Edi Uni vs BRFC | South Challenge Rd.2 Match Report

Berwick secured their safe passage into the Third Round of the South Challenge Cup with a 4-1 victory at Edinburgh University. 

A brace from Cammy Graham and goals from Drew Cummings and Lewis Baker secured victory after going behind to David Maskrey’s strike. 

Stuart Malcolm opted for four changes with Michael Travis and Jamie McCormack suspended – Seff Khyyam, Cammy Graham, Blair Sneddon and Thomas Kay coming in for Liam Buchanan, Lewis Barr, McCormack and Callum Antell. 

Berwick had conceded within 30 seconds when the two sides met in the league and Berwick made sure that didn’t happen again. Instead, they could have had an early lead if someone had gambled on Sneddon’s dangerous low cross. 

Edinburgh University have struggled this season, losing all bar one of their games, but were looking dangerous. They pressed well and won the ball back however Ryan Murray’s lob from the edge of the area was a bit too ambitious and floated harmlessly over. 

Berwick were struggling to unlock a stubborn Uni defence and were beginning to get frustrated as the first half wore on. That frustration grew when Kay was called into action after 25 minutes. Joe Aitken got in behind Callum Mackay and, after drawing in David Ferguson, slipped in Vincent Anderson. The wise man had time to pick his spot but Kay stood tall and smothered his effort. 

Uni belief was growing and Berwick were caught cold after half an hour. David Maskrey won a free kick on the right which Uni took quickly. Sneddon was on his heels and his attempted tackle ricocheted kindly for Will Antoniuk. His low cross wasn’t fully cleared and was smashed home – with the aid of a deflection – by Maskrey. It was a deserved lead for Uni, who looked to seize the initiative even more. 

Anderson was causing problems on the left but Grant Nelson seemed to have it covered. Unfortunately, the full back lost his footing and Anderson produced a beautiful spin past Ferguson before seeing his effort tipped over by Kay. 

Kay was then forced into action again. Murray won a free kick on the edge of the area and Antoniuk’s effort stung the palms of the Berwick keeper. 

Uni had been pressing but their lead was only a single goal and Berwick had a huge chance to get level before half time. Graham Taylor’s lovely flick got Nelson free down the right. His low ball was met by Cummings at the front post but his effort went agonisingly wide. 

That chance seemed to energise Berwick though and they were level barely a minute later. The Berwick press worked brilliantly and Taylor was freed on the right. His cross was only partly dealt with and fell perfectly for Cummings who took a touch and slotted home. 

It felt a little against the run of play but Berwick didn’t care and completed the turnaround a minute later. Berwick won the ball back quickly again and Khyyam picked up the ball and played a perfect through ball for Graham. As the students pleaded for offside, Graham kept his composure and slid it past Lewis Gallacher to give Berwick the lead. 

It was two goals in as many minutes and it could have been three. As Uni poured bodies forward to try and reclaim the momentum, Cummings hit a brilliant long ball to Bayley Klimionek. The young midfielder had one man to beat and sat down Cameron Reid but his dink could only find the side netting. 

It was a half time lead, though, thanks to that blitz in the final five minutes and Berwick looked to extend that early in the second half. Some lovely football released Nelson on the right and, with Uni trying to play offside, he sent a low cross to Graham but his effort was saved by Gallacher. 

However, Graham didn’t have to wait long for his second. Berwick’s press was causing the students issues and Jamie Stevenson used his experience to outsmart Uni captain Matthew Dick and rob him on the edge of the area. Stevenson could have had a strike at goal but he opted to unselfishly square it to Graham who made no mistake. 

With a two goal lead, Berwick began to keep Edinburgh at arms length but got a scare after the hour. A free kick from the left was delivered by Luke Murray and Aitken could only head wide from 6 yards out. 

That was the biggest scare as Berwick almost got a fourth with ten minutes to go. Substitute Lewis Barr played a nice one-two with Nelson on the right but he sliced his cross. It almost caught Gallacher out at his near post but the goalkeeper managed to tip it onto his own bar. 

Uni were beginning to tire a bit and Berwick were eventually able to capitalise and put the game to bed. A series of corners ended with Alex Harris’ delivery being headed down by Ferguson to Lewis Baker. His first effort was cleared off the line but right back to the substitute who instinctively headed home to make it 4-1. 

It could have got even better for Baker in stoppage time. A long goal kick wasn’t dealt with and the ball dropped for Baker who took on a first time effort from range. It flashed just wide of the post with Gallacher beaten. 

In the end, though, it wouldn’t matter as Berwick cruised into the Third Round of the South Challenge Cup thanks to a solid performance. 

Up next, it is the small matter of a 275 mile trip to Brora Rangers in the First Round of the Scottish Cup.