Having lost twice to Livingston already this season, Rangers went into this match as underdogs but they picked up their third Development League win in style after turning around at half time with a 3-0 lead.
Blair Henderson scored twice. Loick Mangala became the first of Berwick’s French players to score a Development League goal. French trialist Maxim Veyreinc distributed some excellent through balls. His tenacity exemplified the commitment of the whole team in which centre backs Gregor Watson and Barry Hogg were outstanding.
Hogg, a strong candidate for man of the match, showed great persistence upfield in the left hand corner, not only to win the ball but to then go past two players to deliver into the box from where Henderson hit the post.
Berwick lost Matthew Quinn to injury after he went down inside the visitors’ penalty area. He was replaced by Greg Binnie, later booked for an illegal tackle on Jack Cook which saw both men on the ground for a couple of minutes.
Livi, moving the ball at speed, missed a chance when Myles Hippolyte failed to connect with the ball 8 yards out after it came his way off a home player following a cross into the box. But the 20 year old Londoner, formerly on Brentford’s books, remained Livingston’s most dangerous attacking player throughout.
Almost half an hour had passed when Berwick took the lead. The ball was played to Euan Bauld and then on to Mangala out on the left. His flat cross was converted by Henderson.
Seconds later, Watson was unfortunate that his kick was charged down by Nejc Praprotnik who raced towards goal. Keeper Nils Bleakley blew him slightly off course by going low but the real saviour was Hogg who got back to make a timely tackle on the Slovene which earned the plaudits of his teammates.
Rangers went on to score twice in two minutes. Calum Helm collected Henderson’s short flick and volleyed home from the right. Four minutes ahead of the break, Ben Miller and Henderson combined to give Mangala the opportunity to score his first Berwick goal.
Livi came out early for part two and struck early. Ross Lamb took a pass from Hippolyte and though Bleakley got a hand to his shot, it finished in the corner of the net. Lamb was unlucky when another effort curled just outside the post.
The blue team’s chances of clawing their way back were further diminished when Berwick restored the three goal margin in the 66th minute. Keeper Kevin Walker dived to stop a shot from the left but couldn’t hold the ball and Henderson was on target to secure his second goal of the night.
Shaun Rutherford pulled one back in the 88th minute and the visitors almost got another from a bit of a goalmouth scramble but Bleakley’s ungainly save was effective in stopping the ball trickling over the line at his near post.
Looking for his hat trick, Henderson fired a 20 yard free kick over the bar but Rangers still had the final say. Following Miller’s short corner, the Livingston defence was alert to Jack Philp’s cross but didn’t spot Bauld whose headed goal in stoppage time took them by surprise.
Berwick left the field to richly deserved applause.
Berwick Rangers: Bleakley, Herriot* ( Herdman* 72 ), Bauld, Hogg*, Quinn* ( Binnie* 16 ), Watson, Helm*, Miller ( capt.), B.Henderson, Veyreinc*, Mangala ( Philp* 52 )