Not so much a game of two halves, more one in which the final 30 minutes were markedly different from the opening hour. Berwick were 2-0 down at half time and in the quarter of an hour immediately afterwards, did little to suggest they might be able to turn things round. That all changed with a double substitution after 60 minutes.
With Kevin Walker suspended, Mark Walters started in goal in the SPFL for only the second time. In a potential nightmare for commentators, Marc Waters, on loan from Partick Thistle, was between the posts for Clyde. Jordan McGregor returned after a one match ban with Berwick skipper Jonny Fairbairn dropping to the bench in the only other change to the eleven which kicked off against Annan in midweek.
Inside the first minute, Ewan McNeil clattered into David Gormley, perhaps a warning to the Clyde man not to expect such an easy ride as when he bagged four goals at Shielfield in November. Once he shook off the effects of this early landfall, Gormley and strike partner John Gemmell proved a handful for the visiting defence with big John often more than a match for Brian Martin in the air.
Clyde threatened after only five minutes. An exchange of passes between Ross Millen finished with Scott Linton’s shot curling just outside the far post. When Michael McKenna attempted a hefty swipe at the ball, he connected instead with Sean Higgins. The free kick was headed on towards Chris Smith but the beefy defender was too fast on to the ball and sent it screaming over the bar.
As the opening half hour drew to a close, Gemmell hit the post. Berwick then conceded two goals inside a minute. Linton’s was from the spot. The linesman signalled to referee Mike Taylor that Martin handled and play was brought back for Linton to send Walters the wrong way. Martin was booked for protesting against the decision.
Linton, who was judged home man of the match, set up the second goal with a cross from near the touchline to the unmarked Gemmell who netted with a low header.
Rangers more promising first half moves usually died because of a poor final pass. As a result, they only got two serious sniffs at goal both from Darren Lavery. One shot was high, the other wide.
Clyde pressed again on the restart but there was a dramatic change with the introduction of Finn Graham and Dylan Stevenson who infused new life into the team. Berwick made space with more incisive passing helped by Clyde’s bigger men beginning to tire.
Waters made a number of good saves, the first from a Graham corner before the ball was kicked off the line. He saved with his legs from Graham and then he tipped another shot from the same player over his bar. He was beaten in the 69th minute by McNeil’s volley from well outside the box.
With Gormley missing a sitter a little earlier and realising their team was in danger of losing its lead, the home fans were now sweating. Stevie Notman chested down another Graham corner before firing over the top. Moments after Clyde replaced the popular but flagging Marvin Andrews with ex-Berwick player Michael Bolochoweckyj, Waters saved sub Sandy Cunningham’s header.
At the other end, Walters kept his side in the game, diving to deny Gemmell with a terrific one-handed save. But with traffic mainly flowing in the other direction, Waters once more saved from Cunningham. Lavery tried one last throw of the dice from 30 yards but as the ball finished wide so did Rangers’ hopes of salvaging a draw.
Berwick Rangers: Walters, McNeil, Crane, Notman, Wilson, McGregor, Lavery, A.Walker (Stevenson 60), McKenna (F.Graham 60), Henderson (Cunningham 77), Martin
Report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.