WATCH: Interview with Elgin City manager Gavin Price praising his team’s battling qualities in the 2-1 win over Stranraer which took them to second in League 2
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ELGIN City were “fantastic to a man” in their 2-1 win over Stranraer on Tuesday night, according to manager Gavin Price.
The Black and Whites chalked up their third consecutive win to move into second spot in League 2 and strengthen their bid for the play-offs.
Two goals in a three-minute second half spell by Russell Dingwall and top scorer Kane Hester were crucial to City’s success, after they survived a first half missed penalty by Stranraer.
The Stair Park side, who are also challenging for the play-offs, netted a second spot kick later in the game but could not break down a wall of Elgin resistance after that.
Watch interview with manager Gavin Price.
Price said: “In the second half they were fantastic to a man.
“The endeavour, the carrying out of the game plan to hit them on the counter, was really fantastic.”
Kick off was delayed 30 minutes to allow Stranraer time to prepare after being held up on their long journey north by an accident on the A96.
Brian Cameron fired an early Elgin chance over but Stranraer were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute.
Home keeper Tom McHale came out to the edge of his box to challenge Stranraer attacker Matt Yates, and a spot kick was awarded even though the alleged offence was clearly outside the area.
James Hilton took the kick but sent it high and wide of the target.
Elgin had wind advantage but didn’t offer enough threat to the visiting goal, with Darryl McHardy’s header saved on to the post on the half hour mark being the closest they came to a first half breakthrough.
McHale made two good stops from Yates and Thomas Orr to end a goal-less first half.
The breakthrough arrived ten minutes after the break when man-of-the-match Brian Cameron played a pass through to Russell Dingwall who raced on and applied a clinical finish.
When a Stranraer defender messed up an attempted clearance from a Matthew Cooper cross three minutes later, Hester was perfectly placed to pick up the scraps and fire Elgin into a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the campaign.
But it was far from game over, as another disputed Stranraer penalty award handed them a lifeline.
This time McHale produced an excellent save from a header by Yates, who was adjudged to have been fouled by Euan Spark as he went for the loose ball.
Yates took this penalty and made no mistake to cut City’s lead in half.
Stranraer went with four in attack to chase an equaliser and orr came close with a strike from the edge of the box.
But Elgin, with David Wilson on at right back and Cooper switched to centre back, refused to buckle and played the counter-attacking game to great effect to eat away at the clock and help see the match out to victory.
With three wins in a week against brechin, Annan and now Stranraer, the Moray side are building up a good head of steam but boss Price believes their best has yet to come.
“I still don’t think we are at our best, we’ve got a wee to go,” he said. “But mentally we are at our best.”
Elgin: McHale; Cooper, Bronsky, McHardy (Wilson 64), Spark; R.Dingwall (Mailer 76), Cameron, T.Dingwall (Osadolor 57), Macphee, O’Keefe (Sopel 76); Hester.
Subs: Peters, Brown, Wilson, Dalling, Miller, Kelly.
Stranraer: Fleming; Cummins, Robertson, Sonkur, Burns (Duffy 82); Taylor (Paton 70), Gallagher, Stirling, Taylor (Victoria 70), Yates; Orr.
Subs: Jamie Walker, McManus, Elliott, Devitt, Hamill, Josh Walker.
Referee: Peter Stuart