Berwick got their Ladbrokes Scottish League Two campaign off to a winning start as a brace from Blair Henderson was enough to see off battling Montrose.
The striker put the ‘Gers ahead on 12 minutes after meeting Finn Graham’s fine cross, before the visitors equalised from the penalty spot through Paul Watson after Gary Fraser was brought down by Dwayne Coultress.
But Berwick weren’t to be denied against last season’s bottom placed side as, with 18 minutes to go, Henderson met Ewan McNeil’s deep cross to head home for his third in as many games.
After last week’s fantastic comeback against Alloa in the League Cup to win in extra-time, manager Colin Cameron named an unchanged side, continuing in the 4-4-2 formation with Darren Lavery partnering Henderson up top, while Coultress and Michael McKenna operated the wings.
And with three away matches in a row to follow, it was vital the ‘Gers got off to a strong start and they did just that, making the breakthrough on 12 minutes with Henderson, who also scored in the Challenge Cup defeat at St Mirren, finding the scoresheet again.
A throw-in from the left was picked up by Lavery and he laid it back to Finn Graham, who took a touch and curled the ball in for the striker, who nicked in ahead of the defender to flick past Ross Salmon.
Henderson almost doubled Berwick’s advantage three minutes later with an effort from 25 yards but, against the run of play, Montrose were handed a way back into the game when a clever corner was pulled back to Fraser and he was brought down in the area by Coultress for a penalty – although the Gable Endies’ striker did look to be falling before contact was made. Watson stepped up and sent Walker the wrong way to equalise.
Berwick continued to play some neat stuff, with McNeil proving to be a real outlet with his forward running and crossing. The right-back was involved in a move where there was great link up play between Coultress and Lavery, but his goal-bound effort was blocked for a corner.
Graham then unleashed a stinging volley which was turned away by Salmon after finding himself in space on the left side of the box, before Lavery came closer still as his header from Coultress’ corner was cleared off the line.
Early in the second half, Walker was called into action, making a superb full length stop from Andrew Steeves’ long range strike, while Watson launched a cross to the far post but Ross Campbell just couldn’t get on the end of it.
McNeil and Henderson combined shortly before the hour mark as the striker sent a header narrowly over the bar but in the 72nd minute, it was to a more devastating effect as the defender sent over an inch-perfect cross from deep and Henderson peeled off at the back post to send another header through the keeper’s legs to double his tally.
In large, Berwick were resolute and held on well for the victory, but it wasn’t without its scares as Watson – who was the biggest thorn in the ‘Gers’ side all afternoon – had his shot parried away by Walker and from the follow-up, Fraser squared for Ryan Ferguson and with just Walker to beat, he was denied by a fine last ditch tackle from Graeme Beveridge.
Manager Colin Cameron said: “It was important to get off to a good start because we’ve got two difficult games away to Stirling and East Fife coming up. We didn’t play as well as we can but it was nice to see that we were able to grind out a result.
“A really pleasing thing is that we’ve won two home games. It’s important we make it hard for teams coming down here, not just because of the distance, but because they know they’re going to have to fight and scrap to get anything out of the game. Montrose did that to be fair, but we just had that little bit of extra quality.”
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