Stranraer 3, Ross County 2
A memorable match on Tuesday saw Stranraer march into the third round of the league Cup for the first time since 2005 at the expense of Premiership outfit Ross County.
It was a pulsating tussle that royally entertained the disappointingly small crowd. The result also made history as it is the first time Stranraer have beaten a top-flight team in a competitive match at Stair Park.
There is no doubt this was no freak result. The Blues produced a tremendous performance and fully deserved the victory. In fact they should have been in front with two minutes but Martin Grehan saw his shot blocked by Grant Munro.
Ivan Sproule and Stuart Kettlewell had threatening runs but the Stranraer defence coped well until a minute before the break. Grant Munro looked to have gone down very easily after a challenge from Sean Winter and Richard Brittain stroked home the resulting penalty.
But after a period of County pressure the Blues rocked them with a double salvo in six minutes.
Winter struck first with a great solo run leaving a couple of defenders trailing before he rolled the ball confidently past Mark Brown and then, when the same player was fouled by Mihael Kovacevic, up stepped Chris Aitken to superbly smash his fourth penalty of the season past the helpless Brown.
Suddenly the dream looked it could be reality. The Blues continued to give as good as they got as they tried to hold on to their lead but eventually the visitors equalised. The Blues couldn’t quite clear their lines and when Brittain delivered back into the box, the ball fell at the feet of Orhan Mustafi, who neatly turned the ball into the net.
This was only a temporary setback as within three minutes Stranraer grabbed their historic winner – and what a fabulous goal it was. Grant Gallagher was the instigator with a surging run from deep and he then looked up and found Jamie Longworth inside the box. Longworth showed great composure and looked up to find Martin Grehan in space and from 12 yards out the Stranraer striker hammered the ball past Brown.
Derek Adams was magnanimous in defeat and conceded that Stranraer had put up an excellent performance but couldn’t hide his disappointment that his side had been well below par.
A delighted Stephen Aitken was over the moon with an immense performance from his team who showed some real quality and composure to go with their effort and commitment and he felt the result was well deserved.
Stranraer: David Mitchell, Scott Rumsby, Lloyd Kinnaird, Scott Robertson, Frank McKeown, Chris Aitken, Sean Winter (David MacGregor 90), Grant Gallagher, Martin Grehan, David McKenna (Jamie Longworth 73), Mark Corcoran (Ryan Borris 84). Subs not used: Andy Stirling, Chris Fahey
Goals: Winter 65, Aitken 71 pen, Grehan 82
Ross County: Mark Brown, Mihael Kovacevic, Ben Gordon, Stuart Kettlewell, Ivan Sproule (Darren Maatsen 85), Richard Brittain, Rocco Quinn, Grant Munro, Kevin Luckassen (Orhan Mustafi 60), Brian McLean, Graham Carey (Melvin De Leeuw 85). Subs not used: Scott Boyd, Michael Fraser.
Booked: Luckassen, Gordon, Kettlewell, Kovacevic
Goals: Brittain 45 Pen, Mustafi 79
Referee: S Finnie