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Match Report: Stranraer 1-4 St Mirren

St Mirren's Betfred Cup campaign got off to a winning start as the Buddies came from behind to defeat Stranraer at Stair Park. 

Scott Agnew gave the home side the lead before goals from Gavin Reilly, Ross Stewart, Lewis Morgan and Gregor Buchanan sealed an emphatic win for Saints.

Ian McShane almost made himself an instant Saints hero with just six minutes on the clock. The new signing played a neat one-two with Cammy Smith, finding himself one-on-one with Stranraer goalkeeper Cameron Belford. But the goalie did well to block with the rebound coming off McShane's knee and bouncing wide. 

However, it was the Stranraer who drew first blood as the home side took the lead on 11 minutes through ex-Saint Scott Agnew. It was three on two in favour of the home side with Ryan Wallace slipping the ball through to midfielder Agnew who slotted beyond Craig Samson. 

Saints were level just before the half hour mark with a debut goal from Gavin Reilly. Morgan picked the ball up from McShane and went on a driving run before crashing an effort off the post. Reilly was in the right place at the right time as he took a touch before finishing beyond Belford.

The Buddies kept on the pressure and took the lead four minutes later. This time it was Ross Stewart's turn to notch a debut goal. A free kick from deep in the Stranraer half was headed on inside the box by Gregor Buchanan, falling invitingly for Smith whose shot was well saved by Belford. It then fell to Stewart who was on hand to tap home to put the visitors ahead. 

Stranraer went close to restoring parity when they won a free kick after goalscorer Agnew was felled. Wallace and Agnew stood over the ball, but it was the former who took a pop and he wasn't far away as it whistled just over the bar.

But it was St Mirren who would further extend their lead before the half time interval. Smith picked out an unmarked Morgan 25 yards out from a corner kick. The young winger, Saints Player of the Year last season, rifled an effort towards the ruck of bodies in the box with it striking off a Blues player and nestling into the far corner of the net.

McShane was unlucky not to have added his name to the debutant scorers in the first half when he broke through on the right hand side of the box and saw his powerful effort expertly pushed away by Belford. 

Half Time: Stranraer 1-3 St Mirren

The hosts went close to narrowing the deficit early into the second half when a free kick from the left by Agnew was glanced wide by Tom Lang. 

And how that would prove to be an real chance gone when Buchanan added his name to the list of debutant scorers for St Mirren 10 minutes after the restart. McShane whipped a corner deep to the back post where it met the head of the defender who nodded beyond Belford to put the Buddies out of sight.

Saints were well in control and it would take a minor miracle for the Blues to get back into the match but the visitors still had to be alert. Jamie Hamill twice forced Craig Samson to push away efforts with Agnew also drilling an effort towards the top corner, only to see Samson knock it wide.

Stewart should have nabbed his second of the match, and St Mirren's fifth, after getting on the end of a poor Stranraer backpass. He stole the attempted ball back to the goalkeeper and burst through only to be thwarted by Belford who clawed the shot away.

Samson made another good save late in the match to deny Morgen Neill a consolation goal, but in the end Saints triumphed comfortably and lead Group H after the first round of matches.

Full Time: Stranraer 1-4 St Mirren

St Mirren: Samson, Irvine, Buchanan, MacKenzie, Stelios, McGinn, McShane (Quinn 73), Stewart, Smith (O'Keefe 78), Morgan, Reilly (Kirkpatrick 69)
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Baird, MacPherson, Sutton

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Neill, Lang, Bell (Okoh 59), Anderson (Woods 59), Hamill, Thomson, Agnew, Wallace (Stoney 59)
Subs Not Used: Currie, Barron, McGowan, Turner

Referee: Colin Steven

Attendance: 849

Match Gallery pictures by Allan Picken © - Allan Picken Photography

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