Development Team boss Derek McKenzie was left with mixed feelings following his Under 20’s 2-2 draw with Cowdenbeath at the home of Kelty Hearts yesterday evening.
“I thought the boys played well last night. We created a number of opportunities, but in the end we were wasteful in front of goal.
“It’s a lesson for the lads that we need to show more composure in the final third, both in relation to our final ball and finishing.
“The boys will have learned that the game is all about finding those goals and they were left really disappointed that they couldn’t grab a win.”
Michael Smyth of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust reports:
Four goals, all in the first half, but only two scorers. Even though Berwick never held the lead for long, amongst the visitors there was a feeling that it was more a case of two points lost rather than one gained.
The match was played on the artificial surface at Kelty Hearts’ well-appointed ground. Berwick had Sean Brennan in goal with manager John Coughlin wanting the first team’s regular sub keeper to get in some prolonged game time. In fact, it was opposite number Jamie Sneddon who had the busier evening and played a significant part in his team getting the draw.
Sneddon was called into immediate action, making a one-handed save from Rangers’ skipper Sam Jones. Berwick employed a variety of attacking ploys…crossfield balls especially from Lewis Swaney, the dribbling skill of Kyle Scott, quick counter attacks and long balls to Daniel Watt whose strength and ability to hold up the ball would cause problems for the home defence.
After receiving one such ball in the 12th minute, Watt beat the last defender but Sneddon went down to make another one-handed stop. Four minutes on, Watt was again faced with just Sneddon in front of him but this time, his shot sailed over the bar.
Berwick did score on 21 minutes after a quickfire movement from near halfway. Jamie Henderson supplied the final pass for Kyle Scott to make it 1-0. The Blue Brazil equalised six minutes later. Ex-Berwick player Charlie Denton pumped a long ball downfield. Scott Sutherland wrong footed Ewan Herriot and slipped the ball past Brennan. Barely a minute passed before Rangers again took the lead. Scott beat two men out on the right to get across a pass with which Jones connected. His shot was probably goalbound but Kyle’s knee helped it reach its target.
Jones was a foot over from outside the box ahead of the Fifers levelling again in the 39th minute. Play suddenly switched from one end to the other. Cameron Muirhead played the ball on to Sutherland. Though there was a suspicion of offside, the officials considered all was legitimate and the no.10 claimed his second score of the night.
Cowdenbeath had learned lessons and in part two, worked to contain Kyle Scott close to the touchline from where he might do less damage. Now enjoying more possession, they also adopted a sustained long ball approach hoping their front men would outrun the Berwick backs. Sutherland got through again but Herriot’s firm tackle blocked his way to goal. Muirhead was out on his own after a kind break of the ball but he hesitated giving the visitors’ defence sufficient time to regroup and swat the danger. On 67 minutes, the ball again bounced favourably for the striker but he fired high and wide. Later, he was also way off with a free kick 20 yards out straight in front of goal.
For Rangers, early on, half time replacement Gary Dolan surged forward after breaking up a home attack and hit the woodwork after an exchange of passes with Watt. Seconds after the arrival of Stephen Scott, Watt teed up Jones. His shot packed power but was off course.
Berwick were also foiled by two more good saves from Sneddon. In the final minutes, third sub Ross Watters won a couple of corners, Ally McDonald heading the first one over the bar.
Influenced by the nip and tuck nature of the second half in which a winner could have gone either way, Cowdenbeath coach Brian Nelson believed a draw was a fair result. It left Berwick regretting their failure to make more of their first half performance.
Berwick Rangers: Brennan, McDonald, Porteous (Dolan 46), Herriot, Swaney, Ingram, K.Scott, Chapman (Watters 84), Watt, Henderson (S.Scott 67), Jones (capt)
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.