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  1. September - October 2026 Stranraer Scottish League Two Stranraer v Queen's Park (Championship, 2nd) – Challenge Cup, Third Round Quite surprisingly, we looked the more composed side for much of the first half. Queen's Park only mounted one real threat on our goal. We did similar to be honest, but had more half chances. Almost on the hour mark, we took a lead. MacIver had produced one very dangerous looking cross earlier, this time around it did find Armour. Queen's Park tried to go longer towards the end, but we had men staying back and cut things off each time. We can't beat sides in our own league, but just knocked over a Championship side (probably not one at full strength, but don't mention that). In the next round, last season's League Two winners Stirling Albion. East Fife (10th, 0-1-5, 1point -11) v Stranraer (8th, 2-1-3, 7points -4) – Scottish League Two, Match 7 of 36 East Fife opened up our left hand side twice very early on, and scored with one of those moves. We managed to threaten their goal zero times throughout the game, and that one weak are proved too much. Once again we can't beat teams at the foot of the table in our league, or even look like it. Something is very wrong. Stranraer (8th, 2-1-4, 7points -5) v East Kilbride (2nd, 4-2-1, 14points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 8 of 36 Some early luck after an early miss. A corner expertly headed in by an East Kilbride defender for us to take the lead. A couple of time just before the break East Kilbride should have scored. The first was that slow build up just outside the area that we are so vulnerable to. The second the long ball over the top, the other way we seem to concede easily every time a team tries it. Thankfully both times they shot wide from easy scoring positions. On the plus side, Watters and Donaldson are back in part-time training. Donaldson, the player I thought was the riskier trade, is the one hope of not making a complete mess of this season. Airdrie (3rd, 4-3-1, 15points +7) v Stranraer (6th, 3-1-4, 10points -4) – Scottish League Two, Match 9 of 36 Game 1: Won 1-0 Someone we haven't seen for a long time, Kevin Lamont makes a start. The hope was that as a target man he will provide a link to Armour, even if not much a scoring threat himself. I expected Airdrie to come at us hard, so went with a counter-attack. And the did come hard, so hard their main striker was called offside four times in the first half. We didn't counter effectively though. It took 66 minutes for the first goal to come, McAuley the scorer off the corner. Two minutes later that was cancelled out, Airdrie crossing the far post and out-jumping us. A close run thing on the final whistle, McAculey possibly should have been called for a penalty, but managed a clearance with the last kick of the game. The draw came despite being outplayed across the pitch. Everyone has placed each other once, which I think is fair point to say the table is taking shape. We sit sixth, already ten points behind the leaders. We're not meeting board expectation in the league this season. Stranraer v Stirling Albion (League One, 10th) – Scottish League Challenge Cup, Fourth Round In an odd move we have both a full back and a wing back playing on the left. In odder move, Langan at full back made the assist for the opening goal. To be fair, he was that far forward because he started with a throw-in. And ended up with a cross on to Armour's head. Armour very nearly had a second twenty minutes, in but smacked the inside of the upright from about thirty metres and the ball went off for a throw-in on the opposite side of the pitch. Stirling drew level almost on the half hour mark through a free kick deflecting off the wall. Armour's head gave us the lead back, this time from MacIver on the right. Normally he crosses from the by-line, but this time from much deeper. McGinn was very sloppy in conceding the second, maybe it skidded in the rain or something but he barely got a hand to a slow moving ball right next to his left foot. Terrible non-effort, which ended up costing us extra time. 118 minutes gone, a very tired macIver was barely running up the right, but a long ball found him, and he found Lamont who got just enough on it to put it past the keeper. Quarter finals. The draw puts us away to the only other surviving League Two team, Vale of Leithen. Stranraer (6th, 3-2-4, 11points -4) v Albion Rovers (10th, 0-3-6, 3points -10) – Scottish League Two, Match 10 of 36 Running alongside players and neither making a challenge or cutting down their options is not hewlping. We quickly fell two goals behind because noine of our players wanted to touch the ball. Its not as though the bad teams are just pulling back and we get hit on the counter. They are very often taking us on and beating us. We did pull one back late, MacIver again onto Armour's head. But really, this sort of game is all too common. Against teams we should easily beat, we can't do a thing. Stranraer v Brechin City (Highland-Lowland League) – Scottish Cup, Second Round An early goal for us, with MacIver again the architect. The cross from near the corner flag basically bounced off Lamont, before being fluffed by the goalkeeper and finding the net. I'm not quite sure how we got a second, apparently it was credited as an own goal. All I saw was a pass to nobody that attacker, defender, and goalkeeper all ignored and because it was rolling goalward it went in by accident. We were not good, but at least we got through. Stenhousemuir away in the third round. That won't be easy. The home league match against the same opponents got moved as a result. Vale of Leithen (5th, 4-3-3, 15points +2) v Stranraer (6th, 3-2-5, 11points -5) – Scottish League Two, Match 11 of 36 Game 2: Lost 2-1 Leithen had the better of the start, more possession and considerably more shots. However, we got the opening goal after half an hour. Armour with a deft touch from an awkward height, putting it just inside the right hand upright with a cross from Scott Brown on the left wing. Lamont had picked up a knock early, but I was reluctant to substitute him as Donaldson isn't yet ready for too much game time. Even coming on at half time was a risk. Things remained unchanged in the second half, but I am far from pleased by the way we were outplayed in every way except the goal. We still haven't two league wins in a row. That sort of inconsistency is potentially a job-killer when the board's league expectations are so high. Third and fourth have a game in hand, so we are further away from even a playoff spot than the two points suggests. And we are ten points behind where we are supposed to be.
  2. July - August 2026 (Part Two) Stranraer Scottish League Two We start the league like this. Brown is on the bench, Bowman really is in his third favourite position. Stranraer (Predicted 3rd) v Airdrie (Predicted 4th) – Scottish League Two, Match 1 of 36 Donaldson came off injured in the third minute. Hardly the start to the season I was looking for. While we controlled the game, we barely managed a shot on target and not a real opportunity. It took 76 minutes for a Duncan Brown corner, on for Donaldson, finding the head of Berry to get a score. Brown almost provided a second, the goalkeeper just doing enough twice. Once to knock it into the crossbar, and once to knock it away again as it came off the crossbar. We played better, or were allowed to play better, than one-nil. Still, points are the main thing and we got them. Donaldson's shin sprints will keep him out for around two months. No sooner had I moved Darren McMillan to the bench than he strained his neck, Ben Armour to the bench for a game or two. Last season's top goalscorer can only now get on the bench, without there being a major change of forwards. It shows the uncertainty I have around all the strikers. Stranraer v Vale of Leithen (Predicted 10th) – Scottish League Two, Match 2 of 36 McGinn comes in, and MacIver goes on the right. Obviously D Brown up front. Leithen did a very goods job of controlling tempo early, and used it to make a break from which they scored. And despite being more aggressive in trying to vut the ball off they did it twice. We made a couple opf changes after an hour of that rubbish, Armour coming on to play as a lone striker. He got some luck, their goalkeeper rushing out and just being beaten by Armour. The shot was stright into the shin of said goalkeeper, but rebounded toward the goalmouth and Armour was first to that as well. We never had a chance of a second though and fell to a dismal defeat. Dumbarton (Predicted 1st) v Stranraer – Scottish League Two, Match 3 of 36 Dumbarton showed why they were favourites right from the kick off, and it didn't take long for them to work their way through our defence and a simple finish. On the half four mark Scott Brown, after his initial cross rebounded to him, got the ball on to Armour's head and we levelled very much against the flow of play. A quick reply, again far to well constructed for us to do more than watch on and try to get near, and we fell behind again before the break. Things only got worse from that point, reaching 4-1 down after 75 minutes. Bowman's free kick on 85 minutes went in directly, 4-2 is still bad. It should have been 4-3. Duncan Brown is on the edge of the transfer list. He is supposed to be becoming a good player, at least for this level, but I've given up. Stranraer v Clyde (League One, 9th) – Challenge Cup Second Round An early goal for Jim Watters, brought in as a starter for no other reason than “why not” and the fixture congestion. Hay came on as a sub and we switched to the 4-4-1-1 formation. He both started and finished the move that led to the second goal, just shy of 70 minutes. I think the Challenge Cup will end for us next round, Championship side Queen's Park at home. Stranraer v Cove Rangers (Predicted 8th) – Scottish League Two, Match 4 of 36 Darren McMillan bruised his head in the opening minutes, but stayed on. After a scare at our end, McMillan provided the assist for Watters whose shot was better than expected from him. It was quite well placed, just in the net on the far side. Berry was rested and started on the bench for this game. In the 35th minute the other starting central midfielder got our second, Jack Bowman also going just inside the right post. An excellent move from Cove Rangers as the final ten minutes began got them back in the game, we couldn't quite lay a tackle or get an intercept. They just kept playing the ball carefully, just before we could intervene. We helkd on though, and when the final whistle went were possibly moving to a decent chance ourselves. Stenhousemuir (Predicted 7th) v Stranraer – Scottish League Two, Match 5 of 36 Stenhousemuir were actually sitting second coming in, and it seemed on the back of constant pressure. We couldn't maintain possession at all and were quickly two goals down through the counter. That became three by the break, a superb free kick too much for McGinn. The second half was better, but we missed the first two really good opportunities created, which meant it was almost 80 minutes in before we got on the board. It ended 4-1. McGinn clearning from a little wide, straight to an opponent who hoofed it from range before he could get back to the goal. And one of our only decent youth prospects left for a paltry £10k, I was trying to keep him but not to be. Stranraer v Peterhead (Predicted 9th) – Scottish League Two, Match 6 of 36 Predicted ninth, second after Stenhousemuir overtook them at the top. And they completely shut us out. We only managed two very low percentage shots in the first half, and not a single attempt in the second despite trying a few different tweaks to find a way in. A nil all draw. Winning the league is out of the question now. Simply making playoffs is looking dubious, but a long way from being written off at this stage.
  3. Results until now don't suggest that, but thatnks for the vote of confidence. Please pass it on to the board if all goes pear-shaped again. Mediocre. Yes, I think I reached those heights last season. Thaks for reading. July - August 2026 (Part One) Stranraer Scottish League Two Given the fixture congestion in August, this will be two updates. One covering the cup rounds before the league begins, and one with league games and any cup matches. Players in: The new goalkeeper, the only player the pre-season pundits have in the division eleven. That means we have three goalkeepers who are decent at this level. Apparently there are some clubs sniffing about Ewen, I might let him go if an offer comes in. Otherwose, Potts might go out on loan. Left-back Langan will keep McGown honest and is probably going to be a starter. Without the loanees from last season returning we needed something in middle. The best we could lure was James Berry. Almost decent, but not a goal thread unfortunately. Jack Bowman is a bit more of a risk, especially as he got injured in his first friendly when on trial. Hopefully he produces, he can play in three positions and in particular Hat's attacking mid position allowing Hay to play forward. And we have also brought in striker Alex Donaldson, who scored 34 goals over the last two season. Albeit, at a lower level. I'm not sure how many games he will actually end up with, but all of these guiys were free and some are on small wages so the risk is not huge. Before the first competition game, nobody of any note had left. But that will be necessary. Again the season start with the Betfred Cup, which the board expects us to be competitive in. Livingston (League One, 10th in Championship last season) v Stranraer – Betfred Cup Group Stage, Match 1 of 4 An early goal against the play for new boy Donaldson. The keeper really shot have stopped it, but failed to do so after despite over to the post and in the ball's path. Livingston's far superior play was rewarded after about 70 minutes. Failre to defend a set piece from a wide-ish free saw us go behind. And we never looked like coming back in the final minutes. Stranraer v Cowdenbeath (Championship, 2nd last season) – Betfred Cup Group Stage, Match 2 of 4 Cowdenbeath smashed us everywhere. But somehow we stayed nil all for over 70 minutes. That was 2-0 down in no time and again we never fired a shot all match. Stranraer v Falkirk (Premiership, 6th last season) – Betfred Cup Group Stage, Match 3 of 4 Another game. Another thumping. We did draw level at 1-1 at one point, but that was very lucky and no second was ever in the making. 3-1. Three losses from three starts, admittedly all teams we should lose to but last season we managed better results. East Kilbride (League Two) v Stranraer – Betfred Cup Group Stage, Match 4 of 4 East Kilbride were perhaps unlucky not to get a goal early on, as they had more of the ball and more attack. We were forced to rely some mad scrambling at one point. But by half time Donaldson had two goals, one should have been stopped and one really nice team build up. Donaldson completed his hattrick five minutes into the second half. Duncan Brown had the assist, good vision too, but I really want to get some goals into him. His second assist came with a defender losing the ball and refusing to run back onto it, Donaldson with four. Donaldson could have had five, but missed the penalty that was given from a corner. Seventy minutes in I was going to swap goalkeepers, but that became forced with McGinn picking up a knock. McGinn's injury isn't too bad, he will miss a few days, including the Challenge Cup game. The final game doesn't cover that, in this competition at least, we went backwards from last year missing the second round on “best second position”. Queen of the South Under 20 v Stranraer – Challenge Cup First Round I really have no idea how strong the Premiership clubs' Under20s are. The bookmakers seemed to think they were more than good enough. But after half an hour we were the side that should have been on the board, Hay had a very gettable goal that he sprayed quite wide. The next time Donaldson fed him the same ball to the same spot, a different result and we had a lead shortly before the break. Hay and Donaldosn reversed roles after play resumed, if Donaldson's scoring run continues into the league he will be a very handy pick-up. A free kick three minutes later into the centre of the area, it took two blocked shots, but MacAuley put the third one away. Dailly made it four with 67 minutes played, time to make a sub or two for protection and match fitness balances. The next round will be at home the League One's Clyde. edit: I realised the World Cup was missing. Make of it what you will. =============================================================================== |Group A |Group B | |Mexico 0 – 1 Switzerland |France 1 – 1 Poland | |Chile 0 – 0 Australia |Honduras 1 – 1 Nigeria | |Australia 1 – 1 Mexico |Poland 3 – 0 Honduras | |Switzerland 3 – 3 Chile |Nigeria 0 – 4 France | |Australia 2 – 0 Switzerland |Honduras 2 - 2 France | |Chile 0 – 2 Mexico |Nigeria 0 – 2 Poland | | W D L GF GA GD Pts | W D L GF GA GD Pts | |Australia 1 2 0 3 1 +2 5 |Poland 2 1 0 6 1 +5 7 | |Mexico 1 1 1 3 2 +1 4 |France 1 2 0 7 3 +4 5 | |Switzerland 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4 |Honduras 0 2 1 3 6 -3 2 | |Chile 0 2 1 3 5 -2 1 |Nigeria 0 1 2 1 7 -6 1 | | | | |Group C |Group D | |Mali 1 – 0 Canada |Russia 1 – 1 Paraguay | |Argentina 0 – 2 Belgium |Italy 1 – 0 Japan | |Canada 0 – 4 Argentina |Paraguay 1 – 5 Italy | |Belgium 2 – 0 Mali |Japan 1 - 0 Russia | |Argentina 4 – 1 Mali |Italy 2 – 1 Russia | |Belguim 4 – 0 Canada |Japan 1 – 2 Paraguay | | W D L GF GA GD Pts | W D L GF GA GD Pts | |Belgium 3 0 0 8 0 +8 9 |Italy 3 0 0 8 2 +6 9 | |Argentina 2 0 1 8 3 +5 6 |Paraguay 1 1 1 4 7 -3 4 | |Mali 1 0 2 2 6 -4 3 |Japan 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3 | |Canada 0 0 3 0 9 -9 0 |Russia 0 1 2 2 4 -2 1 | | | | |Group E |Group F | |South Korea 1 – 0 Croatia |Portugal 0 – 0 Ukraine | |Colombia 0 – 2 England |Iran 1 – 0 Dem Rep Congo | |England 0 – 0 South Korea |Ukraine 0 – 2 Iran | |Croatia 0 – 0 Colombia |Dem Rep Congo 0 – 2 Portugal | |Colombia 2 - 0 South Korea |Dem Rep Congo 2 - 2 Ukraine | |England 1 - 2 Croatia |Iran 1 - 1 Portugal | | W D L GF GA GD Pts | W D L GF GA GD Pts | |England 1 1 1 3 2 +1 4 |Iran 2 1 0 4 1 +3 7 | |Croatia 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 |Portugal 1 2 0 3 1 +2 5 | |Colombia 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 |Ukraine 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2 | |South Korea 1 1 1 1 2 -1 4 |D R Congo 0 1 2 2 5 -3 1 | | | | |Group G |Group H | |USA 0 - 3 Brazil |Jamaica 2 – 1 Senegal | |Spain 1 – 0 Congo |Germany 1 – 0 Turkey | |Brazil 1 – 0 Congo |Senegal 1 – 1 Germany | |Spain 2 – 0 USA |Turkey 1 – 1 Jamaica | |Brazil 1 - 2 Spain |Jamaica 1 - 1 Germany | |Congo 0 - 1 USA |Senegal 1 - 4 Turkey | | W D L GF GA GD Pts | W D L GF GA GD Pts | |Spain 3 0 0 5 1 +4 9 |Jamaica 1 2 0 4 3 +1 5 | |Brazil 2 0 1 5 2 +3 6 |Germany 1 2 0 3 2 +1 5 | |USA 1 0 2 1 5 -4 3 |Turkey 1 1 1 5 3 +2 4 | |Congo 0 0 3 0 3 -3 0 |Senegal 0 1 2 3 7 -4 1 | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| | Second Round | |France 4 - 0 Australia Portugal 3 - 1 England | |Poland 0p- 0 Mexico Iran 0 - 1 Croatia | |Paraguay 3 - 1 Belgium Spain 1 -p1 Germany | |Argentina 2 - 1 Italy Jamaica 0 - 2 Brazil | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| | Quarter Finals | | France 1 - 0 Argentina | | Poland 3 - 4 Paraguay | | Portugal 5 - 3 Brazil | | Croatia 1 - 1 pen Germany | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| | Semi Finals | | France pen 0 - 0 Germany | | Paraguay 1 - 0 Portugal | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| | Third Placed Playoff | | | | Germany e.t 3 - 2 Portugal | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| | 2022 World Cup Final | | 1/2Time FullTime ExtraTime Penalties | | France 2 2 | | Paraguay 1 1 | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------------| |Player of the tournament : Cecilio Domningez, Paraguay | | Club – Seattle | =============================================================================== Paraguay finalists, and semi-finalists in 2022. Player of the world cup is playing in MLS.
  4. March - April 2026 Stranraer Scottish League Two Albion Rovers (5th, 10-15-10, 45points +0) v Stranraer (3rd, 15-11-9, 56points +10) – Scottish League Two, Match 36 of 36 Game 10: Won 3-2, Game 19: Won 2-1, Game 27: Drew 0-0 We did rest a few this game, hoping it wouldn't bite form. It bit hard early, though there is no way McBride was not twenty metres offside. The second one he scoreed was legitimate enough, though our defence wasn't. Shortly after the restart he had a hattrick, this time running on to one over the top and firing from the edge of the area as pressure arrived. On 70 minutes, just before being subbed off Hay managed a scorcher to make it 3-1. And that was all there was, the changes proved some of these guys do not get a start in the playoffs. And so we finish fourth. Stranraer v Ayr United – Playoff Semi-Final Leg 1 A wet Tuesday night kept the crowd below what might have been hoped for. The game itself started with us just trying to feel out our opponents, it seemed much the same the other way. And by half time, while Ayr had quite a few shots neither side had created anything. Armour had picked up a knock, but would hopefully use the break to recover a little. In fact he was the one who started things, knocking the ball out to MacIver who ran almost to right post before crossing and missing his target. But Meldrum got onto it and the keeper could only lay one glove on it without enough force to deflect it wide enough to miss. A few minutes later Ayr equalised. We cleared their corner reasonably well, but one of their striker had hung back and got on to it. From well outside the area, he fired, a deflection beat Ewen and it was 1-1. Brown replaced Armour later as he was getting worse. Late in the game I tried to push more, but to no avail. A draw, and an away goal to Ayr. This is going to be tough. Ayr United v Stranraer – Playoff Semi-Final Leg 2 With Armounr unable to back up, Duncan brown started. And in the third minute almost had a goal, putting the ball into the left post instead. Quality of possession told in the end, Ayr were doing more with the ball even if they had slightly less of it. And a goal was the result, a corner that we were out-jumped on and down to their best striker for a simple finish. That was basically it, we had to try and push foprward to score twice. Not going to happen. By half time we had not managed a shot on target, but had managed a red card. Ten minutes from the end, a scintillating finish from a player I've been scouting all season but will not come here. This was a dismal end to a season that at times looked good, and was quite often frustrating. Into stoppage time, MacIver found Brown for a score, but far too late. With the season ending in poor fashion, the end of season awards were announced. Right back Chris Brown won the fans player of the season, and fair enough. In a sign of how poorly we threatened goalfronts, central defender Martin MacAuley, credited with an own goal in the first playoff game, came second and Ross Meldrum third. I never really found a settled attacking combination, or even individual. Jim Watters goal of the season started his run of games, without much else to show for them. Serviceable but that was it in the midfield. Despite being 24 years old MacAuley also won young player of the tear. After the playoffs finished, Ewen and MacAuley were named in the league's team of the year. Ayr stayed in League One, and Peterhead survived their relegation playoff. We already have a new left back, midfielder and goalkeeper coming in. All should be first team starters most of the time, meaning potential improvement on the goalkeeper of the year. If we can keep Ramsay on another year's loan our starting central mids look OK. Fixing the goal scoring is still the problem. As the English season ended, media was full of speculation I might move to Dagenham & Redbridge in the Vanarama National after their manager retired. Around major leagues: Manchester City won easily over Manchester United to go back-to-back, and Chelsea and Liverpool in England. Liverpool won the FA Cup over Chelsea. In Spain, Real Madrid topped the 100 point mark to win over Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Real did the double, winning the Cup over Atletico in a Madrid derby. And to Italy, and things were tighter. Inter topped the table by two points over Napoli and AC Milan. Roma rounded out the champions league qualifiers. And in the champions league, Paris Saint-Germain won 3-0 over Barcelona. June would be dominated by the group and early knockout stages of the World Cup in Mexico. Not much for my prior clubs, the two Italian ones are below the lowest active league, Achilles finished 15th in Jupiler League. =============================================================================================================== Season|Team |Competition | W| D| L| GF| GA| GD|Posn | Notes 20/21 |Sarnese |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 1| 1| 2| -1|Group | | |SerieC/C | 7| 7| 26| 16| 79| -63|19th |Playouts 21/22 |Sarnese |SerieC Cup | 0| 2| 0| 0| 0| 0|Group | | |SerieC/C | 3| 7| 17| 25| 66| -41|20th |Resigned 37 of 38 games 22/23 |Melfi |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 0| 2| 2| 0|Rnd 2 | | |Italian Cup | 0| 0| 1| 0| 2| -2| |2nd Qual Rd | |Serie C/C | 13| 13| 11| 47| 41| +6|11th | 23/24 |Melfi |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 1| 1| 2| -1|Group | | |SerieC/C | 6| 5| 10| 20| 27| -7|14th |Sacked 21 of 28 games 23/24 |Achilles '29 |Jupiler League | 0| 6| 7| 10| 16| -6|14th |Playoff round 1 23/24 |Achilles '29 |Jupiler League | 1| 7| 8| 11| 25| -14|16th |Sacked after 16 of 38 games 24/25 |Stranraer |Scottish League 2 | 8| 2| 2| 21| 10| +11|6th |Took over 10th, after 24 of 36 25/26 |Stranraer |Betfred Cup | 2| 1| 1| 6| 4| +2|Group | 2nd in Group | |Challenge Cup | 1| 0| 1| 4| 5| -1|2nd Rd| | |Scottish Cup | 1| 0| 1| 3| 2| +1|3rd Rd| | |Scottish league 2 | 15| 11| 10| 44| 37| +7|4th |Lost playoff semi ================================================================================================================ Total Games 218 57 64 97 211 320 -109 26% 29% 44% 0.97 1.47 -0.500per game Titles Nil Awards Manager of the Month Stranraer Scottish League 2 2025/26 April, 2025 2026/27 October, 2025 New season expectation are a touch concerning. Win the league. That would take considerably better consistency. Reaching the second round of the challenge cup should be alright, fourth round of the cup could be tougher.
  5. March - April 2026 Stranraer Scottish League Two And look what the next game is. Stenhousemuir (5th, 9-12-7, 39points -1) v Stranraer (4th, 11-10-7, 43points +6) – Scottish League Two, Match 29 of 36 Game 2: Lost 3-1, Game 11: Drew 0-0, Cup: Lost 1-0, Game 20: Drew 0-0 But before that, Yeovil Town in England's League Two offered an unexpected interview. I didn't intend to take the job, if offered, but attended anyway. I don't think the interview went well anyway. Despite the stats showing we had more shots early, we were really on the back foot. An opening goal just after the half hour mark came as a surprise, MacAuley with a header from a corner put us in front. Despite the flow of the game we managed to hold on and get the win, playoffs are not definite yet but that makes them more likely. Ewen gets his twelfth clean sheet of the season, a new club record apparently. The Yeovil response came through, and so in my next match I am managing Stranraer. Stranraer (3rd, 12-10-7, 46points +7) v East Kilbride (9th, 8-7-14, 31points -10) – Scottish League Two, Match 30 of 36 Game 3: Won 3-2, Game12: Lost 1-0, Game 21: Drew 1-1 After a start where we barely touched the ball we moved to a more possession based game. Half an hour into the game, we opened the scoring with Ramsay tapping in from about half a metre. Scott Brown's cross from almost on the gal line just inside the box allowed Ramsay the perfect run. Despite one very close call, we held the lead to the break. The second half was pretty quiet. I would have liked to have put a couple more away, but the points are the main thing. Stranraer (2nd, 13-10-7, 49points +8) v East Fife (3rd, 13-10-7 +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 31 of 36 Game 4: Drew 1-1, Game 13: Won 3-0, Game 22: Drew 1-1 The match started with East Fife looking the goods, and managed to feed the dangerous Scott Shepherd to a clear finish. Ewen managed to block, but only to ricochet back into Shepherd and from him without directing the ball it bounced into the goal. Ten minutes later we also scored from almost of the goal line, MacIver on the right finding Armour to level things. Sheperd's pace again proved a problem, with a ball over the top he was running on to. Gary Walker grabbed him to stop him, and got an instant red for his efforts. We had to go defensive at that point. Early in the second half Shepherd escaped his marker again, heading home from a metre out. Not surprisingly, we were never able to mount any sort of threat after going down a man. And apparently I am now second in the “sack race” in the division. Seems harsh. I guess with only ten teams, once there has been a sacking or two even a stable job could show up among the sacking favourites. Peterhead (10th, 6-11-14, 29points -13) v Stranraer (4th, 13-10-8, 49points +7) – Scottish League Two, Match 32 of 36 Game 5: Won 2-0, Game 14: Lost 2-0, Game 23: Won 2-0 With Ewen injured, Potts took his spot in goal for the first time in a long time. As always when playing bottom teams, we struggled badly. Peterhead outplayed us everywhere regardless of anything we tried. It wasn't long before they forced their way through for a simple put-away. After the break, things only got worse as Peterhead's Milne struck from an angle twenty metres out despite the pressure applied to him. And then they managed a third right on full time, an absolute blast of a shot. Stranraer (4th, 13-10-9, 52points +4) v Stirling (1st, 17-6-9, 57points +16) – Scottish League Two, Match 33 of 36 Game 6: Lost 2-0, Game 15: Won 3-1, Game 24: Drew 1-1 Within two minutes we were a goal down, a headed attempt at a clearance made no distance, no clearning, and an easy finish. 17 seconds after the kick off Armour had levelled the scores. And before seven minutes were gone Armour had two goals, both from close range, and Hay two assists. Armour had a one-on-one in the sixteenth minute, but his attempt at a quick hattrick was blocked and the ball went wide to the sideline. And then things slowed down, for a while. Stirling's Main got on the end of a long ball, fired away at the near side, and had the shot blocked by Potts with five to play in the first half. Another one on one after along ball, and Armour again hit it at the goalkeeper. Stirling pushed hard late in the game, and in the 90th minute managed to scramble a goal to equalise. Again we had the opportunity to clear and failed to properly connect with the attempt. The resulting chance wasn't quite so simple this time. We are progressing poorly as the season ends, and playoffs near. Vale of Leithen (3rd, 14-12-7, 54points +16) v Stranraer (4th, 13-11-9, 50points +4) – Scottish League Two, Match 34 of 36 Game 7: Drew 0-0, Game 16: Drew 1-1, Game 23: Won 1-0 We brought Duncan brown back to start, just to get match fitness in. I wasn't expecting him to play the full ninety. A good flick on header allowed Hay to run into the box and fire. The keeper managed to get a leg in the way, and we did nothing with the resulting corner. Getting close to half time Brown was looking a bit rusty, but in a nice ball from the left that Hay was almost onto when he was brought down, halfway betweenm the six yard box and the penalty spot. And that was the spot from which the first score came straight through the goalkeeper. There was still time before the break for another, again Hay. Hay fed him running to the left, he turned and scored on the near-side. Ten minutes after the break Hay had a golden opporunity for a hattrick, but went well wide across goal. Brown again feeding him. Just shy of 70 minutes, he did get a third. MacIver's cross seconds earlier had been poor, bur this one was weighted perfectly over the keeper to Hay's head on the far post. That secured a playoff position for both teams, we are in fourth but at least that is secure. And on that goal being secured, the board offered a new one year deal. I accepted. Stranraer (4th, 14-11-9, 53points +7) v Cove Rangers (9th, 8-11-15, 35points -9) – Scottish League Two, Match 35 of 36 Game 8: Lost 2-1, Game 17: Won 1-0, Game 26: Won 1-0 It was tempting to make a lot of changes to ensure some match fitness among bench players before playoffs. But also risky. We dominated the stats early, but it took some luck to get a goal. A long free kick was headed into the upright, and defender MacAuley was there to shunt it home. The seocnd was even luckier, MacIver's cross was low and easily cut off, except not so easily it turned out as the defender seemed to only get the outside of his boot to the ball, just enough to turn it in for 2-0. 68 minutes in, and another own goal from a mAcIver cross. This time it was aimed at Hay, but the defender got there marginally first and scored with more precision than Hay was likely to. It had been obvious for a while, but Stirling finally secured the league title with one game to spare. Cove Rangers still potentially face the relegation playoff. Next update, at least three matches, and maybe some transfer news. Its a Wprld Cup year, but that will probably finish in July and be in the July-August update.
  6. January - February 2026 Stranraer Scottish League Two After poaching our assistant, Ayr also took a coach. So that's two ads we have running now, and a shortage of coaching in the interim. Stranraer (4th, 8-5-6, 29points +2) v Stenhousemuir (7th, 4-9-6, 21points -8) – Scottish League Two, Match 20 of 36 Game 2: Lost 3-1, Game 11: Drew 0-0, Cup: Lost 1-0 A danger game then. A lot of yellow cards were displayed in the opening half hour or so, and McGowan will miss the next game through suspension leaving us without a left back option. Although we are looking at one possible free move from the lower leagues for that position. Stenhousemuir were the better side, but neither team were a scoring side so a nil all result. Its not ideal, but we had to take it. And our under 20s manager has moved to England, to take the main job in the eighth tier (I think). East Kilbride (10th, 5-5-10, 20points -6) v Stranraer (4th, 8-6-6, 30points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 21 of 36 Game 3: Won 3-2, Game12: Lost 1-0 I wish I knew why we struggle so much against the sides at the foot of the table. East Kilbride made all the running in the opening half. We didn't manage a shot until very late in the half, which did give us a stolen lead. On resumption that was rectified, we gave the ball up cleanly to someone far too quick for our guys to even begin to chase down and too good in the one on one. We almost stole the game in the final minutes, with four very easy finishes fluffed inside about 50 seconds. But, overall, getting one point was a steal. Between games we picked up a central midfielder on loan. Jordan Ramsay can't cook, but he gets angry and swears a lot, and it is Scotland, so they might be related. East Fife (3rd, 9-6-6, 33points -5) v Stranraer (4th, 8-7-6, 31points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 22 of 36 Game 4: Drew 1-1, Game 13: Won 3-0 MacIver came back into the side, and just after jalf time went for a run up the right. He cross found Hay, who fluffed it. But so did their goalkeeper, knocking it into the post, back onto himself and into the net. A lead without paying a goal bonus. That was nullified ten minutes later, through a good finish running away from the goal making the angle very tight. Stranraer (4th, 8-8-6, 32points +2) v Peterhead (9th, 5-8-9, 23points -5) – Scottish League Two, Match 23 of 36 Game 5: Won 2-0, Game 14: Lost 2-0 We were getting opportunities, even some reasonable ones. It took half an hour to score, however. A corner cleared only as far as Hay waiting on the edge of the box who managed to get the ball through some congestion and in. He was playing as a shadow striker again, with only Armour starting truly up front. Hay again after the break, Armour feeding a through ball that either Hay or MacIver could have run onto. The better, at the moment anyway, finisher was first there to double the lead. That temporarily moved us to third, but it was a midweek game without a full round of matches and East Fife have a game in hand. East Fife won their game on the Saturday, and the last four teams from League Two departed the cup in the fourth round. Joe Price and Duncan Brown are back in part time training. Price probably wouldn't play ahead of McGowan, when fit Brown will be given a chance to see if he finds form (and goals). Stirling (1st, 13-4-6, 43points +14) v Stranraer (4th, 9-8-6, 35points +4)– Scottish League Two, Match 24 of 36 Game 6: Lost 2-0, Game 15: Won 3-1 Ramsay's first goal for us had a bit of luck, the goalkeeper should have stopped it once he got there, but we had an early lead. Maintaining it would be tricky. Ninety seconds. Except Ewen managed to get a glove and knock it our for a corner. It ended up being ten minutes longer than that, an excellent bit of team work to draw our defenders and create open pass opportunities in the area. We were definitely outplayed but managed to hold off for a draw with only a couple of close escapes. Stranraer (4th, 9-9-6, 36points +4) v Vale of Leithen (2nd, 10-9-5, 39points +14) – Scottish League Two, Match 25 of 36 Game 7: Drew 0-0, Game 16: Drew 1-1 We had most of the attack early, despite not going out particularly attacking tactically. It paid off after half an hour, Meldrum from about 20 metres took the shot and a slight deflection helped him beat the keeper. Leithen's goalkeeper was unlucky to be credited with an own goal ten minutes later. Technically true, but Ramsay had just about got it over the line before a glove was laid on it, to knock it first into the post, and then just behind the line. The second half was more even, and with no goals. A handy 2-0 win, but everyone around us won as well. Cove Rangers (7th, 5-10-10, 25points -5) v Stranraer (4th, 10-9-6, 39points +6) – Scottish League Two, Match 26 of 36 Game 8: Lost 2-1, Game 17: Won 1-0 We finally had someone reach double figure goals for the season, Ben Armour almost walking the ball to the line after 50 minutes thanks to a well placed Hay pass. Overall, Cove pushed us in some ways without really looking all that likely to score. Second and third drew against each other, allowing us to leapfrog both. Nice one, Nobby. Airdrie (9th, 5-10-11, 25points -9) v Stranraer (2nd, 11-9-6, 42points +7) – Scottish League Two, Match 27 of 36 Game 9: Won 1-0, Game 18: Lost 2-0 While we controlled the possession numbers, after a slow start, we weren't relly producing anything. After 75 minutes we fell behind on Airdrie's second shot of the game. A very patient set of passing, with a good ball over the top allowing their only striker to get in behind our defence. Ewen probably should have stopped it, but didn't lay a glove on it in the end. And that was it, we never fired another shot. Second place lasted one game. Stranraer (4th, 11-9-7, 42points +6) v Albion Rovers (6th, 9-10-8, 37points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 28 of 36 Game 1: Drew 0-0, Game 10: Won 3-2, Game 19: Won 2-1 Another game where we should have been able to get on top but looked inept throughout. Thankfully Rovers didn't punish us in the way we deserved. Nothing was working for us, completely outplayed, but scrounged a draw. Every time we look like we are starting to make a move on the table, we produce a string of results like this. At least fifth placed Stenhousemuir lost, we retain the small gap.
  7. November - December 2025 Stranraer Scottish League Two Stranaer (4th, 4-4-3, 16points +0) v East Kilbride (10th, 2-4-5, 10points -5) – Scottish League Two, Match 12 of 36 Game 3 : Won 3-2 A horrible tackle on Lamont, just on the edge of the D, led to a Dailly free kick. The player was lucky to only receive a yellow, and unfortunately Dailly hit the crossbar. Again we struggled to make an impact against an inferior team. Well, in theory inferior, we were actually on level terms in general play and the 70th minute loser was not that big a shock. We blew, yet again, a chance to make a move on the table. Stranraer (4th, 4-4-4, 16points -1) v East Fife (2nd, 6-4-2, 22points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 13 of 36 Game 4 : Drew 1-1 Fifth minute and a bullet pass from Meldrum, low from the right was volleyed home by Brown. Unexpected bit of one off showmanahip in the move, really not the sort of thing to rely on. Brown almost had a second not long after, that time a short chip onto his head from Meldrum. And just before the break, Meldrum scored one of his own. Turner, in the side as Itry to get the midfield right, somehow squeezing the ball between defenders for the straight-forward putaway. With twenty to play we were very lucky not to concede. Tyhe shot too the inside of the upright and came straight back at East Fife attackers, Mutch could lamost have given a penalty in the challenge but Walker did well to get in and clear. Just before the end a Turner long ball found Brown right on the end line, he cut the ball across to Lamont streaming in at the far post and 3-0. Stenhousemuir only drew, and we moved to third; however briefly. Peterhead (10th, 2-6-5, 12points -3) v Stranraer (3rd, 5-4-4, 19points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 14 of 36 Game 5: Won 2-0 Once again, we looked out of place and got smashed everywhere by bottom of the table. And that led to a goal conceded right on the half time whistle. Things got no better in the second half. We barely toucxhed the ball all match, and after 80 minutes were down by two. Stranraer (4th, 5-4-5, 19points +0) v Stirling (1st, 9-1-4, 28points +11) – Scottish League Two, Match 15 of 36 Game 6: Lost 2-0 A superb assist from Meldrum, hopping over a sliding tackler before corssing to the far post and Scott Brown. The finishing header was a bit lucky, but we had a lead after 12 minutes. Lamone could easily have given us a second after twenty minutes, instead he had to wait until almost the 40th to put away a more difficult, but still not that difficult, chance. Stirling replied immediately, from the corner and two heads. That was far too well crafted and executed for us to handle. We brought three subs on later in the game, two of them provided our third. MacIver on the right, to Kerr Hay, who I need to find a place for. He was brought in really to play an attacking mid role but we rarely use such a formation at this stage. Stirling looked to have cleared a corner, but the ref blew for a penalty. Hay missed the kick. Stats suggested Stirling were the better side, although quality of opportunity definitely fell our way. Stranraer v Stenhousemuir (League Two, 6th) – Scottish Cup, Third Round I'm not sure that rain did us any fovours, and certainly early Stenhousemuir were the only side creating opportunities. Lamont was forced off through injury, and that was the only time I saw our forwards in the first half. Dailly picked up a groin strain midway through the second half, and really need to come off but I had to hope he could run it off somehow. And on 88 minutes were sunk, after almost working our way into the game a little in the second half – although never producing a shot of any note. A longish ball, Ewen came off his line but was beaten to it by the head of Mackay-Steven, a dangerous player who only I saw late had come off the bench but was being heavily marked. That header went over Ewen and just snuck inside the goalmouth. That was nowhere near good enough, and one round short of the board's minimum for the cup. We now only have league games for the remainder of the season. Dailly will miss two or three weeks, Lamont unavailable for one week. During the week Duncan Brown adds to the injury list, for two or three months. Vale of Leithen (3rd, 5-7-3, 22points +6) v Stranraer (4th, 6-4-5, 22points +2) – Scottish League Two, Match 16 of 36 Game 7: Drew 0-0 Lamont was available in the end, Armour coming back in to start up front. But Leithen were the better side early and capped it with a string of short passes at the edge of the area and a very nice finish on 18 minutes. Meanwhile, we didn't even realise their third of the pitch existed. When we finally did get the ball up there, Armour missed a simple header and later put in one the worst sprays in sporting history. But he did score on 38 minutes, thanks to a lot of luck with attempted Leithen clearances banging straight in Leithen players. With us struggling to make any real moves as the second half settled in, a superb cross from Meldrum was met by Lamont on the near post, only for the shot to put wide. Armour had a possible penalty denied, and a shot which he hammered blocked in pretty handy style, for the game to finish in a draw. Despite being outplayed early, we possibly could have stolen it late – the draw is a fair return overall though. Stranraer (4th, 6-5-5, 23points +2) v Cove Rangers (6th, 4-7-5, 19points -1) – Scottish League Two, Match 17 of 36 Game 8: Lost 2-1 Lamont's respite from injury didn't last long, he was off in the third minute of this game. That allowed a switch to a 4-4-1-1 and Hay to get serious game time. And that was just about all the action for the match. Or so I thought. On 70 minutes we got the lead through an Armour header. The move had been thwarted three times by not having anyone forward of the ball, a downside to a one striker system with hay staying back more thatn I was planning on. But eventually Scott Brown was found out wide and volleyed in a cross. The reply almost came immediately, but Ewen managed to slap a good looking effort off for a corner. From that, a goal line scramble, a hard hit shot that ricocheted off McAuley before he knew about it. Both sides had one close near miss very late, but we got the points. We still lost ground on third, Vale of Leithen had a 7-1 smashing over second placed East Fife. Dailly returns to some fitness, and will play in the under 20 (which allows a few over age players) to build fitness. On the flipside, Kerr Hay will probably miss a little time. The attacking options are starting to get a little thin. Stranraer (4th, 7-5-5, 26points +3) v Airdrie (8th, 3-8-6, 17points -3) – Scottish League Two, Match 18 of 36 Game 1: Drew 0-0, Game 9: Won 1-0 This was Ross Meldrum's 301st game for the club, equalling the club record at 27 years old. Tghe landmark game did not start well, Airdrie straight up the middle for the quick advance and sacore. And then rapid up the left for cross and score by the same player. In twenty minutes, Hogg had a pair. At that point we switched back to the 4-4-2 and tried going more direct. That got us into the game, but not onto the scoreboard. Which all meant a very bad loss, particularly at home where our form has been holding up for the most part. We're 8th of 10 on away games. Fourth at the halfway point, just in the playoff spot but not with any real grip on the place. Albion Rovers (5th, 6-6-6, 24points -2) v Stranraer (4th, 7-5-6, 26points +1) – Scottish League Two, Match 19 of 36 Game 10: Won 3-2 Dailly and Lamont both came back to the bench, and should be starters again soon. A stunning strike from Watters on 33 seconds. The Meldrum cross was cleared, but he found the ball and put it away before Albion's defence could recover. I'm not sold on any of oiur central mids, but every now and then they all can all produce a moment like that. Watters scored again in the opening minutes of the second half, this time it was an own goal. He got his head on a corner, but not to very good effect. A few minutes later we scored from a corner of our own, this one went to ground, Mutch didn't pull the trigger but Darren McMillan did, as a fifth pick striker he needed a goal while he has an opportunity. Despite one serious Albion attempt, it stayed 2-1 in our favour. We finish 2025 by losing our assistant manager to Ayr, where he will remain assistant. We are not really showing the form of a side bound for promotion. Quite hit and miss. Just 22 goals is a serious issue, given most of the time we're trying to play an attacking brand. There is nothing particularly planned for the upcoming transfer window, but maybe something will present.
  8. September - October 2025 Stranraer Scottish League Two After a packed schedule in the opening update period of the season, this one should be much shorter. Hopefully, more consistent in the W column. Stranraer (6th, 2-2-2, 8points -1) v Vale of Letihen (5th, 2-2-2, 8points +0) – Scottish League Two, Match 7 of 36 A classic borefest. We had all the chances, but only one even made it to the highlights and that was easily parried by the opposing goalkeeper. With teams playing more defensive against us this season, we don't seem to have any answers about how to actually get wins. I sense a nother string of draws heading to a sacking. Apparently it was my 50th birthday too. Cove Rangers (4th, 2-3-2, 9points +2) v Stranraer (6th, 2-3-2, 9points -1) – Scottish League Two, Match 8 of 36 We were really struggling to take advantage of having the ball in their area so often. Duncan brown then made a break and from two metres out hit the goalkeeper. With Meldrum on the right again, and early crosses being a something to try and find a way to goal Brown did finally get the opener. Scott Brown, the left midfielder. It seemed like it was 80 minutes in, it had been so long coming but it was only the 20th minute. He is also the guy we signed while he was at Cove Rangers in their promotion playoffs last season. And then we gifted one to Cove. A simple shot parried, a simple rebound, parried into the post and off the post onto the back of Ewen's heel and in. Honestly. FM gives me the irrits sometime. Joe Price with the pointless penalty. At least it was saved. Ewen redeeming himself. But after the break we did give up a second. Well hit this time, but we really should have been in front. At that point our players dropped their heads and Cove were better for the second half. Disgusting. A very sparse September, with the cup draw at the end. We enter in the second round, and start away to lower league Brechin City. One selection headache was fixed, by Joe Price breaking his ankle. He will probably miss the remainder of the season, leaving McGowan unchallenged as left back. Airdrie (7th, 1-5-2, 8points -2) v Stranraer (6th, 2-3-3, 9points -2) – Scottish League Two, Match 9 of 36 In game 1 : Nil all draw I brought Warnock in to central midfield, not be cause he is any good but because he can play a slightly more attacking role. He was utter tripe the first few times on the highlights, passing straight to opponents, easily dispossessed if he tried to dribble, and within 4 minutes was close to being substituted. And then he went forward and scored thanks to an Armour assist putting him in. That gave us a half time lead, in a game where we were utterly smashed in every position. And that was the end result. After the games where we were the better side and got nothing, this time we got smashed but got the win. We only had three shots all game, despite trying to attack. That moved us into 5th. At least until the Sunday game was played. Due to the cups and fixtures moving, we have not played every once yet, that occurs with our next oponents Stranraer (5th, 3-3-3, 12points -1) v Albion Rovers (7th, 2-4-3, 10points -2) – Scottish League Two, Match 10 of 36 Albion are on a five game unbeaten run apparently, seven in all competitions. An early goal against us, we're marking their sole striker hard but he managed to find space to get on the end of a through ball none of our players even try to produce. Thankfully a mistake at the back on their behalf allowed Lamont to equalise with just seven minutes on the clock. Albion's midfield numbers were telling in possession and chances. When we did get another shot it fell to Armour who, just like Duncan brown this season, went straight for the goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Scott Brown who went near post and just beat the goalie for a 2-1 lead. By 18 minutes it was 2-2, defensively we've lost the plot. We were forced to change formation, the midfield dominance was too much. By then though we were 3-2 down with just a quarter of the match gone. Or so it seemed, a dodgy offside call saving us. The goal spree seemed to stop. It was very late in the piece when Dailly's goal line cross found Scott Brown for the 3-2 lead. And the 90th minute saw a long ball go to their only striker with two defenders chasing from a long way behind. The shot was on target, but Ewen had come off his line and cut the angels to make it a corner. I'm not sure we deserved the points, but I will eagerly take them. Stenhousemuir (3rd, 4-4-2, 16points +2) v Stranraer (4th, 4-3-3, 15points +0) – Scottish League Two, Match 11 of 36 In game 2 : Lost 3-1 With a short turnaround the team wasn't at full fitness to begin with. Despite that I wanted a higher tempo at the start, just to see if we could do that while counter-attacking. We also marked the man who scored a brace last time, and shut down the guy who set those up from the beginning. The result, a nothing first half. We puled back the tempo early in the second half, and midway through brought on Dailly who had started on the bench. It was Meldrum though who drew a penalty in the 80th minute. And who took the kick, top left corner, but saved. Right on the edge of normal time we went a man up, but wothout long enough remaining to make anything of it. A bore draw, but that might be as good as we could hope for realistically on current form. Brechin (Highland-Lowland League) v Stranraer – Scottish Cup, Second Round Duncan brown came back into the side, hoping to find the net against lesser opposition. End to end long balls saw hims score after 35 minutes. That was cancelled out five minutes later, Brechin putting together a string of passes and finding a way home. Lamont gut the lead back with a solid header from just inside the box, Walker advancing from right back with the cross and assist. Right towards the end a goalkeeping error sealed it. Lamont's second was poorly hit but straight, and straight between the legs of the goalkeeper. One more round, and the board's goal will be met. The cup draw was the following day, with Championship sides entering. We drew fellow League Two side Stenhousemuir, meaning we meet them five times this season. There were only three league games in October, but two wins and a draw was enough for the manager's award.
  9. Not bad really. Yes, you had a close call at one point but being new to the division with a quarter of the teams in the relegation zone that is hardly a surprise.
  10. Maybe, as you say, the database isn't quite right in the lower leagues; but that's some set of performances against team well above where the default FM leagues can begin. It will be interesting to see how far you go without many more player changes, if you take that path.
  11. July – August 2025 Stranraer Scottish League Two As things turned the dafter we beat Dalbeattie Star in unsatisfactory style in a friendly, we drew them in the Challenge Cup. The loss to Accrington (England League 2) was expected, the dismal performance that went with it not so much. The Betfred Cup has a higher reputation than the Challenge Cup, but for us with no hope of getting to the next round was basically glorified friendlies where we couldn't play trialists. We escaped with a late Armour goal to beat our divisional rivals to open it. Second, Hamilton Academical from the premiership. It took until the 91st minute for the to score, although we did go in very defensive. We had the better of League One's Elgin City for much of the game, they equalised on 91 minutes and won the shootout. At one point against Championship Queens Park we had 14 shots to 1, and were a goal down before eventually sneaking home 3-2. Second in the group was good, even with not advancing to the second round. The board were satisfied, they only want us to be competitive. Stranraer v Dalbeattie Star (Highland-Lowland League) – Scottish Challenge Cup 1st Round We were very unconvincing, Dalbeattie having as much of the ball and not looking all that vulnerable to our limited number of moves. Taking 69 minutes to open the scoring against a lower league team is not good enough. When it did come, the lob by McGowan that founf Duncan brown's head had was more luck than anything. Lamont came on later in the game, and got on the end of a long clearanc to give us a small buffer. Briefly. A few minutes latersome lax marking on the right allowed it to become 2-1. Lamont was instrumental in our lucky third goal, what I presume was supposed to be a cross was knocked in by a Dalbeattie defender for 3-1. His next cross was more decisive, Brown getting there to volley with the left foot. Th final score looks much better than most of the match did. In the second round we are away to League One's Dumbarton. I had hoped for something easier to advance further in this cup. The summer hasn't been kind to us apparently, before the season begin we have dropped to a fifth place expected finish. Fair enough, we have mostly added depth and little in the way of starting team improvement. There is very little difference in our starting line-up. Stranraer v Airdrie (Predicted 7th) – Scottish League Two, Match 1 of 36 Our lads seemed to decide the goalkeeper was the target. Four clear cut shots with all the time in the world were fired straight at their goalie. On-field domination, scores level deep into the second half. Right on the 90 minute mark, Armour had another chance. This time the goalkeeper had to move a little, and managed the save. That should have been a three or four goal win, rather than a scoreless draw. Stranraer v Stenhousemuir (Predicted 2nd) – Scottish League Two, Match 2 of 36 Stenhousemuir did a very good job of closing our forwards down early, and it took a superb long range effirt from Armour to break the deadlock imposed on us for the first twenty minutes. That was cancelled out with a Stenhousemuir run down the right, very quick counter from one our moves, a missed tackle and well hit cross. Even then Ewen could have saved it but only just got a hand on it. And again we got hit on the counter. We were having real problems despite dominating most stats. Our forwards were shut down, necessitating defenders going forward and then splat twice in quick succession. After the break an ansolute stunner of a goal sent us 3-1 down, at 21 shots to 5 in our favour. East Kilbride (Predicted 6th) v Stranraer – Scottish League Two, Match 3 of 36 I'm not sure what we've done wrong, but we became officially trash at some point. Within 90 seconds we went down without anyone making an effort to close down anything. We did manage a hard fought equaliser, and then immiediately got slammed by another – actually the same – completely unmarked man. After the break, Armour again managed to pull one from outside the area. We do not seem able to actually make a decent move, and are relying on low percentage opportunities even when make a high number. We did get the lead back through Lamont, in the side with Duncan brown doing nothing in previous games. Armour provided the assist this time. In the end, we got the win, but clearly did not deserve anything. Dumbarton (League 1, 4th, 1-1-1, 4points +1) v Stranraer (League 2, 1-1-1, 4points -1) – Scottish League Challenge Cup Second Round We actually had more of the ball and more shots, but not really more actual chances. It came as no surprise then when the Dumbbarton forwards managed to contrive a move through our defenders and score from almost on the goal line just before half time. A second one, just moments later, was harsh though. We didn't deserve to be down by two at the half. Jut after the restart, Dailly had a free kick he knocked out to MacIver not all that wide on the right. His cross found Lamont, just as I was thinking of taking him off and making Brown's head more of a potential factor. They snuffed out any hope with a superb bit of footwork from Alston delivering their third. And I'm not sure they followed up with another so quickly. 4-1 was not at all reflective of the overall game. A loss, fair enough, but not by that margin. Mind you, I can't wait for midweek matches to stop. East Fife (4th, 2-1-0, 7points +3) v Stranraer (6th, 1-1-1, 4points -1) – Scottish League Two, Match 4 of 36 East Fife were second before the earlier matches of the round. I tried something a little different, a rare (for me) three striker formation. Thgey weren;'t invovled early, our defence decided to just smack everything to a contested situation, of which we were winning precidely zero. The 16th minute goal against us was inevitable. It took another Dailly free kick to level the scores, after Armour had wasted two very simple chances. We pulled back to a two striker formation, and after that neither side got a look in. A disappointing game, we were lucky to scrape a point. Stranraer (6th, 1-2-1, 5points -1) v Peterhead (8th, 0-1-1, 1point -1) – Scottish League Two, Match 5 of 36 Back to the boring 4-4-2. Almost another Dailly free kick goal, this one coming off the wall and then the upright after three minutes. Two minutes later, the Brown show. Scott Brown, on the left with Meldrum switching to the right this game, finding Duncan Brown to open the scoring. We were winning the shot count 14-6 but it wasn't counting for anything. Until Meldrum was penned in and forced to just go long from out wide. Armour again made the mistake of shooting directly at the goalkeeper's chest, but the goalie stepped out of the way for us to get a second very late in the piece. A win is good, although finishing is proving a problem this season in a way it wasn't last season – but is all too familiar to this career. Stirling (1st, 4-0-1, 12points +5) v Stranraer (3rd, 2-2-1, 8points +1) – Scottish League Two, Match 6 of 36 The new found lack of finishing is proving very costly. With fifteen shots on the stats sheet, we had not one that looked good. Two should have been scored. We went in at half time level. After the break we went down courtesy of a free kick. As good as Dailly's efforts to be honest. Gbut the second should have been stooped, first by McGowan getting either to the ball or later his man, then by central defenders who had plenty of time to intercept, and thirdly by Potts who has been in goal again due to how horrid Ewen has been at times. A mixed bag of results all the way through, hardly contending for the title material. If things don't pick up soon, another sacking is in order. And well deserved it will be, too.
  12. Its been that sort of career. Competitive without wins, and the lack of wins results in bad morale, turning draws into defeats. Melfi was particularly disappointing. I still think that squad only needed some tweaks before getting somewhere. But lacked depth so a key injury, and the whole team being despondent at the decision not let a key player go and advance his career, destroyed a third of the season. Byt the time things started righting themselves, the board had had enough. Which was fair enough, but it might not have taken much for things to go slightly differently. Ah well, lower level, but Stranraer are their own challenge.
  13. May – June 2025 Stranraer Scottish League Two Stranraer (6th, 11-9-14, 42points -2) v Stenhousmuir (4th, 14-9-11, 51points +8) – Scottish League 2, Match 35 of 36 There was some luck in our opener. Watters was looking for Brown, but a defender was in the way. The deflection, however, only fell to Armour who put it home with aplomb. We had arguably been slightly better in a fairly even game to that point. I need to check Dailly properly, after the break he put away another free kick to extend our lead. Just enough power and some curl, difficult for keepers at this level to stop. The game stayed pretty even after that in terms of possession and shots, but we had put a couple away where they failed to do so. With one game to go, sixth place was confirmed. Considering how this career has gone so far and the starting point when I arrived that has to be considered a success. Seven our players made the team of the week, with a full set of five matches having been played on Saturday. However, off field things might be getting dicey. A supporters trust is putting in a bid to take over the club. That would not bring in any extra money, but could destabilise. Annan (10th, 6-16-13, 34points -9) v Stranraer (6th, 12-9-14, 45points +0) – Scottish League 2, Match 36 of 36 Annan had it all on the line. I misread things earlier, last place goes into a playoff to survive. They were just a point behind 9th, and a win behind 8th, going into the final game so had all the incentive to put on a good performance. And they did come out and outplay us for most of the opening half. Admittedly we hit the crossbar twice from long shots, but Annan had most of the ball and created more chances. Things were reversed for the second half, we looked the better side but again no real chances and the season ends with a tame nil-all. Before the squad went on break, Chris Brown was named the fans player of the season. The right back wasn't playing much for me, with Gary Walker normally preferred in that position. Duncan Brown won the young player of the season award, and the club's goal of the year. =============================================================================================================== Season|Team |Competition | W| D| L| GF| GA| GD|Posn | Notes 20/21 |Sarnese |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 1| 1| 2| -1|Group | | |SerieC/C | 7| 7| 26| 16| 79| -63|19th |Playouts 21/22 |Sarnese |SerieC Cup | 0| 2| 0| 0| 0| 0|Group | | |SerieC/C | 3| 7| 17| 25| 66| -41|20th |Resigned 37 of 38 games 22/23 |Melfi |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 0| 2| 2| 0|Rnd 2 | | |Italian Cup | 0| 0| 1| 0| 2| -2| |2nd Qual Rd | |Serie C/C | 13| 13| 11| 47| 41| +6|11th | 23/24 |Melfi |SerieC Cup | 0| 1| 1| 1| 2| -1|Group | | |SerieC/C | 6| 5| 10| 20| 27| -7|14th |Sacked 21 of 28 games 23/24 |Achilles '29 |Jupiler League | 0| 6| 7| 10| 16| -6|14th |Playoff round 1 23/24 |Achilles '29 |Jupiler League | 1| 7| 8| 11| 25| -14|16th |Sacked after 16 of 38 games 24/25 |Stranraer |Scottish League 2 | 8| 2| 2| 21| 10| +11|6th |Took over 10th, after 24 of 36 ================================================================================================================ Total Games 174 W 38 45 76 154 272 -118 22% 30% 48% 0.89 1.56 -0.678per game Titles Nil Awards Manager of the Month Stranraer Scottish League 2 April, 2025 Initial budgets for next season suggest a modest rise in wage budget. Hopefully that can be matched by a rise in player quality. Prior club watch: Sarnese haven't come back to a playable league. Melfi struggled and went to relegation playout in 17th. Letting Caso for free and Stellone for a lowball £140k may have hurt them. Giarrusso still there, not quite replicating his previous season's league player of the year performance. They ended up relegated and after seven years and 124 games at the club Beretta retired aged 33. Achilles regained some ground after my departure to finish safe. In our league, Annan lost their relegation playoffs. Player of the match in the first leg for their opponents, Cove Rangers, was a guy I was scouting. And we ended up signing. Largely to play on the left in place of Ross Meldrum. Meldrum was our only player to make the division's team of the year. Edinburgh City won promotion via playoffs. It looks as though the support trust takeover will happen, and I'm therefore on a transfer embargo. In the top leagues, it was all Inter Milan in Italy. The league and cup double nicely tied up. Manchester City won in England by a point, losing the final game to the runners-up having already secured the title. Manchester United won the cup on penalties. And in Spain, Barcelona won by three points over Atletico and Real Madrid, with a huge gap back to fourth. They also did the double, beating Real Madrid in extra time of the cup final. The Champions League was taken out by Paris Saint-Germain, over Barcelona. Towards the end of June the new board gave the new season expectations. In the league, make the playoffs. If we can regain the form shown in the last quarter of last season, that should be a decent prospect. The media has us favourites to win the league. That might be pushing things. The fourth round of the cup might be tough, Championship sides are in the third round. Second round in the League Challenge Cup should happen, if we get a decent draw maybe we could go as far as quarter finals in that. The Betfred Cup looks an issue, managing morale in the season opening competition might be important. The groups are tough for teams at our level. One other team from each league our League 2 up to the Premiership. Top qualifies for the next round, and three of the eight second place teams. So, hopefully we just avoid embarrassment against the big teams. We played one friendly in June, not a good one from our perspective but it was against Championship opposition so not a horror show. The new goalkeeper and defender did not have good games, hard to judge them yet though.
  14. March – April 2025 Stranraer Scottish League Two Stranraer (10th, 5-9-12, 24points -12) v Annan (6th, 6-14-6, 32points +2) – Scottish League 2, Match 27 of 36 Once again we scored opening goal from the left. Brown timed a run perfectly top get on the end of a cross. That was undone late in the half with a corner, our defenders were there but just out-jumped and the goal was scored well under pressure. Midway through the second half, we went one up again. Midfielder Dailly fired a free kick from just outside the box, hit hard and placed well. A surprise, given we have no decent set piece takers of any kind. Lamont, as the other striker, had teamed well with Brown was starting to look as though he could not actually score himself. And 3-1 got us out of last place, for now. Stranraer (9th, 6-9-12, 27points -7) v Airdrie (8th, 5-12-10 27points -6) – Scottish League 2, Match 28 of 36 The fourth time we play everyone starts with 8th and 10th, the bit that should be easy starts now. I have to admit to not being sure what brown was doing with his first chance of the game. He seemed to stop, jump over the ball rather than a tackler, have two defenders decide not to stop him, and a goalkeeper wrong-footed for no reason. Simple finish, one up after 18 minutes. Lamont added to his assist by scoring a second, also some poor goalkeeping allowing a simple put-away on 65 minutes to make things looks safe. And they were safe loanee Charlie Moore came on the last few minutes and scored, Lamont another assist. 3-0 and three wins in a row. I completed my National B Coaching course, and the board immediately agreed to fund a National A course. This club might be good for that. Peterhead (10th, 7-6-15, 27points -18) v Stranraer (8th, 7-9-12, 30points -4) – Scottish League 2, Match 29 of 36 A win here would not secure safety, but would go a long way towards doing so. If we could do it. An early goal, Peterhead tried to clear Brown's corner but he got back onto the ball and got the pass into Meldrum who hit home inside two minutes. Meldrum was on unexpected fire, in the eighth minute he fired home from the edge of the area. I still can't work out how he does anything that's not bad, but OK. We gave them a free kick right on the edge of the box as the half time whistle was about to go. Thankfully they could do nothing with it. Shortly after the break, another free kick, this one a bit further out, oin our facvour this time, and Dailly put it away nicely for the three-nil. Dailly got a second in the 61st minute, the cross from the right went into Brown who held the ball up until a player was coming past. And we could start playing a few who need game time. I even brouight on the sub goalkeeper, the one who can barely put on his gloves. Sure enough, we gave a goal up straight away. But only one, and a 4-1 win is handy. Stranraer (6th, 8-9-12, 33points -1) v Vale of Leithen (4th, 10-11-8, 41points, +5) – Scottish League 2, Match 30 of 36 Its not often you can say a team had a careful, slow approach and scored in the 28th second of the match. But that's how Duncan Brown got our first. Practically everyone had a touch, stopping and making the easy pass. One of the few who didn't was McAuley. He was heavily involved in the second goal of the match, putting it in the back of your own net. With Potts beaten, McAuley was trying to head off the line while running toward goal so the result was inevitable. After around 35 minutes, brown got his second. He seemed out of position, basically starting almost at the half way line the play but ran hard to also be there to end it. Ross MacIver on the right doing well in the set-up as well. Their goalkeeper saved them a couple of times in the second half, Jim Watters probably should have scored but finishing is not the midfeilder's strong point. And with the following Saturday off we finished with a perfect March, four wins from four making it a five game stretch. I'm pretty sure the previous game was the first time I have won three in a row this career. The March monthly awards were Stranraer's. Kieran Dailly won player of the month ahead of Duncan Brown. Brown won young player of the month instead. And manager of the month in Scottish League Two isn't a huge accolade, but my first personal award. East Stirlingshire (1st, 16-6-7, 54points +15) v Stranraer (6th, 9-9-12, 36points +0) – Scottish League 2, Match 31 of 36 The top two sides away in consecutive matches might cause a hiccup, if so it would be nothing too concerning. For the first half we were arguably onm top, slightly ahead on shots, shots on target and possession. But without a goal to show for it. Neither side had come close to scoring. The division leaders were a different side after the break, and while we held them off for half an hour the loss came with a degree of inevitability. Thomas Orr looked a danger going in, and capped a brace right on the final whistle for us to lose by those two goals. Edinburgh City (2nd, 14-12-5, 54points +14) v Stranraer (6th, 9-9-13, 36points -2) – Scottish League 2, Match 32 of 36 Unlike the previous game, in this one the team was just disappointing. It was a pretty poor game all round from our side, low-lighted by Potts showing his lack of ability after playing far above his worth over the last two months. The first goal in particular should have been stopped by anyone; even if they didn't know they were supposed to stop the ball. In the end it was only 2-0 again, but the difference in games was that this could easily have been eight goals except it seems the team in second are hopeless at putting teams away. Stranraer (6th, 9-9-14, 36points -4) v Albion Rovers (8th, 7-12-13, 33points -12) – Scottish League 2, Match 33 of 36 To give Rovers their credit, they did well to stop us having shots. Despite 77% possession and the ball in our attacking third for most of that, we only got the same amount of shots away as them. Even with corner after corner, nothing turned into a decent chance. It took until the 90th minute for us to secure the goal, and that came from a Duncan Brown long shot. It wasn't a particularly good shot, but it was on target and clinched the three points we deserved. East Kilbride (3rd, 15-9-9, 54points +9) v Stranraer (10-9-14, 39points -3) – Scottish League 2, Match 34 of 36 We started under siege for about three minutes. El Zubaidi twice saving us by smart positioning when we looked gone. And yet we got a very early goal. Ben Armour has been starting instead of Lamont in some games recently, the latter hitting a patch of poor form, and finished nicely to give us the lead. And Watters found him just inside the area with plenty of space for him to but us two up inside twenty minutes. After the break East Kilbride pulled one back with some good team play, started when Dailly wasn't quick enough to run onto a ball put out in front of him. Late in the piece East Kilbride almost scored from an indirect free kick, the ricochet then picked up by their strikers and hammered goalward. Well, goalpostward thankfully. Despite the loss, East Kilbride secured a playoff place. We lost to first and second away, and managed to beat third away, during April. Hardly the month that March was, but only of those games was really a disappointment. We also have secured a new goalkeeper and central defender for next season. The goalkeeper in particular should be an upgrade, should. And the updates are now up to date with the save. I have played one of the two remaining games.
  15. January - ? 2025 By mid-January, Cantanzaro finally made a decision. Not to choose me. That's why they are a strong(ish) club at their level. Smart decisions like that. A couple of other jobs looked vaguely interesting, mostly at lower levels than before so I thought I might be a chance. Getting towards the end of January, the only interview was at Stranraer, sitting right at the bottom of the Scottish League Two (the lowest division loaded). A couple of days later they offered the role, I delayed a week hoping for answers elsewhere. The other jobs didn't come through, so the task of avoiding last place at Stranraer now looms. The season is 36 games long, and it looks like thankfully no relegation. There is some pretty poor form, at least by match rating, in this squad. That is to be expected I guess. I don't like doing it, but a boring flat 4-4-2 seems to be the best approach. I'm very concerned about the left hand side, both on the wing and in defence. There are definitely good reasons why this team is in last place. The other option that may be used is a very narrow 4-3-1-2. Stranraer (10th, 4-8-12, 20points -11) v Edinburgh City (2nd, 11-8-5, 41points +9) – Scottish League 2, Match 25 of 36 It looked like more of the same in different shirts when in under two minutes our goal was put under threat. Thankfully, they hit the upright. I think we need the central midfield to take control, its the one place we might be competitive in some matches. And we were at least roughly level on possession without playing a low tempo, defensive game. What did come as a surprise was to take the lead, and even more of a surprise was that left back McGowan put in a superb ball for the assist. Duncan Brown put it away reasonably well, but the lack of goalkeeping showed the drop in quality in this league. We concede after the break, McGowan the culprit on this occasion being out of position and allowing a simple but well executed cross. Brown scored a second, again the assist coming from the left. The two players I had the two bihhest concerns over had provided the assists. On 70 minutes we should have conceded, a free kick was barely parried by Potts, their striker who ran on had two shots, the first again parried (actually quite well given the circumstance) and the second pushed well wide from ver close range trying to get past Potts. City did draw level aftyer 77 minutes, long range effort on target and too good for Potts. Have the lead, get a draw, just like old times. Stenhousemuir (5th, 10-7-8, 37points +4) v Stranraer (10th, 4-9-12, 21points -11) – Scottish League 2, Match 26 of 36 Shows how much I know. I brought Lamont in as the second striker just for a look. He eneded up providing the assist, to Meldrum coming from the left wing. All my “the left is so bad” talk, we've scored three from three via the left. Shortly before the break, Lamont provided his second assist. This one required Brown to somehow retain the ball from three defenders and advance to slide it past their goalkeeper who had plenty of time to prepare and didn't. The second half didn't produce any more goals, but the closest chance was again by us. We're still last but, after Albion Rovers lost, only by one point.
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