Report: Berwick Rangers U20s 2-3 Forfar Athletic U20s – SPFL Development League (East)

Fog descended before the start of this Development League match and though it sometimes made player identification difficult, it was insufficient to raise doubts that the game would run its course. All five goals came in the first half, the first three in the manner of a reliable bus service timed at 5, 10 and 15 minutes.

Berwick struck first. David Morris and Regan Graham exchanged passes after a short corner and the local lad’s

Floodlights light a foggy Shielfield Park. Image courtesy of Rod Perryman

Floodlights illuminate a foggy Shielfield Park. Image courtesy of Rod Perryman

inswinging cross to the far post looked like it might cross the line of its own accord. Daniel Watt’s thigh made sure it did.

A swift Forfar attack on the right produced an awkward, low cross which home keeper Mark Walters managed to slap away but Cameron Clark was close by to make it 1-1.

Charlie Denton played himself into trouble on the Ducket side but Forfar, playing uphill, quickly moved the ball across field meaning that the crucial pass again came over from their right. With the home defence floundering, Matthew Aitken cashed in.

Sensing Berwick’s insecurity at the back, Forfar attempted some adventurous shots from various parts of the field. Rangers also seemed destined to struggle with the visitors’ pace. Morris was the home player who looked most capable of matching it though Graham got in a long run before his passage was blocked by keeper Jason King.

On 37 minutes, Barry Hogg showed how it could be done with a storming run in much the same area of the pitch. Showing great determination to regain the ball after being halted inside the box, he went on to finish the job and make it 2-all. Seconds later, with the Loons’ defence now in disarray, Morris was poised to restore Berwick’s lead. He held his head in his hands when his shot travelled wide.

Just ahead of the break, the visitors once more exploited Berwick’s leaky left leaving Andrew McKenzie to score unchallenged.

After such a goal feast, there would have been long odds on a goalless second half. Not that the pace slackened. It was end to end stuff. For example, Hogg cleared off Berwick’s line whilst Angus Mailler appeared just in time to deflect Graham’s shot for a corner after Rangers again cut open the Athletic defence. When the visitors threatened to do the same to Berwick, Walters rushed beyond his area to act as an outfield defender. On his way back, he crashed into the goalpost. Luckily, it was nothing serious. The Eyemouth man shrugged it off after the match, ”It was only a post.”

In large part due to perfect positioning by Walters, Forfar were unable to capitalise on playing against ten men for the final eight minutes. Watt clashed with King going up for a high ball and injured his ankle. Even a man short, Berwick were still creative. With the trialist full back to his left screaming for the ball, Daniel Pattenden opted to try to lob King who was prone to dropping the ball. Not this time. He stretched back and took it cleanly.

There was a late effort on goal from Denton who, despite his earlier lapse, put in another tireless 90 minutes. Robert Wilson was well forward when the ball came his way but off balance and off target, the outcome was an extension of stoppage time whilst King went to retrieve the ball.

Most of the 40 odd spectators would have been disappointed by the final score. None would have been unhappy with the entertainment provided.

Berwick Rangers: Walters, Denton ( capt. ), Trialist, Forrest ( McConnell 70 ), Wilson, Hogg, Morris, MacKay ( Herriot 60 ), Watt, S.Russell ( Pattenden 60 ), Regan Graham.

Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.