It was a close run thing in the end but after turning around 3-0 up at half time, Berwick’s Under 20s held on to make it 6 points out of 6 from their two opening Development League games. On a pea souper of a night, spectators found it difficult to identify the ghostly forms of players on the far side of the field. What they did see was an exciting first half performance from the home side with players backing up each other and running into the right spots at the right times. With a little more composure, the first half margin might have been greater.
The first goal came after just four minutes. Positioned close to the bye line, captain Sam Jones hit the far corner of the net from the narrowest of angles.
In one way or another, Daniel Watt had a hand in Rangers’ other three scores starting with their second goal on eleven minutes. Advancing from midfield, he put through Steven Scott. Albion keeper Cameron Binnie slipped as he came out. Though he made a partial recovery to make a challenge for the ball, the unruffled Scott was still able to slot it home.
The same player almost had Binnie in trouble again. Right on his line, the Stirling skipper was unable to grasp Scott’s long, low drive from the right and was only saved by a teammate kicking the ball away for a corner.
Berwick went three up after 21 minutes. Binnie got no more than a touch when Watt challenged him for Adam Forrest’s high free kick leaving Jones to knock the loose ball into an empty net.
Albion’s best first half chance followed six minutes later. Tommy McAllister curled the ball a little over the bar after Forrest was left isolated by a snap long ball upfield.
The second half was almost a complete reversal of the first. Stirling got a grip in midfield and made most of the running. They only had to wait two minutes before Ross Cameron’s long shot beat Stuart Allan in the Berwick goal.
Jones threatened to restore the three goal margin beating two men as he twisted and turned towards Binnie’s near post but his only reward was a corner. Instead, despite the linesman’s flag being up for offside, Cameron scored again for Stirling just beyond the hour. Referee Duncan Smith explained to his assistant that he felt Cameron was level with, not in front of the defence, and allowed the goal to stand.
Albion were less happy when Mr. Smith booked Scott Burns for pulling Watt to stop him running on to the ball and awarded Berwick a 70th minute penalty. Kieran Ingram comfortably beat Binnie.
That temporarily took some of the sting out of the Binos but their pressure resumed and three corners in a row were won around the 83rd minute. From yet another, Allan’s contortion helped him punch away the ball to prevent it squeezing in beside his post.
In stoppage time, Ross Smith’s free header off Ryan Lockie’s free kick made it 4-3.
Berwick Rangers: Allan, Herriot (McDonald 73), Porteous, Forrest, Swaney, Ingram, K.Scott, Chapman (King 69), Watt, Jones (capt), S.Scott (Fiddler* 69)
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.