Monday, March 27th, 2017

SPFL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE EAST

BERWICK RANGERS  1  RAITH ROVERS  3

 

Raith’s squad of full timers left Shielfield with a spring in their step,

after this victory put them in the driving seat for the League title, but the Borderers lads can still do it in the race for the title.

Home coach Neil Oliver felt the visitors edged the first half, his side

the second until undone by two goals from set pieces.

It was an unusually physical Development League encounter, respective

front men Daniel Watt and Jonny Court made their presence felt. Indeed,

Berwick centre half Renne Donkor endured an uncomfortable evening up

against Court who scored against Rangers’ first team at Shielfield in

December when on loan to Montrose. The one consolation for the Dutchman

was that Court didn’t manage to score but he did pick up a booking, one

of four Raith players to do so. Watt was also cautioned for getting in

the way as Raith prepared to take a first half free kick but overall,

Rangers were streets ahead in the free kick count. Most were taken by a

trialist but the inability to make anything of them was a contributory

factor in this defeat.

 

The Fifers’ early threat included a punched out corner and a shot just

wide after the home defence got in a right pickle. In the 14th minute,

some sharp passing ended with Andreas Thorsen hitting the side netting.

Rovers keeper Rory Brian’s first serious challenge did not come until

the 20th minute when he leapt to hold a cross by Jordan Orru.

 

Raith’s chances were totting up. Unmarked out left, Yaw Osei was upset

when Kevin McHattie opted to have a go himself only to fire wide. James

Berry also missed after taking an Osei cross. Only keeper Stuart Allan’s

boot denied Berry when play continued after Donkor was left both

aggrieved and bewildered by Court’s robust challenge in the middle of

the home half.

 

McHattie was booked for lip to the linesman as the visitors became

increasingly agitated, partly because Berwick were coming back into the

game. The second period also began with Rangers on the front foot but

the nearest they came to scoring was a 61st minute volley from Stephen

Scott which bounced on top of the net. When an away goal looked on as

Raith cut inside from the left, Allan saved from McHattie at close

quarters.

 

Then, a tremendous volley from captain Sam Jones, ten minutes after Scott’s,

effort, put Rangers in front but the lead was shortlived as Ian Davidson headed in Ryan Stevenson’s 25 yard free kick.

At this point, Oliver sent on Callum Helm (pictured)

to play for the first time since limping off at Shielfield in a

pre-season friendly v. Hibs in the summer of 2015.

 

Two minutes from time, another header from a set piece made it to 2-1,

David McKay heading in Stevenson’s corner. With Orru having vacated his

defensive position in a bid to pep up the attack for a final assault on

the Raith goal in search of an equaliser, the young Rovers rubbed in the

salt. Regaining possession, they picked out Osei to receive a fine

crossfield ball and with no marker in front of him, he finished easily

from a few yards.

 

The teams meet again at Shielfield next Monday ( April 3rd ) in what has

now become a ‘must win’ match for Berwick if they are to retain hopes of

winning the League.

 

Berwick Rangers: Allan, Bauld, Orru, Donkor, Cook, Trialist, Kessels (

K.Scott 81 ), Jones, Watt, S.Scott ( Helm 74 ), Porteous

Unused subs: Herriot, Chapman, Henderson, Sutherland, Goodfellow ( GK )

 

 

 

Match Report by Berwick Rangers Trust