Report: Berwick Rangers U20s 2-0 Stirling Albion U20s – SPFL Development League (East)

Stirling were sitting at the top of the Development League East table with five wins and a draw from their opening six matches but Berwick ended their unbeaten record with two well taken first half goals and a gritty, backs to the wall second half performance.

Floodlights illuminate Shielfield Park as the 'Gers enjoy a winning performance against Stirling. Image courtesy of Rod Perryman

Floodlights illuminate Shielfield Park as the ‘Gers enjoy a winning performance against Stirling. Image courtesy of Rod Perryman

The second period echoed the first team’s experience on the same pitch four days earlier. For captain of the night, Robert Wilson, it was practically a re-run of the second 45 minutes against East Fife which he also played.

Albion never looked entirely comfortable in the opening 45 as Berwick got in amongst them to restrict their ball playing opportunities. They pinned a lot of hopes on tricky left winger Moses Olanweratu who presented a tough challenge to his marker Alistair McDonald in his first appearance for Rangers since being carried off with ligament trouble at Cowdenbeath six weeks earlier.

The first true scoring chance fell to Stirling. Ethan Anderson popped up on the line to hoof away the ball when, near to one post, Jordan Herron tried to steer the ball away from keeper Mark Walters and into the net across by the other post.

David Morris was busy tyring to create chances but it was Cal Sheridan who initiated the attack which led to Berwick scoring on 18 minutes. Regan Graham finished it. Albion gave him too much space to advance before he let rip with a super shot from 30 yards which no one saw coming.

Graham had two further chances, one in each half, to put the game beyond Stirling. Relieving Scott Davidson of the ball, he left defenders in his wake but Cameron Binnie did well to get down to disrupt the attack.

Later, as Berwick showed they could still create chances when they got men in numbers into the Albion half, an impressive passing sequence involving Morris, Barry Hogg and Graham ended with Regan shooting wide.

Before all this, Stirling were punished again in the 22nd minute, this time for losing the ball deep inside their own half. It soon reached David Sutherland. The little man worked his way between and past defenders ahead of slipping the ball beyond keeper Binnie.

Rangers were hemmed inside their own half for the first quarter of an hour following the break prompting coach Neil Oliver to make what proved a shrewd move. He pulled off Sutherland and moved McDonald forward as an extra midfielder. Adam Forrest came on to play at the back. It left Scott Russell as the lone Ranger permanently stationed inside the visitors’ territory.

Olanweratu still posed a threat but if he did beat the first defender, Wilson, who hardly put a foot wrong, was there to step in. In addition, Walters looked secure in goal, covering for any slips by the younger players in front of him. Hogg was another who shone, running himself into the ground in a display which underlined his team’s determination to win.

Berwick Rangers: Walters, McDonald, Anderson, Sheridan ( Swanney 50 ), Wilson ( capt. ), Hogg, Morris, Regan Graham, Sutherland ( Forrest 57 ), S.Russell, Dolan ( MacKay 78 )

Unused sub: Shiel (GK)


Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.