A goal at the death gave East Fife a share of the spoils against a ten-man Berwick side, and though the away side may have had more chances in the second-half the ‘Gers may count themselves unlucky to have not taken all three on the day.
Berwick were reduced to ten on the brink of half-time, defender Ross Drummond given his second yellow for
simulation in the box. Finn Graham opened the scoring on the hour mark with a drive from 18 yards, only for former ‘Ger Kyle Wilkie to level in the 89th minute with a headed effort.
Berwick’s first major chance came when Darren Lavery span out wide and drove forward before playing an excellent cross over to the back post. Unfortunately Dwayne Coultress failed to anticipate the mistake of the defender and his first touch let him down, the ball trickling out of play for a goal kick.
A long ball from Ewan McNeil soon after was knocked through to Lavery by the head of Blair Henderson, but this time it’d be the in-form striker’s turn to miscue, his effort cleared away.
East Fife’s first real chance came when Nathan Austin burst into the Berwick penalty area, showing quick feet to skip past Ross Graham only to see his effort come back off a brave Kevin Walker.
Berwick then went within inches of taking a lead as Ross Drummond’s searching ball was nodded into the path of Henderson by Michael McKenna, the striker unleashing a ferocious volley off a grateful Ryan Goodfellow’s post.
Berwick’s aerial dominance continued to prove a useful attacking tool, Lavery and Henderson showing signs of an ever-building partnership, a quick-one too providing the former the space to drill an effort wide.
But the momentum of the game threatened to change when full back Ross Drummond was shown red in controversial circumstances, the left-footer adjudged to have dived in East Fife’s box.
Nevertheless the red card appeared to spur Berwick on in circumstances familiar to those that met them in a home clash with Queen’s Park earlier in the season, and it’d be the ten men in black and gold who continued to look the better side in the early stages of the second half.
It’d take until fifteen minutes into the new half for Berwick to fashion a decent chance, but when McKenna cut inside from the right flank before playing a clever inside pass to Finn Graham, the midfield made us of his ‘new pingers’ as he described them on Twitter earlier in the week to nutmeg Jonathan Page with a rifled effort from 18 yards, nestling past Goodfellow in his bottom right corner.
Berwick understandably limited their attacking efforts from here, and East Fife may have done better when Kevin Smith found space in the box only to head into the hands of Walker.
Austin, who had struggled with a high line from the ‘Gers all day then dropped deeper and found Wilkie who saw his goal-bound effort deflected over by Notman.
Berwick were then denied a goal which would likely have won them the game as Goodfellow produced a magnificent stop to prevent Henderson from netting, the striker initiating the attack with deep cross which was met by Ross Graham. Graham fired over for a determined Graham to meet, the young midfielder crunching a ball back to Coultress who reciprocated his desire with another well-won tackle. The ball found Henderson once more who drove a shot which looked destined for the bottom left, only for Goodfellow to show a strong right hand and palm out.
The save was made all the more important by Wilkie’s equaliser, Smith the provider with a good cross from the right flank, the onrushing Wilkie heading into the ground and the back of the net despite the best efforts of Wilkie.
The ‘Gers put the foot on the gas for the remaining few minutes of the game, but despite a couple of scary moments for the away defence, couldn’t profit. Nevertheless it was a fantastic performance from the ‘Gers who deserved three points. No doubt they’ll look to use the result as motivation during upcoming clashes such as that against Annan next week in the Scottish Cup 2nd Round.