Spartans 1-1 Berwick Rangers – Scottish Cup Round 5

Berwick were left to rue their lack of composure late in a game once more on Saturday when a late Ally MacKinnon strike handed Spartans another chance to overcome the ‘Gers a week on Tuesday.

Berwick had got off to a flyer, winger Paul Willis firing in a vollied effort from 25 yards which took a deflection to leave Spartans’ stopper Kevin Swain helpless.

However Berwick failed to regroup after clearing a long throw deep into stoppage time, hooking a half-volley into the corner of Billy Bald’s net.

The opener came following a Lee Currie corner. Spartans’ defence failed to clear properly and when the ball fell to Paul Willis, he wasted no time in smashing in an effort on goal. The in-form winger now has four goals in his last five games.

The ‘Gers sustained their early pressure and went close once more, Darren Lavery heading just over Swain’s bar from a Willis corner, and Steven Notman heading an effort into the stopper’s arms from another.

The Spartans ‘keeper then had to be alert to deny Lee Currie, who fired a low free-kick in from 25 yards.

Blair Henderson, making his full debut would then miss a golden opportunity to double the lead, dragging a left footed half volley wide from around 5 yards.

Berwick’s early superiority was clear, however in the final ten minutes of the first half, Spartans began to claw their way into the match. Paul Sludden saw his effort well-stopped by Bald before former Berwicker Iain Thomson saw his shot caught by the Berwick ‘keeper.

Berwick came out the better side once more, keen to extend their lead, however Darren Lavery squandered a great chance when one-on-one with Swain, Henderson squaring well to play the striker in. Unfortunately his effort was straight off the body of Swain.

This would be the only real chance of the half for Berwick, who retreated into their shells a little.

Paul Sludden missed a good chance from short range as he slid in to meet a low cross, but he saw the effort drift wide.

Substitue Errol Douglas then brought Bald into action, the former Stenhousemuir man bringing out an impressive save from Bald.

MacKinnon then saw an effort saved before he netted to equalise with his half-volley in the 93rd minute, silencing a Berwick support of around 500 which hadn’t stopped singing throughout.

It could have got worse for Berwick too, but a late counter attack spearheaded by Jack Beacher was wasted as he overhit a cross.

Highlights of the draw can be found here, courtesy of BBC Scotland.