EUAFC vs Berwick Rangers Match Report

Berwick secured their third win on the spin with a hard-fought 3-1 victory at Edinburgh University.

Berwick were good value for the three points but had to come from behind at half time to do it, with Liam Buchanan’s 13 minute hat trick the difference between the sides in the end.

Stuart Malcolm made two changes to the side that beat Celtic B on Saturday with Cammy Mackay and Bayley Klimionek coming in to replace David Ferguson and Blair Sneddon.

Edinburgh University had struggled all season but they made the perfect start thanks to some slack Berwick defending. Uni won the ball back quickly and, after some quick passing, got David Maskrey free down the left. The wide man delivered low and Jamie McCormack couldn’t quite make a connection on the ball to clear it with Joe Aitken waiting to pounce. The Uni striker planted it past Callum Antell to give the students a lead within 30 seconds.

The Berwick response was good, though and they were denied a quick equaliser by the linesman. Good pressing created a chance for Buchanan but his shot was tipped over by Uni keeper Smith Samuel. From the resulting set piece, Edinburgh couldn’t clear their lines and Alex Harris’ beautiful cross found a sliding Michael Travis at the back post to turn it in but the linesman was quick with his flag.

Berwick were finding joy when moving the ball quickly and spreading the play and they fashioned another opportunity doing so. Good work down the left got Harris some time and space and he delivered a cross to the back post for Graham Taylor but the winger couldn’t get much purchase on his volley.

Berwick were dominating possession but we’re finding it difficult to break down a well disciplined Uni side, who were clearly buoyed by the early goal. However, they did almost gift Berwick an equaliser midway through the first half.

The left wing proved to be profitable with Lewis Barr’s cross causing problems in the Uni defence with the ball falling to Buchanan. He managed to turn and shoot in the area but his shot was right at Samuel, who inexplicably let it squirm away from his grasp but recovered just in time.

The frustration was beginning to grow for Berwick as Uni continued to defend stubbornly. A long free kick was nodded down by Travis but Barr’s effort was right at Samuel. Klimionek also had an effort at goal from 30 yards but it was always rising over the bar.

Things could have been worse for Berwick on the stroke of half time. Uni again found joy on the left hand side, giving Marskey time and space once again. His cross was cleared this time by McCormack but only as far as Ryan Murray, who turned the defender on the edge of the area but could only shoot over.

Berwick did manage to carve out one more opportunity on the stroke of half time. Uni had been concerned with balls in behind and the direct approach worked this time, getting Buchanan in behind. He took his time but his effort was blocked by a combination of Samuel and a brilliant recovery effort from Jacob Taylor.

Stuart Malcolm made a change at half time with Grant Nelson replacing Klimionek and the team responded, continuing to apply pressure to the Uni back line which eventually resulted in the game changing moment.

Drew Cummings lofted a lovely ball in behind and, as Buchanan was wandering back not involved in play, Uni defenders stopped for a second to appeal for offside. Lewis Barr had timed his run to perfection, being about two yards onside when the ball was played. He was clean through before he was hauled down by Reid. The referee had no option but to point to the spot and send off the Uni right back. Buchanan took the penalty and sent Samuel the wrong way to level the game.

That equaliser seemed to lift Berwick who were now hunting in packs whenever they lost the ball. Uni were struggling and second to every ball, highlighted by Barr being needlessly chopped down by substitute Max McGinley on the right wing. From the resulting free kick, Jamie Stevenson’s ball was headed down by Travis right to an unmarked Buchanan, who chested the ball down and poked a volley past Samuel.

It took five minutes to turn the score around and Buchanan could have completed his hat trick a couple of minutes later. More good combination play down the left got Mackay some time to cross. His delivery was missed by Daniel Mair but Buchanan could only head right at Samuel.

Mackay was starting to get some encouragement to go forward and almost picked out a goal of the season contender. Berwick were continuing to stretch the play and Mackay found himself with space. The full back drove forward and from the corner of the box unleashed a brilliant strike the flew just wide.

It was to be Buchanan who would take the goal scoring plaudits once again for Berwick. With Uni stretched, Nelson was the one to drive forward from full back and his low shot was saved by Samuel but Buchanan was on hand to tap home his 8th Lowland League goal of the season.

It was to be his final action as well as he was replaced by Lewis Baker immediately after. Baker could have added some gloss to the scoreline late on, ballooning an effort way over the bar after a phenomenal run from Kyle Baker before flicking a low cross into the side netting.

As Berwick saw the clock out with comfortable possession, there was still time for the Dream Team to hit the woodwork. A late counter attack saw Barr release Nelson on the right whose low cross fell at the feet of Trialist. He cut inside before hitting a shot from the penalty spot that hit the outside of the post and went wide.

It wasn’t to be, however, as Berwick scored three goals in a game for the first time this season while Edinburgh University conceded fewer than four for the first time this season.

Up next for Berwick is a trip to Crossgates Primrose in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.