Report & Highlights: Berwick Rangers XI 1-3 Newcastle United U21’s

The Berwick Rangers XI was more a Berwick Rangers XX as all the listed players got a run out in this friendly against Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle Under 21s. Included in the Berwick squad were two trialists, one an experienced SPFL player, the other local boy Kieran Ingram, recently returned from America. Neil Oliver was in charge of the team from the dug out with manager John Coughlin watching from higher up.

Before the kick off, there was a minute’s applause for former Newcastle goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek who has died aged 47 in the Czech Republic.

Berwick keeper Mark Walters was in early action, going down to halt a 40 yard run by Magpies’ left winger Owen Gallagher. In the 8th minute, he parried a shot from Sean Longstaff. On 24 minutes, a powerful long shot from Liam Gibson bounced off Walters’ chest towards Callum Roberts but he was unable to take advantage of this good fortune and fired wide.

Rangers also had a few chances. Andy Russell flashed a header wide off a long cross. Another cross from Barry Hogg floated just beyond the far post and in the 33rd minute, Ross Drummond hit the bar from 35 yards.

Two minutes later, Dwayne Coultress was dumped on his backside by Dan Barlaser and Russell put Berwick ahead from the penalty spot.

Walters foiled Lewis McNall after the home defence was split open and Barlaser hit the post with a 20 yard free kick before the visitors levelled with another penalty awarded because Robert Wilson turned over Gallagher. Longstaff was the scorer.

A minute from the break, Roberts’ cross from the right went over a number of heads before Gallagher got the vital nod to make it 2-1.

At half time, Rangers made the first three of numerous changes. The Development team’s Dean McConnell now partnered Jonny Fairbairn in the middle of the defence. Berwick’s captain was their best outfield player though had the advantage of playing the whole game as he is suspended for this Saturday’s home League game v. Annan. Drummond was the only other man to play 90 minutes.

Callum Crane showed an appetite for going forward and taking on opponents and could be well satisfied with his hour’s work. Walker, in midfield, showed some neat touches but when he gave away the ball in the 70th minute, was relieved to see Walters’ legs save from Longstaff.

Both teams changed keepers before Newcastle extended their lead. Callum Smith’s chip took a deflection off Charlie Denton paving the way for Stefan Brocolli to knock the ball in at the near post.

Craig Cockburn jumped to tip over Roberts’ shot after Barlaser tapped a free kick to him. At the other end, a  good Berwick build up ended with Regan Graham’s pass to Daniel Watt but the sub striker could not hit the ball with any force.

Near the end, Berwick’s Finn Graham was shown a straight red card for intemperate language towards the referee.

Berwick’s enterprise in arranging this match was rewarded with an attendance of 388, all on the Main Stand side of the ground.

Berwick Rangers: Walters ( Cockburn 73 ), Beveridge ( Denton 46 ), Crane ( F.Graham 59 ), Wilson ( McConnell 46 ), Fairbairn, Walker ( Ingram 81 ), Hogg ( Morris 59 ), Drummond, A.Russell ( Lavery 46 ), Henderson ( Watt 68 ), Coultress ( Regan Graham 59 )

Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust