Young ‘Gers stung by The Wasps

It is said what goes round comes round. After their 10-2 thrashing of Stenhousemuir two nights earlier, it was Berwick’s development team’s turn to be on the receiving end once again. In mitigation, only six of those who started against the Warriors played this time and their efforts in the previous game seemed to have taken it out of some of them. Rangers’ team was again stuffed with trialists. Alloa’s was built around ten full time apprentices. In addition, the margin of defeat was accentuated by the loss of goals at the end of each half.

Alloa’s approach was direct. In the six foot plus Russell McLean and the shorter Scott Hynd, they had pace up front and the ball was played forward to them as often as possible. It was only in the second half that the home side managed to organise the semblance of an offside trap.

The Wasps scored inside the opening five minutes when Lee McLelland headed in Graham Forsyth’s corner. Within a minute, Mark Smith, the biggest player in the Berwick team, used his strength to beat his marker out on the left flank and a short pass from him enabled Daniel Watt to level with a simple tap-in.

The home defence was AWOL when Hynd got the first of a hat trick after keeper Nils Bleakley got no more than a touch of Forsyth’s near range angled shot.

Two goals inside a minute followed just after half an hour’s play. Berwick’s Anthony Monin was booked for the second game running, this time for pulling McLean to prevent him receiving a scoring pass. The number ten had the last laugh, convincingly converting the resulting penalty. Next, Gregor Watson’s foot only helped the ball into the net as he attempted to block another Hynd effort.

Two minutes from half time, an error by Watson helped Hynd run on to beat Bleakley for the third time.

In the 57th minute, Hynd crossed for McLean to knock in a sixth Alloa goal but the big man was soon replaced by the equally nippy Corin Stone when matters between him and Berwick’s Maxim Veyreinc became heated resulting in a booking for the man from Lyon.  McLean had been cautioned earlier in the half for argy bargy in the goal area when a corner was impending and Alloa didn’t want to run the risk of him collecting a second yellow card. Ironically, it was Veyreinc who was sent off late on.

Charlie Denton, switched from left to right back after the break, tried to inject some life into Berwick’s attacking play whilst Smith showed a never say die attitude out wide but when Rangers pressed, the Wasps’ defence was in no mood to be charitable.

Veyreinc, from whom two unsuccessful first half volleys certainly packed force, was probably Berwick’s best performer on the night and was irked to be booked for a second time with only four minutes remaining. He insisted afterwards that he made no contact with the player who went down. Whether the Frenchman understood the message of the singing of ‘Cheerio, cheerio’ by an Alloa supporter in the Main Stand is debatable.

In practically the last act of the game, Rangers presented sub Paul Carrick with the ball inside their own penalty area and after a couple of strides forward, he rifled it into the top of the net.

Berwick Rangers: Bleakley, Fairnie*, Denton*, Watson (capt.), Monin, Khouiel, Ozgun* (MacKay* 59), Veyreinc*, Watt*, Mangala, Smith*

*Denotes trialist