By Connor Ryan
Albion Rovers starting XI: 1. Jack Leighfield 2. Adam Fernie 22. Luke Graham 4. Ayrton Sonkur 12. Ewan Wilson 3. Blair Malcolm 6. Kyle Fleming 7. Callum Wilson (c) 8. Jamie Leslie 9. Scott Roberts 11. Charlie Reilly
Subs: 14. Amaury Testa 16. Barry Duncan 17. Christopher Smith 18. Kieran Dolan (replaced Scott Roberts on 76′) 19. Max Wright 21. Liam Fagan 24. Adam McArthur
Stranraer starting XI: 1. Luke Scullion 2. Scott Robertson 5. Craig Ross 22. Sean McIntosh 23. Matthew Grant 7. James Hilton 8. Grant Gallagher 14. Dean Hawkshaw 16. Dylan Forrest 18. Scott McLean 19. Salim Kouider-Aissa
Subs: 13. George O’Connor 6. Anton Brady (replaced Dylan Forrest on 80′) 10. Josh Walker (replaced Dean Hawkshaw on 64′) 20. Luke Watt (replaced Grant Gallagher on 80′) 21. Scott Dunn 30. Ikechi Eze 3. Sam Ellis (replaced Scott McLean on 64′) 9. Craig Malcolm (replaced Salim Kouider-Aissa on 73′)
Rovers made it back-to-back league wins for the first time this season after a great performance at the Reigart Stadium seen us overcome Stranraer 1-0.
A brilliant second half strike from man of the match and captain Callum Wilson was enough to gain all three points as Rovers extended their unbeaten run to five games.
The first ten minutes of the match would be quiet and tense with both sides seeing little chances. Charlie Reilly did have an early chance from a free kick however his effort smashed into the wall and the rebound was deflected for a corner.
Stranraer would have their first chance of the game minutes later as Salim Kouider-Aissa’s strike was well struck and went just narrowly wide of the post.
Charlie Reilly would get Rovers first big chance as a misplaced pass from the opposition allowed him to bear down on goal, but his effort went agonisingly wide.
Another chance would appear for the visitors in the 18th minute as they found themselves in on goal following a nice move, but the resulting effort was brilliantly saved by the foot of Jack Leighfield.
Stranraer would go very close again in the 24th minute as Dean Hawkshaw’s looping header would come off the underside of the bar and bounce off the line before being cleared by the Rovers defence.
More chances would arrive for the visitors before half time as Grant Gallagher would see his header go inches wide of the post just five minutes before the break.
Both sides went into half time level at 0-0, with Stranraer looking the better team towards the end of the second half and appearing to be on the ascendency.
Rovers would pick up two bookings within the first 15 minutes of the restart as Ayrton Sonkur and Charlie Reilly would be booked for arguing with the referee over two decisions that didn’t go Rovers way.
The deadlock would be broken on the hour mark as, despite Luke Scullion making a great save onto the woodwork, Rovers would take the lead through Callum Wilson. Wilson up the ball from distance and seen his brilliant strike from his weaker left foot curl past Scullion, giving the Stranraer keeper no chance.
Jack Leighfield would be called into action seven minutes later as he denied James Hilton from equalising.
The first and only substitution of the match for Rovers would see Scott Roberts be replaced by Kieran Dolan in the 76th minute.
Moments later Rovers would be awarded a penalty as Charlie Reilly was brought down in the box. Reilly would step up and looked to replicate last week’s goal against East Fife, but Scullion done brilliantly to save and kept the score at 1-0 to Rovers.
Despite lots of added time, Rovers managed to see the game out with a brilliant second half performance and gain a vital three points as we move four points clear of the relegation zone. We also now sit four points behind the play-off positions as well, showing how tight the league is this season.
Attention now turns to Stirling University in the Scottish Cup next Saturday at the Reigart Stadium as we aim to go into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
Goal scorers: Callum Wilson (ARFC)
Bookings: Ayrton Sonkur (yellow) Jamie Leslie (yellow) Grant Gallagher (yellow) Scott Robertson (yellow)
Referee: Graham Beaton
Assistants: Graham McNeillie and David Ingram
Man of the match: Callum Wilson