With Raith Rovers beating Stirling Albion on the same night, Berwick stay top of the Development League East despite this disappointing defeat at Station Park. They were without Barry Hogg (work) and Daniel Watt (ill). Euan Bauld began in midfield before moving into the back four ahead of the hour. Forfar’s number nine was former Berwick striker Jim Lister.
If such a statement is possible after only six minutes, Forfar’s opening goal came against the run of play. Following a break downfield, Grant Goodfellow impeded Mathew Aitken before he had a chance to shoot. Berwick’s keeper got a yellow card and Aitken the goal from the penalty spot.
Two minutes later, the visitors’ defence was again caught out. Lister’s back header set away Jamie Gill leaving left winger Max Avollio to finish.
There was plenty of endeavour but Berwick struggled to get behind the home defence. More than twenty minutes passed before their first true shot on goal. Kyle Scott passed across field to Ryan Porteous but, from outside the box, his aim was too high. For once, the Forfar back men were asleep as Rangers attacked on the left just past the half hour. Keeper Jason King had the chance to save the situation but couldn’t control the ball with his foot. Kyle Scott was on to him quickly, taking possession to send the ball into the empty net. After a further ten minutes, Kieran Ingram was unlucky to see a left foot effort end up inches over King’s crossbar.
At 35, a player of Lister’s experience was unlikely to pass up the opportunity provided two minutes from the break and duly dispatched the ball from the left across into the right end of Goodfellow’s net.
Seconds into the second half, the similarly unmarked Sam Jones screwed up after a short ball from Stephen Scott came his way. It was a rare instance when Berwick got close in. Within a brief spell, attempts from both Scott boys and Gary Dolan went over the bar. In contrast, Ally McDonald actually forced King into a two handed save when he released a real stinger from outside the area.
Lister had retired because of a tight hamstring four minutes into the new half. Not long afterwards, Avollio hit the bar. However, Berwick had the lion’s share of second half possession. Forfar concentrated on preserving the two goal lead whilst hoping to stun Berwick on the counter attack with the speedy Gill a particular threat. On a few occasions, Berwick were rescued by the offside flag.
Jordan Orru became the third Ranger on a yellow card, after Goodfellow and Ewan Herriot, for a late tackle on Gill who collected one himself for deliberately kicking away the ball after one of those offside verdicts.
Berwick continued to press during the final ten minutes. A three man move ended with King saving from Porteous. After playing advantage, the referee delayed a Berwick corner to add the name of Forfar’s Andrew McKenzie to his little list for a midfield offence. This, ahead of Rangers’ last try for a goal which saw Kyle Scott shoot straight at King, again from outside the penalty area. It left the second half scoreless.
There were some worries when Bauld got up from a late fall holding his back, an injury to which had kept him out of action for 18 months, but post match, he said it was nothing serious.
Berwick Rangers: Goodfellow, McDonald, Orru, Herriot, Swaney (Chapman 57), Ingram (Dolan 64), K.Scott, Bauld, S.Scott, Jones (capt.), Porteous
Unused sub: Allan (GK)
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust