Stenhousemuir v Stranraer at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 10.8.13
SPFL League One Att 483
Stenhousemuir 1 [Gemmell 30] Stranraer 0
With no fewer than six players missing through injury or suspension this was going to be a good test of any depth in the first team squad for manager Martyn Corrigan. The defence had been porous leading up to this game and he sought to bolster it by signing Ross Smith on loan from Dundee United during the week. This allowed Kevin McKinlay to return to his more familiar left back role and gave the defence a more balanced feel.
The midfield area was the one that suffered most from injuries and Brown Ferguson and Craig Anderson came into the starting eleven for the first time since March and December respectively whilst Kyle Doherty was called up to the bench from the reserves for the first time.
Both Stenhousemuir and Stranraer have been involved in high scoring games this season and there was a flurry of action in the opening stages of this game that showed that the teams were comfortable when in attack mode. Indeed both teams had chances in the opening minutes of the game with Sean Winter heading wide for the visitors in the second minute and this was followed by Darren Smith and Sean Higgins combining for the former to fire a decent effort in that was saved by David Mitchell.
Stranraer looked as if they were going to open their account in the 18th minute when Martin Grehan skipped through the defence and had the goal at his mercy but just as he was about to shoot he was denied by a superb tackle by Ross McMillan who was having his best game for the Warriors for quite some time.
Darren Smith once more tested Mitchell in the 25th minute and from the resultant corner the Warriors came even closer. Brown Ferguson’s cross was met by Kevin McKinlay who headed toward goal and although Sean Higgins may have just failed to get a touch he unsighted the keeper who did well to make a difficult save.
The keeper was unable to stop the Warriors going ahead though on the half hour. A kick up field from Chris Smith was met by Sean Higgins who under pressure played the ball to Darren Smith who prodded a pass into the path of John Gemmell who hit a sweetly struck volley on the run low into the net. There were doubts whether Gemmell would resume for the second period after he received lengthy treatment just before half time but when the players returned to action he was back in the fold.
Stranraer felt that they should have had a penalty for handball in the 47th minute but referee Euan Anderson waived away appeals though it may have been a lucky escape for the home side as several players appealed instantly for the perceived infringement.
Stenhousemuir came close to increasing the lead in the 50th minute when a lovely weighted chip by Higgins picked out Nicky Devlin and his cross was met first time by Gemmell but went just wide of the mark. A minute later Stranraer’s David McKenna tested Chris Smith with a decent strike though he had handled the ball in the build up. In the 62nd minute Sean Winter saw an effort squeak past the post. Despite these opportunities the visitors were struggling to make inroads though to a well marshalled defence and were starting to be caught offside on a regular basis. Their frustration overflowed in the 65th minute when Ryan Borris was cautioned for a tussle with Kevin McKinlay and he was perhaps lucky not to be red carded. This was his last action of the game as he was subbed at the first opportunity after this by Stevie Aitken.
It was at the other end though that the best chance of a goal came when a diagonal ball by Sean Dickson picked out John Gemmell who mishit his effort that was saved by Mitchell. Darren Smith felt a pass to him would have brought a certain goal but the striker was justified as he only had the keeper to beat and if he had hit the effort cleanly he would have scored.
There was to be no additions to the score before the end and Stenhousemuir won by the only goal of the game and thus broke the hex that seemed to be on them from Stranraer last season when the Warriors failed to win any of the league games.
Both teams will take positives out of the game with three points and a clean sheet with a solid defence for the Warriors whilst Stranraer though beaten looked a far better team at this stage of the season compared to where they were at this time last year.
Stenhousemuir – C.Smith, Devlin, McKinlay [b87], R.Smith [b18], McMillan [b71], Anderson, Dickson [McNeil 84], Ferguson, Gemmell [Lawson 90], Higgins [Douglas 88] and D.Smith. Subs not used – Doherty and Shaw.
Stranraer – Mitchell, Kinnaird, Docherty, Robertson, McKeown, Aitken, Winter [Stirling 63], Gallagher [Corcoran 83], Grehan, McKenna and Borris [b65][Longworth 68]. Subs not used – Wood, Rafferty, Forde and Fahey.
Referee – Euan Anderson Assistants – Stuart Hodge and David Dunne
|August 10, 2013||3:00 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1||2013/2014||90'|
|Ochilview Park Stenhousemuir|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|