SPFL Development League East at New Victoria Park, Newtongrange
BERWICK RANGERS 3 STIRLING ALBION 1
With first team games scheduled for Shielfield on successive Saturdays, Berwick switched this home fixture to New Victoria Park, home of Newtongrange Star. On a cold but still night, Star opened their tea bar prompting much pre-match patter about pie eating goalkeepers!
The win puts Berwick back on top of the table dislodging Raith Rovers who won 1-0 at Alloa on Monday. The defining period of the game was the opening twenty minutes when a confident Berwick were clearly on top. After that, there wasn’t a lot between the teams who had already beaten each other once this season.
Berwick included a couple of trialists, one of whom headed over from a corner early on. The first goal came in the 12th minute. Daniel Watt was fouled near the left touchline. Stephen Scott got first touch to Jordan Orru’s excellent free kick but goalkeeper Ronan Fallens saved his shot, Watt making sure with the second attempt.
A move involving an unlikely permutation of passes ended with Fallens turning another Watt effort around his post. Next up, he saved a header from Berwick’s number nine.
Stirling’s first attempt on goal came after 21 minutes. Seven minutes later, they unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty when Conan Shields fell inside the penalty area.
Albion tended to keep the ball on the ground whilst Rangers continued to play it up to Watt and Stephen Scott sometimes by air, though it was very much on the deck when Kyle Scott went on a long run after breaking up a Stirling attack. It finished with Watt winning another corner sent over all the waiting heads by one of the trialists. The number 6 then saw his header saved by Fallens after Euan Bauld pumped forward a 40 yard free kick.
Minutes into the second half, Albion passed up a good chance to draw level. It was a rare instance of the Black and Gold defence floundering.
In the clear, Connor McMullan volleyed wide after Ross Cameron knocked a long ball back in his direction. Shortly afterwards, Rangers doubled their lead. Joining the attack, Ewan Herriot, who gave another resolute performance, won a corner. A short one was taken, and via a deflection off an Albion hand, the ball reached Jack Cook who swept it past Fallens.
Renne Donkor was lectured by the ref after he sent Cameron sprawling.
Grant Goodfellow palmed away the free kick but in the 68th minute, another one was more successful. It was a long one taken by Sam Davidson. Goodfellow got a hand to it but this only helped Scott Burns to return the ball with a header which hit the bar before dropping over the line.
Berwick quickly regained their two goal lead. A move on the left seemed doomed when it appeared at first that Jamie Henderson looked destined to lose the ball inside the box, only for his his persistence to pay off with a pass to Orru. He put in a short cross which Watt stretched forward to head into the bottom corner of the net.
Both displaying skilful footwork, sub Ricardo Kessels combined with Watt in a move which looked capable of producing a fourth goal but for one pass too many, Daniel hitting the side netting.
All the same, a competent performance by Rangers Under 20s whose reputation is spreading a little with Head of Youth Coaching Derek McKenzie interviewed by a local radio station after the match.
Berwick Rangers: Goodfellow, Bauld, Herriot, Donkor, Cook, A.Trialist ( Kessels 71 ), B.Trialist, K.Scott ( McDonald 82 ), Watt, Orru, S.Scott ( Henderson 60 )
Unused subs: Porteous, Chapman, Forrest, Allan ( GK )
Report by Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust
Development League East Table