Berwick head into Tuesday’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay against Spartans on the back of one of their finest performances of the season, as three second half goals saw the ‘Gers come from behind to beat table-topping Arbroath.
Thomas Grant put the Lichties ahead on 62 minutes with his first touch after coming on as a substitute but Lee Currie pulled Berwick level four minutes later with a deflected strike from 20 yards.
Paul Willis scored his fifth goal in six games to put the ‘Gers ahead after a great move and deep into stoppage time, substitute Andy Russell rounded the keeper and calmly finished to wrap up the points.
After a frustrating second half performance against Spartans last week, manager Colin Cameron started for the first time since September 20, slotting into a deep midfield role with Steven Notman deputising at centre-back in place of the suspended Jonny Fairbairn.
The half began with few chances for either side with Darren Lavery cutting inside and shooting over, while Ross Gray was wreaking havoc down the right and giving Lichties left-back Jonathan Lindsay a torrid time.
It was the winger who had Berwick’s next chance as he weaved in and out once more but his deflected effort was gathered by former ‘Gers loanee Marc McCallum.
For a team who had scored 49 goals in Scottish League Two this season, Arbroath failed to muster a single shot on target, coming closest in the 35th minute when Bobby Linn fired a speculative volley wide.
For the final 10 minutes of the opening period, it was all Berwick with some positive, direct football. Kerr Young stayed up the pitch from a ‘Gers corner and found Willis with a cross from the byline, but the midfielder’s header was tipped onto the post brilliantly by McCallum.
Simon Murray could’ve put the visitors ahead after the break but his header was saved by Billy Bald and with only their second shot on target, Arbroath went ahead as substitute Grant – who had been on the field less than a minute – latched on to Murray’s through ball and slotted past Bald.
Four minutes later though and the Berwick were level when Currie collected the ball 20 yards and his shot took a wicked deflection, wrong-footing McCallum and finding the back of the net.
Berwick have failed to come from behind and win all season, but this afternoon would prove to be different as the ‘Gers deservedly took the lead in the 72nd minute when a perfectly weighted through ball from Cameron found Gray. The winger turned sharply, outfoxing the Lichties defence and laid it on a plate for Willis who slotted past the keeper.
The remaining minutes weren’t to go without their scares for the defence though as Young and Bald left a cross from Linn to each other, the ball rebounding off the post before Devon Jacobs scrambled clear.
Cameron departed in the 86th minute to rapturous applause for a committed shift which epitomised the team’s performance on the day and watched on from the dugout in a tense final few minutes plus added time.
Arbroath piled men forward and Bald had to be alert to deny Linn from point blank range before David Gold collected the ball in the Berwick half and played a wonderful ball through to fellow substitute Russell, who rounded McCallum and finished three minutes into stoppage time to seal the three points.
Report by Martin Inglis.