Berwick Rangers 3-0 East Stirlingshire

Berwick recorded their third win and clean sheet against East Stirlingshire this season with a resounding result that moved them to within one point of a play-off spot.

Scott Maxwell opened the scoring against his former club in the 31st minute and the advantage widened three minutes later when Steven Notman nodded home Paul Willis’ free-kick.

Andy Russell, who set up the opener, then recorded his second assist of the afternoon in the 47th minute as he passed to Ross Drummond who finished from the edge of the box.

Berwick were unchanged from last week’s 0-0 draw against Queen’s Park but there was no place in the squad for Paul Currie and Scott Dalziel, who have both been transfer listed by the club.

Last time Shire were at Shielfield Park, the Gers coasted to a 5-0 victory and this match started no different as Berwick asserted their dominance from the word go with Russell having a first time shot turned away by Richard Barnard after three minutes following a clever reverse ball from Maxwell.

Jonny Fairbairn headed wide from a Lee Currie corner shortly afterwards before Notman burst into the box and saw his downward header hit the post after a great delivery from the right by Willis.

The visitors almost capitalised on Berwick’s inability to take their chances in a two-minute spell midway through the half as a goalmouth scramble from a corner led to a Neil McCabe shot being deflected over the bar.

And from the following corner, two former Berwick men combined as David Greenhill’s cross was met by Chris Townsley and his looping header went over Billy Bald but thankfully for the keeper, Devon Jacobs was on hand to head off the line.

After overcoming that period of pressure, the Gers grabbed their first goal in the 31st minute when a great one-two in the centre of the park between Currie and Notman saw the former release Russell on the right flank. The striker ran with the ball and delivered a pacy low cross into the six-yard box where Maxwell was on hand to tap home.

The second goal arrived three minutes later and in the simplest of circumstances when an inviting 35-yard free-kick from Willis was glanced in by the head of Notman for the midfielder’s first goal of the season.

Shire keeper Richard Barnard denied Willis the chance of making it three on the stroke of half-time but it took just two minutes after the interval for the Gers to extend their lead.

Currie set Russell free and when the striker got to the byline, he did well to wait for support and it came from Drummond who ran in from the edge of the box and curled a right-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Totally comfortable at 3-0, Bald was called into action briefly again as he turned away shot from substitute Andrew Kay before Townsley lashed over from the subsequent corner.

Craig Dargo and Ross Gray were introduced with just over 20 minutes remaining and the winger was immediately in the thick of the action, taking on his man before being brought down right on the edge of the area. Currie stepped up to take the free-kick but Barnard did well to tip his fierce strike over the bar.