Stranraer 3, Brechin City 2
Manager Stephen Aitken travelled north the previous Tuesday night to run the rule over his next two league opponents: Brechin City and East Fife.
He could not fail to be impressed by the Glebe Park side’s attacking prowess as they put the hapless Fifers to the sword with a fine display of attacking football in a 6-0 demolition.
City came out of the blocks apace looking to unsettle Stranraer’s defence and gain an early advantage, the dangerous pairing of Derek Carcary and Andy Jackson both trying their luck on the Stranraer goal, the latter’s shot being swept off the line by Frank McKeown.
After the early onslaught Stranraer began to settle and after five minutes there was a reasonable claim for a penalty from the home side as ex-Blues centre half Gerry McLauchlan looked clumsy as he dispossessed Craig Malcolm in the box.
Stranraer continued to sweep forward in an end to end encounter. McKeown headed just wide from a Chris Aitken corner and Ryan Borris did well to create a shooting opportunity.
Brechin are adept at hitting on the break and such was the case when David Mitchell had to be at his best when a move saw Carcary ping in a shot that the home keeper dealt with.
Back came Stranraer with the opening goal as referee McKendrick penalised McLauchlan for a second time as he upended Love, Malcolm firing the spot kick past Andrews to give Stranraer a 28th minute lead.
The goal stung the visitors into life and a quick double saw City turn the tables.
The first came from a pinpoint cross by Alan Trouten that saw Carcary deftly glance the ball past the despairing Mitchell.
With regained confidence, the same player found Paul McLean with time and room on the left, and the tall defender smashed the ball through Mitchell’s legs to give his side a half-time lead.
The second half resumed with the same open end to end display from both teams with Aitken and Borris in particular enjoying their afternoon in the sun, spraying the ball around and Borris tormenting the City rearguard with driving runs.
Home fans were getting right behind the team and their optimism was justified as yet another surging run by man of the match Borris saw the skilful midfielder slip the ball to Malcolm who took one touch before rifling the ball past Andrews.
Stranraer fans were on their feet again after 76 minutes when they witnessed a goal by Chris Aitken that will be hard to surpass both in importance and technique. The Brechin defence must have thought they had done their job as they cleared out a cross but the ball dropped to Aitken who hit the dropping shot clean as a whistle past Andrews.
Stranraer: David Mitchell, Lloyd Kinnaird, Mark Staunton, Frank McKeown, Mick Dunlop, Chris Aitken, Robert Love (Jamie Campbell 75), Grant Gallagher, Craig Malcolm, Darren Gribben (Michael Moore 80), Ryan Borris. Subs not used: Kieren Wood, Armand Oné, Russell Cadwell
Booked: Love, McKeown
Goals: Malcolm 28 pen, 71, Aitken 76
Brechin City: Michael Andrews, Alex Pursehouse, Paul McLean, Graham Hay, Gerry McLauchlan, Jonathan Stewart (Garry Brady 87), Alan Trouten, Ryan Ferguson (Greg Cameron 83), Andy Jackson, David McKenna (Ryan Stewart 61), Derek Carcary. Subs not used: Aaron Murdoch, Craig Nelson
Goals: Carcary 35, McLean 39
Referee: J McKendrick