Stranraer move into play-off places ahead of cup visit

League One

Stranraer 5 Peterhead 0

Stranraer surged into the play-off places for the first time this season with a terrific and entertaining demolition of far travelled Peterhead in this rearranged league game.

The match also serves as a rehearsal for the weekend’s Scottish Cup tie between the teams at Balmoor. The Blues will go into that match with confidence after Tuesday evening’s impressive showing.

Stranraer quickly asserted control over the game and Willie Gibson in particular looked intent on causing problems as he teased the Peterhead defence,

it didn’t take long for Stranraer to register their first goal. Winter was dumped to the ground 25 yards out and Willie Gibson curled a magnificent free kick round the wall and past Smith to give Stranraer the lead.

Rory McAllister had rarely been seen in the half but he did pick up a David Cox pass on the edge of the box only to be denied a chance by a great intervention by Grant Gallagher.

Peterhead began the second half quite brightly and McAllister forced Mitchell to rush out and kick the ball away as he tried to control and shoot and Noble linked up with the striker but shot wide in a couple of moments where the game could have turned. Stranraer’s reply was a fierce drive from Gibson from a tight angle that Smith managed to turn on to the post.

Just on the hour mark Gibson produced another magical moment with a sublime pass across the field to Jamie Longworth. He controlled neatly and picked a spot wide of Smith and just inside the post to double the Blues lead, revenge for having been denied by the keeper minutes before. Peterhead tried to get back into it and forced a couple of corners that they couldn’t convert and it wasn’t long before the Blues made them pay.

Outpaced and outwitted

Malcolm was sent clear on the left and he outpaced and outwitted Ryan Strachan as he burst into the box and the defender hauled him down.

A penalty and an opportunity for Chris Aitken to open his account for the season which he duly despatched and the Blues were home and dry. Steven Bell and Danny Stoney were introduced to provide some match practice and fresh legs and the Blues tightened their grip on the game, knocking the ball about delightfully and in one particular passage of play had around 30 passes in a long period of possession that had the Blues faithful joining in with a loud “Olé” to greet each one.

Frank McKeown had an effort cleared off the goal line by Cox following a corner but Stranraer refused to take the foot off the pedal and had a fourth goal with ten minutes left and it was another cracker.

A great turn by Winter left his marker for dead and his low cross met the run of Jamie Longworth at the near post who turned the ball through Smith’s legs. With the visitors no doubt hoping the final whistle would arrive and put them out of their misery Stranraer kept going and managed to add a fifth right at the close. McKeown headed the ball forward and Danny Stoney latched on to it straight away, bursting through between the central defenders and with them trailing behind he raced on goal and calmly claimed his first ever goal, slotting neatly past Smith.

Stranraer: David Mitchell, Grant Gallagher, Jackson Longridge, Scott Rumsby, Frank McKeown, Chris Aitken (Steven Bell 70), Sean Winter, Stephen Stirling, Craig Malcolm (Danny Stoney 74), Jamie Longworth, Willie Gibson (Barry Russell 82). Subs Not Used: Anthony Marenghi, Adam Forde, Sam McCloskey, Daniel Tobin

Peterhead: Graeme Smith, David Cox, Steven Noble, Reece Donaldson, Ross Smith, Ryan Strachan, Andy Rodgers, Jamie Redman (Marc Lawrence 82), Rory McAllister, Jamie Stevenson, Jordon Brown (Dean Richardson 74). Subs not Used: Paul Jarvie.