UOS vs BRFC – Match Report

Berwick continued their unbeaten 2024 with a clinical 2-0 win at University of Stirling.

Goals in either half from Grant Nelson and Lewis Barr were the difference between the sides on an afternoon where Uni spurned multiple good goalscoring opportunities. 

Thomas Scobbie made just two alterations from the penalty shootout win over Caledonian Braves in midweek – Liam Buchanan’s unavailability gave Cammy Graham a start while shootout hero Thomas Kay went back to the bench with Callum Antell taking his usual place in goal. 

Chris Geddes’ students also played in midweek – beating Cowdenbeath 2-1 – and the Uni boss made four alterations to his side, most notably resting some of his key attackers including top scorer Cammy McKinley. 

Berwick were the ones to make the brighter start with good work from captain Jamie McCormack on the right releasing Grant Nelson in the area. His first touch was good but Uni keep Yan Godik was out quickly to close the angle and stop his effort well. 

The students, despite resting some key men, were still dangerous on the break and James Stokes on the right was looking particularly up for it. Uni broke quickly from a Berwick attack with Lucas Dezoeten finding Stokes wide before the winger beat two but couldn’t keep his effort down. It was a warning shot and a couple of minutes later, Berwick almost fell behind.

Stokes was again the instigator, driving at Callum Mackay on another break. The centre half made an outstanding sliding challenge in the area but Stokes picked himself up quickly and teed up Thomas Vonk. His strike was blocked by Dougie Hill for a corner. That delivery was dangerous and, as Berwick struggled to get out, Marcus Lavery’s cross was struck towards goal forcing Antell into a point blank save before Hill blocked the follow up on the line. 

Uni were beginning to go through the gears and Berwick were rocking. Stokes robbed Mackay on the edge of the box and set up Vonk who forced Antell into another save before more good football from the hosts saw Stokes have a strike that Antell couldn’t hold and Alex Jeanes was unable to turn it home with Antell diving at his feet.

Even when Stirling did beat Antell, they couldn’t find the back of the net. Another set piece caused problems in the Berwick box and it came to defender Jake Service who curled a wonderful attempt that smacked the crossbar. Berwick were hanging on but, just after the half hour, they made Uni pay for the missed chances.

A poor ball out from Service was picked up by Nelson in midfield who tried to find Lewis Barr. The ball forced Barr wide who had support from Blair Sneddon and his cross into the area found Jackson Mylchreest. The on-loan striker knocked it back for Nelson on the edge of the area who hit a wonderful half-volley off the post past the despairing dive of Grodik to give Berwick a rather undeserved lead. 

That would take the sting out of the game until half time when Geddes seemed to have his players fired up to try and get a quick equaliser. A free kick and a corner both resulted in a goalmouth scramble that Uni couldn’t profit from before Vonk found some space at the back post but made a mess of his header from Jeanes’ cross. 

Berwick were still struggling to get out of their own half but were now keeping the students at arm’s length, forcing Geddes to bring on his rested big hitters on the hour mark. They would continue to struggle to break Berwick down until, with ten minutes to go, Berwick found the clincher. 

The ball broke to Mylchreest on the left hand side and the forward, living off very little all afternoon, did well to hold the ball up then beat his man on the left of the area. He drilled a low ball across the box which was just out of the reach of substitute Richard Tambwe but found a wide open Barr at the back post who tapped home. 

Uni continued to try and create chances to try and find any way back into the game but their first effort on target in the second half came in the 94th minute when Moffett’s effort was easily held by the Berwick keeper. 

It was another three points in 2024 for Berwick with a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the Lowland League to boot. It is now up to 10th place in the table after these three points with a return to Shielfield coming next weekend as East Stirlingshire visit.