Report: Caledonian Braves 0-1 Berwick Rangers

Berwick secured their first away win in over a year at Caledonian Braves. 

Jordan Sinclair’s second half free-kick was enough to separate the sides at Alliance Park, providing the perfect bounce back from the midweek defeat at Spartans. 

Boss Ian Little made three changes from midweek with a change of shape as well. Sam Daniel and Kieran Somerville came in for Jo Purves and Ali Forster while midfielder Grant Nelson dropped to the bench with Craig Reid coming in, switching Berwick to a back three and matching their hosts. 

Braves made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Bonnyrigg Rose. The experienced David Winters replaced injured striker Ross McNeil while Jack McDowall replaced Jamie Walker at the back. 

Both sides were rather off their game in a first half that had plenty of effort but lacked in end product. It would take until nearly halfway through the half for any kind of chance to materialise. 

Jordan Sinclair’s pass to Sam Daniel was loose and pounced upon by Braves captain Alan Reid who got to the byline and crossed into the area. Jamie Watson was unmarked but his header was tame and looped harmlessly into the arms of Dougie Horne. 

Berwick were unable to really get out of the blocks for large portions of the half but did eventually get a shot off. Kieran Somerville won a free kick around thirty yards out but Sinclair’s effort bounced wide of Alex Marshall’s goal. 

The best chance of the half fell to the Dream Team. Calum Smith collected the ball in his own half and ran at the defence getting away from McDowall and David Sinclair before crossing to Lewis Allan. The striker twisted and turned but could only fire his shot over the bar. 

Braves again tried to break down Berwick’s defense but Jack Smith and Winters were restricted to hopeful efforts from distance that sailed wide. 

The break seemed to have a galvanising effect on Berwick as they stepped up their game and began to exert pressure on the Braves defence. 

That pressure created a huge opening. Good work in midfield gave Kieran Somerville the chance to run at Blair Docherty and he crossed low but Lewis Allan couldn’t make a proper connection. 

Braves were still posing some threat from set pieces. A David Sinclair free kick was headed back across goal by Scott Forrester but Berwick were able to clear after a bit of a scramble. 

It was going to take a moment of quality to break the deadlock and it came with 20 minutes to go. A slack pass in the Braves midfield was pounced on by Smith and Allan. They released Jack Wright who was brought down from behind by Winters on the edge of the area. Jordan Sinclair stepped up and whipped his effort into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the season. 

The onus was on the hosts to get back into the game and their best chance came with their own Sinclair free kick. Winters went down on the edge of the area and David Sinclair’s free kick was low and to Horne’s left but the Berwick keeper got down well and turned it round the post excellently. 

There was still time for Jordan Sinclair to force a save from Marshall. The midfielder collected the ball 30 yards from goal and drove forward before trying to curl one into the bottom corner but the keeper made a routine save. 

Braves tried to create late on but, despite sending McDowall up front and going direct, they were unable to get beyond Reid, Cook and Finnie at the back. 

The full time whistle signalled Berwick’s first league victory on the road since a win at Edinburgh University last August. 

The Wee Gers now have six points from a possible nine ahead of the home game against early league leaders East Kilbride on Saturday.

Images: Caledonian Braves FC.