After a draw up at Ainslie Park last weekend, Berwick and Spartans lock horns again for a place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, where the winners will face Hibernian in a match kicking off on Sunday, March 8, live on Sky Sports.
It’s understood there will be a healthy contingent flocking down from Edinburgh to support the visitors so it would be great to get as many Dream Team followers into Shielfield Park for what has the potential to be a memorable occasion for the club.
The first leg:
The ‘Gers will be hoping to get off to a similar start that they did up in Edinburgh when Paul Willis found the net with a deflected effort after only four minutes. Berwick should’ve been further ahead but Blair Henderson couldn’t connect cleanly with a close range shot and after Darren Lavery missed a one-on-one early in the second half, Spartans were buoyed and grew into the game. They put the Berwick defence under increased pressure going into the closing stages, and it eventually told when Spartans centre-back Ally MacKinnon stayed upfield and struck home a stoppage time equaliser.
Berwick team news:
After an excellent team performance in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Arbroath, the only absentee for the game is Stephen Tulloch as Jonny Fairbairn – who missed the victory through suspension – returns to the matchday squad.
Stand-in captain Steven Notman said the team’s performance against the Lichties was a ‘statement’ heading into the replay and he was solid in an unfamiliar centre-back role alongside Kerr Young.
It will therefore be interesting to see whether Notman goes back into midfield and Fairbairn into defence, meaning manager Colin Cameron – who put in an excellent shift on Saturday – drops back to the sidelines. If the boss does start though, it will be his third match in a week after turning out for the Development League team at Shielfield Park last Tuesday.
Spartans team news:
With 11 buses heading down the A1 from Edinburgh, it’s clear to see that Spartans are going to throw the kitchen sink at an opportunity that both teams are unlikely to see again for a number of years.
Spartans goalkeeper Keith Swain was forced off with a head injury in their 2-0 defeat to Vale of Leithen on Saturday. With no recognised substitute keeper, former Berwick midfielder John Grant had to go in goal for the remainder of the game. Question marks surround whether Swain will be fit to take his place between the sticks.
The Edinburgh side have been in poor form of late, but after seeing off SPFL sides Clyde, Morton, and forcing tomorrow night’s replay, it’s obvious that they cannot be underestimated.
Greg Aitken will take the whistle for the eagerly anticipated tie and he will be assisted by Raymond Whyte and Graeme Leslie. The match also has a fourth official in the shape of Alan Newlands.
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6
U16s – £2