East Kilbride’s first ever visit to Shielfield proved a happy one as the Lowland League club relieved Berwick of the East of Scotland City Cup with a deserved victory.
It was the second such match for Berwick this season. In October, they beat East of Scotland League club Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale on penalties in the 2014/15 Final and a repeat of spot kicks looked Berwick’s best hope as they struggled against a buoyant EK side.
Officially a first team fixture, Under 20 players Alistair McDonald, Ethan Anderson, Kieran Ingram and Daniel Watt could lay claim to it marking their senior competitive debuts. Likewise, Charlie Denton, Daniel Pattenden and Dean McConnell when they came on at various points in the second half.
In the opening ten minutes, Rangers were hardly out of the visitors’ half but keeper Jacob Kean was only seriously tested once when a crossfield ball from Jonny Fairbairn led to a volley from Anderson. A little later, Michael McKenna blazed the ball high after picking up an EK clearance. Darren Lavery headed on a McKenna cross but Kean held it at his near post.
A Lavery pass intended for McDonald spelt trouble for Berwick. Easily intercepted, it eventually led to Craig Hastings’ short pass inside the penalty area meant for Sean Winter. Before he could strike, Ingram intervened to send the ball for a corner.
In the 41st minute, Ingram was lucky to escape a yellow card on being penalised for a third time for fouling. Victim Anthony Brady’s free kick was headed down by Michael Hardie and Hastings swept the ball over the line.
The second half belonged to the visitors. With tails up after scoring, they had worked out how to deal with McKenna and Allan Walker’s attempts to dictate the pace of the game, closing Berwick down and quickly getting into the tackle.
Rangers created few second half chances. One time, McKenna was close to getting through but ‘Kilby’ skipper Barry Russell was his match.
East Kilbride were also ahead on corners. One was deflected on to the roof of the net for another which had Berwick scrambling to clear. Brady beat two men down the right touchline and another two along the bye line before Wilson kicked away the ball. The same player was also involved in the South Lanarkshire team’s second goal in the last minute. With most of the home players upfield, E.Kilbride broke in the opposite direction. Keeper Mark Walters faced a two on one situation. Brady timed his pass well, Winter’s shot hitting the post on its way in.
Only eighty four spectators turned out for this game but Berwick expect a much bigger crowd this Saturday, April 23rd, for the final home game of the season against newly crowned SPFL 2 champions East Fife, kick off 3:00 p.m.
Berwick Rangers: Walters, McDonald, Anderson (McConnell 70), Wilson, Fairbairn (c), Ingram (Pattenden 63), Lavery (Denton 50), F.Graham, Watt, A.Walker, McKenna
Unused sub: K.Walker (GK)
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust