By Taylor Murray – Tayl0rr00
The rovers come from behind in dramatic fashion to clinch all three points as they score deep into injury time to take all three points and look to push for the play-offs.
As the Christmas dinner finally being settled in all our stomachs this made room for some cinch League 2 action at The Reigart Stadium. Both teams come into this game looking to get back to winning ways as the rovers drew 0-0 with Cowdenbeath, whilst Stranraer lost 4-0 away to Kelty Hearts.
The rovers made one change from that draw in Cowdenbeath with midfielder Jamie Leslie dropping out for Scott Roberts.
The game didn’t get off to the best start for the home side as in the third minute the referee pointed to the spot after a Stranraer player fell in the box. It was a decision that seemed soft at the time. However, despite the protest and the noise surrounding the decision, rover’s keeper Cameron Binnie kept a cool, calm, and collected head and saved his second penalty in a row. Something he is proving to be a vital tool in his locker.
This was the springboard the rovers needed as only 4 minutes later they managed to take the lead through the ever-present Charlie Reilly. Callum Wilson collected the ball from Aaron Lynas, he drove into the middle of the park with purpose and sprayed the ball out to the left-hand side where Charlie Reilly was in space. Reilly then beat one man before slotting the ball away to give the rovers the lead.
However, after such a fast-paced start from the home side, it was Stranraer who dealt the next blow in the game. After a contentious decision to not flag an offside, the away side got a corner. With the decision already made, the rovers had a corner to defend but Stranraer’s Paul Woods managed to get on the end of the cross and head home for the equaliser.
The game died down for a short spell before picking back up again before the half-hour mark. Stranraer were starting to feel their way into the game and the pressure paid off as Tommy Muir for Stranraer gave the visitors the lead. A lead they deserved at the time of the game.
As half time came and went, it would be the final time in 2021 that the rovers’ players would be walking out the tunnel in 2021. So a big performance was needed to get back into the game. Whatever Brian Reid said at Half time worked as the rovers pressed for the opener from the first whistle. This pressure paid off as on the 51st minute. Kieran Dolan equalised for the rovers with an outrageous looping header. Just shy from the halfway line David Wilson stood over the free-kick looking for his target. The box was crowded but through the crowd, it was Dolan who rose highest to loop Stranraer goalkeeper Jack Baker and level the game.
The game was then like a tennis match with both sides having chances to take the lead. Both dugouts working hard to change tactics and personal to influence, but it was an on-park decision that saw the dynamics of the game change as on the 80th minute Stranraer’s Sam Ellis got a straight red for a very late tackle on Aaron Lynas.
Deep into Injury time, both teams had the belief they could win the game. Although they were down to 10-men, the visitors still gave it a go to win the game, however, it was the rovers who would go on and steal all the points in a dramatic fashion. In the 93rd minute, Charlie Reilly produced a real piece of magic to set up Lewis Wilson. He collected the ball on the right-hand side and drove at the heart of The Blues defense. A little one-two with Michael Mullen gave him the freedom of the box to pick his pass out to Lewis Wilson who was doing his best impression of Tom Hanks in Castaway as he was all by himself at the back post to just tap it in.
The scenes in the stadium erupted and the home fans went wild. This was a game that brought the occasion and ramped up the drama. What a way to end 2021.
The last-minute goal saw the rovers remain in 8th but close the gap on the teams above them. The rovers now sit level on points with Stenhousemuir who are in 7th and only 4 points off that vital 4th place play-off place. The rover’s next game is on the 2nd of January away to Edinburgh City, one where the woolly scarfs and gloves will need to be looked out for.