Berwick Rangers made hard work of this Development League win at Ochilview although the outcome of two key incidents did not go their way. Stenhousemuir’s selection options were limited because of the first team’s game at Albion Rovers and they fielded a very young side. Berwick included Mark Walters and Dwayne Coultress from their first team squad.
Stenny may have lacked experience but they had players with pace amongst them, Fraser Eddington, who forced Walters into making the game’s first genuine save in the 11th minute shooting from 25 yards on the end of an excellent through ball. The hosts often looked dangerous when they ran at Berwick. Thomas Halleran fired across the front of goal after the visitors’ defence was troubled by more Stenny trickery.
All the same, it was Berwick who created more chances. Regan Graham fired over to end a multi player build up which got a little help from a lucky touch off a Stenny leg. Another leg, outstretched by keeper Owen Klijsen, denied Coultress before the first goal was scored after half an hour. Ethan Anderson nutmegged Ryan Smith. The ball rolled on to Daniel Watt. He sent a superb ball over the top of the defence to Barry Hogg. The captain’s first strike hit the far post. Angry at the miss, he smashed in the rebound.
Berwick continued to have the upper hand. Hogg finished a four man move with a shot which was blocked before he had cause to be annoyed with himself once more. Seconds from half time, Alistair McDonald’s low ball into the box was intended for the waiting Watt. Before he could hit it, he was pulled by Grant Hamilton. Referee Duncan Smith awarded a penalty but decided there was ‘no denial of a goalscoring opportunity’ and Hamilton got away with a yellow card. His team was let off again when Hogg blasted the spot kick over the bar just as a thirty second snow shower fell.
The second half started with McDonald kicking the ball off the foot of Christopher Snedden as Stenhousemuir’s nippy forwards caused more trouble. Play then moved to a point where Berwick were rarely out of their opponents’ half. Watt combined with Stan Chitemere who saw his shot deflected for a corner. The same pair were involved again just after the hour. Ewan Herriot lobbed the ball to Chitemere, playing against his former team. After chesting the ball, he slipped it to Watt who steered away from the last outfield man to beat Klijsen.Watt was unlucky when McDonald and Chitemere put him away again. Klijsen dived to knock the shot on to the post and out for another corner.
The young Warriors pulled one back in unusual circumstances on 66 minutes. The linesman waved to indicate that Eddington impeded Adam Forrest as they battled for possession out wide. No whistle. Eddington got the ball across to Mark Allan. Left in a one on one with Walters, he slipped the ball into the net. Players and spectators alike thought it wasn’t for real but Mr.Smith pointed to the centre circle explaining later that in his view, there had been no infringement.
Despite much activity, Coultress had been fairly ineffective. Hogg presented him with the chance to kill the game but he shot tamely at the keeper from 12 yards. Klijsen then made a real save from Charlie Denton, back after a one match suspension.
Players do not wear stopwatches and near the end, Berwick adopted the risky strategy of trying to keep the ball in the opposition’s corner. Stenhousemuir broke away but were wide with a header in the last attack of the match.
Berwick Rangers: Walters, McDonald, Anderson (Herriot 58), Hogg, McConnell, Forrest, Chitemere (Dolan 72), Ingram, Watt, R.Graham (Denton 65), Coultress
Unused sub: S.Allan (GK)
Match report courtesy of Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust