Berwick Rangers missed the chance to go above Alloa in the Development League East table at a wet Indodrill Stadium where the pitch has been narrowed by four and a half yards on either side since Berwick last played there in August.
The Development League can be as unpredictable as SPFL 2. Last week, Berwick won at Stenhousemuir. Stenny then beat a misfiring Alloa 3-0 at the Indodrill and now Alloa beat Berwick….but literally, only just. This was a full throttle Development League game in which both sides almost paid the price for ill judged back passes to the keeper. Each hit the bar, Rangers in the first half, Alloa after the break, and the last goal for each came from a header.
Over the 90 minutes, Alloa definitely had the greater number of shots at goal. The first came after just two minutes but Declan McDonald was wide after being forced to commit himself by Mark Walters rushing out to challenge him. McDonald missed again with an angled shot from inside the penalty area but it was another warning to the visitors as Alloa darted about looking for an early breakthrough. They got that in the 19th minute, Ryan Hoggan’s corner headed in at the back post by Kierin Coleman.
Rangers took only five minutes to equalise. Keeper Andrew Wilson misjudged Ewan Herriot’s lob and Harry Galloway, one of four trialists in the Berwick XIV, promptly took advantage of the error.The goal lifted Berwick. Robert Kinnaird was only inches out after Charlie Denton made the running.
Michael Hardie attempted to score from 35 yards after Walters left his area to make a clearance but the keeper was back in time to save. However, he was beaten by Adam Martin a minute from the break. Ewan Herriot handled the ball but referee Scott Lambie, consistent in playing advantage, let it go as the ball returned to Martin whose short inswinger hit Walters’ arm on the way in.
The Wasps were buzzing again as the second half got underway. Berwick sometimes overestimated the time they could have on the ball as Alloa’s players were quickly on to them. Hardie, like Martin, a fast, ball playing winger, was allowed to run before Walters punched away his shot. Coleman’s thirty yarder floated over the bar. The best Berwick offered in return were a couple of long shots, one, a low drive by Alistair McDonald just a foot off target.
Walters made a point blank save from Scott Hynd. The same player was too high with an overhead kick and despite Alloa’s pressure and possession, the score remained 2-1 going into the final five minutes. With just three left, Rangers appeared to have sneaked a point with a goal featuring the respective captains. Lewis Wilson headed Denton’s cross from the left into his own net.
On the advent of stoppage time, Alloa had the last say with Hynd rising to head in a right wing cross from substitute Callum Hutchison.
Berwick manager John Coughlin was at the game and felt the young Rangers deserved a point but based on the match stats, Alloa would claim that the result was right.
Berwick meet Stenhousemuir again at Shielfield this coming Wednesday, March 16th. Kick off is at 7:45 p.m.
Berwick Rangers: Walters (Cockburn 73), Herriot, Anderson, A.McDonald, McConnell, Forrest, Denton, Ingram, Watt, Galloway* (Sutherland* 52), Kinnaird* (Donoghue* 67)
* Denotes trialist
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust