Another replay for Warriors

STENHOUSEMUIR and Stranraer fought out a fascinating 90 minutes at Ochilview, but despite the best efforts of both sides, they will have to do it all over again next week.

Thiswas a smashing game

of football that credits two

teams that gave their all,

but it is not being parochial

to claim that the Warriors

really should be preparing

for the next round.

With a ?fth round home

game against Motherwell

awaiting the winners this

Scottish Cup tie started at

a furious pace and the ?nal

blank scoreline did the

contest little justice.

"I can't fault the

determination and attitude

of our players," said

Warriors manager David

Irons, "It was a game of

contrasting styles and fair

play to Stranraer who helped

to make it a good game of

football.

"I thought we made more

chances than they did, but

wemade thewrongdecisions

at times in the last third.

"That's what separates

the better teams from the

rest, but although Chris

McCluskey made a couple

of good saves for us, their

keeper was outstanding.

"Thefeelinginthedressing

room is of disappointment

and that is a positive.

"Stranraer have not been

beaten away from home

this season and are ?ying

high at the top of the Third

Division, but our lads feel

they should have won the

game and they will take that

into the replay.

"I am disappointed not to

have won because I believe

we did enough to earn it, but

we went down to Threave

and won after being two

goals down at Ochilview in

the ?rst game.

"So the players will know

they can do it and with the

bonus of a tie against an

SPL side in the next round,

we will all be up for the

challenge.

"We are disappointed

not to be through, but the

upside is that we are still in

the cup and will do our best

to remain there after the

replay."

It was the Warriors who

made the early running and

couldhavebeenaheadbefore

Stranraer drew breath.

Visiting keeper David

Mitchell superbly turned a

Grant Anderson 25 yarder

round the post in the second

minute and Scott Dalziel

might have done better than

head the resultant corner

past the post from six yards.

AnotherAnderson dribble

and shot shortly after

skimmed the upright on the

way past, but the home side

really should have broken

the deadlock in the 16th

minute.

Alex Williams shrugged

offLeeSharptodrive intothe

box, but with only Mitchell

to beat the experienced

striker's shot was less than

decisive and the keeper

blocked with his legs.

Mitchell made another

tremendous stop from a

Gary Thom header before

the visitors came to life and

in their ?rst real attack just

failed to take the lead.

Armand One squared to

Danny Mitchell 16 yards

out and his well hit shot

looked to be going in until

Chris McCluskey emulated

his counterpart's heroics at

the other end by diving full

length to save low at his left

post.

This was proving to be a

real cup tie and the paying

customerswere getting their

money's worth.

After the break it was the

home side that were again

?rst to threaten. Williams

and Dalziel combined to

set up Steve Murray in the

inside left channel, but the

former St Mirren winger's

shot went just wide of the

far post.

The contest continued to

rage from end to end, albeit

with few clear cut chances,

although with quarter of an

hour remaining Stranraer's

Sean Winter should have

done better than head wide

from six yards with only

Chris McCluskey between

him and a ?fth round tie

with Motherwell.

CraigMalcolmalmostwon

it for the visitors in the ?nal

minute with a snap shot that

shaved the bar, but it would

have been cruel luck.

The Warriors side thathad

no real failures – the defence

was immense throughout

and enough opportunities

were created at the other end

to win a brace of matches

– and have the capacity to

emerge victorious at Stair

Park when the teams lock

horns again next midweek.