With this crushing victory, second placed Stirling cut the gap at the top of the Development League East to two points and in the process made a mighty dent in leaders Berwick’s goal difference. Albion were clearly the better team but were helped by an error strewn display from Berwick. The contrast with last week’s winning performance at Alloa could hardly have been greater yet theoretically, with the inclusion of Sean Brennan, Jordan Orru, Euan Bauld and Barry Hogg, Rangers put out a stronger team on the Forthbank Astro.
Ross Kavanagh, who was in the first team at Shielfield a week earlier, scored Albion’s fourth goal with a penalty and had a hand in three others including the brace netted by the other big danger man, Darren Smith.
Rangers started alright and home keeper Cammy Binnie had to make the first save from Orru after he overlapped on the left off a Gary Dolan pass but as play progressed, the warning signs were there. With Berwick men backing off, Conan Shields was wide and a trialist shot over the bar from 25 yards.
The first goal came from a 32nd minute set piece. Daniel Watt committed a foul 20 yards out and Connor McMullan’s free kick ended up in the top corner of the net.
Rangers, whose ball retention was very poor, had only two other serious scoring opportunities all night. Bauld used his shoulder to propel a Jamie Chapman corner ball goalwards but it was stopped on the line leaving Albion to go two up on 38 minutes. Brennan was left defenceless when Orru gifted the ball to Sam Davidson. He played it forward to Kavanagh to cross to Smith for an easy finish. Before the interval, ex-Motherwell man Smith hit the post and Brennan saved from Kavanagh.
A minute after the break, Smith again had the ball in the net from a Kavanagh pass but was ruled offside. He waited just two minutes to claim a second legitimate goal again set up by ‘Kav’ who rounded Adam Forrest after the Berwick back was unable to control the ball.
Berwick should have pulled one back in the 52nd minute. Hogg sent the trialist no.10, a scorer at Alloa, on a run towards goal, Stirling wrongly expecting an offside flag. Binnie, arms aloft, deterred him from a first time strike. Instead, he veered left but his angled shot was unconvincing and landed on the roof of the net.
Stirling increased their lead in the 71st minute when Kavanagh’s spot kick sent Brennan the wrong way, Bauld punished for wrapping his arms around an opponent as Stirling pressed again.
The hosts exhibited more good defensive work when Watt picked up a stray pass, only to be shadowed by Kyle Banner who made sure Berwick’s no. 9 wouldn’t get a decent hit of the ball.
The Binos rubbed salt into Berwick wounds with a fifth goal in the final minute. Practically given the freedom of the park, they stormed out of their own half, Kavanagh again responsible for the final pass, this time to sub ‘Reg’ McLaren to happily knock the ball in near the far post.
Berwick Rangers: Brennan, Herriot, Orru, Forrest ( Swaney 74 ), Bauld, Hogg, Chapman, Jones ( capt. ), Watt, A.Trialist ( B.Trialist 59 ), Dolan ( Henderson 64 )
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.