. But Gallagher at the far side composed himself and made no mistake.

This was another fine victory for Stranraer but tempered by the loss of playmaker Aitken with an ankle injury that will see him out for six to eight weeks.

Stranraer: David Mitchell, Scott Robertson (Lloyd Kinnaird 69), Mark Docherty, Scott Rumsby, Frank McKeown, Chris Aitken (Steven Bell 52), Sean Winter, Grant Gallagher, Jamie Longworth (David McKenna 80), Martin Grehan, Andrew Stirling, Subs Not Used: Chris Fahey, Adam Forde, Ryan Borris, David MacGregor Scorers: Longworth (27), Grehan (59), Gallagher (90) Booked: Docherty, McKeown, Bell

Referee: Stephen Finnie

Attendance: 357