Albion Rovers vs BRFC Match Report

One moment of genuine quality was the difference as Berwick fell to a frustrating defeat at Albion Rovers. 

Bright Prince’s brilliant second half strike secured a first league win since late August for Sandy Clark’s side. 

Stuart Malcolm made four changes from the side that lost 6-0 at Hearts B in midweek – Callum Mackay, Ben Lamont, Cammy Graham and Drew Cummings being replaced by Jamie Stevenson, Andrew Gaffney, Kyle Baker and Alex Harris. 

With the sting of the midweek defeat still being felt, Berwick started this game the sharper and were harassing Albion as much as possible and it led to an early chance. After winning it in the Albion half, Berwick worked the ball wide to Joe Ellison. His cross from the right made it all the way to Lewis Barr but his effort was well blocked by Rovers captain Sean Fagan.

With no recognised striker on the pitch, Bayley Klimionek was leading the line for Berwick and his physical presence was causing early problems for the Albion backline. He held the ball up well and fed Baker on the left. His attempted pass to Barr was cut out but ran invitingly for Klimionek to have a go from 25 yards and the St Johnstone loanee was inches away from finding the top corner. 

Albion have had a mixed start to life in the Lowland League following relegation but have a squad littered with talent and they always pose a threat and they showed that ten minutes in. A long ball saw Scott Bright look to shepherd it out under pressure from Joe Bevan but the forward managed to nick the ball away and leave Bright on the turf. He had options in the middle but Ellison managed to recover and clear at the far post. 


Both sides were struggling to create any meaningful opportunities until just before the half hour mark. Good football from Albion saw them work it to the left hand side for Corrie Fellows who was allowed to cross. Ellison could only get touch on it and divert it into the path of Bevan, who got the ball out of his feet but could only shoot over. 


That seemed to spur Berwick on as The Dream Team created a great opportunity barely a minute later. The ball was worked to Bright on the left and his cross was right on the chest of an unmarked Barr. He controlled it brilliantly but couldn’t keep his left footed effort down. 

Berwick hadn’t scored in over 300 minutes of football and had another brilliant opening minutes later to end that drought. Alex Harris, playing deeper in midfield, flicked a ball down the right wing which Barr managed to chase down. He slipped it inside to Graham Taylor, who could have went for goal but opted to play it across the six yard box but Baker was on the heels and the ball just evaded him. 

It almost proved to be costly just before half time as Albion once again reminded everyone how dangerous they could be. A corner wasn’t fully cleared and Alex McCaw lofted a ball into the area from the right. Fagan was allowed to get around the back and his header skipped off the surface and bounced off the post before, seconds later, Niyah Joseph flashed a shot wide of the post from the edge of the area. 

It seemed though that Berwick had managed to get through to half time level but Albion did have one final chance before the break. Another long diagonal to the right flank found Adam Fernie unmarked in the area. The full back cushioned his header across but Prince was unable to stretch his long legs far enough to get his attempt on target. 

The first half was a cagey affair between two sides but Berwick almost found a breakthrough seconds after the restart. Klimionek found Taylor on the right and his low ball was perfect for Barr but the midfielder could only shoot right at Ross Connelly. 

Just five minutes later, though, it was Albion who found the breakthrough. Bevan trod on the ball 30 yards from goal and fell onto it and, while everyone stopped, he was able to knock it to Prince. The big striker, who had been marshaled well by the Berwick defence, drove into the box, held off Bright and Jamie McCormack and unleashed a wonderful strike into the top corner.

It was the first moment of genuine quality in the game but Berwick responded well and almost found an equaliser after the hour mark. A Jamie Stevenson corner from the left caused havoc in the Albion area and the ball fell kindly to McCormack at the back post but his volley went just agonisingly over the bar. 

The game was beginning to open up as Berwick looked for an equaliser and also tired after three difficult away games in a week and Bevan nearly profited from that. Barry Duncan’s corner from the left found McCaw unmarked at the back post. The wide man sliced his volley right to Bevan but, again, the forward couldn’t keep his effort down. 

Albion were starting to exert a little bit of control on the game but were grateful that Connelly was alert with twenty minutes to go. Harris collected the ball in midfield and found Taylor 25 yards out. With few options, he tried a strike with his weaker left foot which had Connelly scrambling to turn it behind. 

Berwick were beginning to run out of ideas and almost gifted Albion a second with ten minutes to go. Baker slipped in his own half and Bevan fed Joseph who skipped past two Berwick challenges but his low effort was brilliantly saved by the feet of Callum Antell. 

Stuart Malcolm had introduced Cammy Graham and Drew Cummings late on and the two added some fresh impetus that caused some nerves in the Albion backline although a mix of poor decisions and kind breaks of the ball ensured that no real chances were created. However, with a minute to play, Alan Reid hauled down Klimionek on the edge of the area. The youngster picked himself up and struck a wonderful free kick that Connelly had to acrobatically tip over the bar. 

It would end up being a fourth consecutive defeat without scoring for Berwick as Albion move themselves up to 14th in the Lowland League, three points behind The Dream Team in 12th. 

Next up is another away day in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup as Berwick travel to East of Scotland First Division side Camelon Juniors on Friday night.