Berwick Rangers made a great start in the Development League East with this well earned win at the Toni Macaroni Arena ( a.k.a. Almondvale ). A healthy attendance included Berwick manager John Coughlin and first-teamers and former Livi men Jordyn Sheerin and Kevin Walker.
Livingston coach is former Berwick player and manager Ian Little. Built around a nucleus of full time apprentices, ‘Yano’s’ men looked the stronger team on paper and in the game’s earlier stages tested and sometimes teased Berwick with their pace and confident, occasionally audacious passing.
Visiting keeper Grant Goodfellow was soon palming a shot from Nicky Cadden. The same player was wide with a header off a cross from the corner flag by Matthew Knox. This pair operated on the opposite flanks to those their respective numbers, 7 and 11, suggested. Attack minded full back Ryan Curry was another who showed a fair turn of speed.
Goodfellow tipped away a 12th minute shot on the turn from Darren Smith. From Livi’s first corner, centre back Morgyn Neill headed the ball over the bar.
The crucial point of the game came on the half hour. Rangers were beginning to mount some pressure when Daniel Watt was brought down inside the penalty area. Keeper Conor Quinn punched out Kyle Scott’s spot kick but Kieran Ingram reacted quickly to forcefully head the free ball into the far corner of the net.
The goal lifted Berwick and unsettled the hosts though they seemed poised to level when Lewis Allen played in Dale Carrick. Ewan Herriot’s blocking tackle on the striker was a carbon copy of an earlier one when Adam Forrest terminated a dazzling run by Curry.
The second half began with Curry again running wild beating two men and sending a low cross into the box. Luckily for Berwick, there were no takers. Nor when Carrick supplied a similar ball from roughly the same spot. Livi’s first half fluency was gone with passes now ending up in touch. One bad back pass from Craig Reid almost led to a second Berwick goal but Watt slipped as he homed in on the ball.
Rangers were now the more composed team though almost suffered a blow, Allen just inches from scoring after Gary Dolan gave away possession.
A long throw in by Dolan led to Berwick’s second goal six minutes from time. A home player sliced the ball skywards. Watt got the better of Quinn in the airborne duel which followed and nodded the ball over the line.
The boys in blue had a couple of other chances before the end. In between them, Goodfellow threw himself across his goal using both hands to push away a powerful long shot from Knox. Seconds later, Neill was shown a straight red for violent conduct towards Watt. The two had tussled all night with Watt having already been lectured and then booked as a consequence.
Coughlin thought the team had not played to its potential in the season opening Cup tie at Dunfermline. This time, there was quiet but real satisfaction in the Berwick camp with the result and performance. Picking a man of the match would be difficult but both scorers, Ingram and Watt, would have been in the frame.
Berwick Rangers: Goodfellow, Herriot, Porteous (Dolan 63), Forrest, Swaney, Ingram, K.Scott, Chapman (King 57), S.Scott (Henderson 79), Watt, Jones (c).
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust.