Calum Helm left Shielfield on crutches after the friendly with Hibs ( picture courtesy of Graeme Skidmore )
BERWICK RANGERS 0 HIBERNIAN 3 (Tuesday, July 14th, 2015)
Berwick wound up their home pre-season programme against a Championship side who looked a better team than previous opponents, Premiership Kilmarnock.
The Edinburgh men’s first goal came on 17 minutes when Scott Allan picked out unmarked David Gray with a perfect through ball and Gray did the rest.
A few minutes later, Hibs’ Danny Handling dropped to the ground just outside the visitors’ penalty area and was eventually stretchered off. After the game, a member of the Easter Road backroom team said it looked like a serious knee injury for the Haddington lad who was a big hit with Berwick fans when on loan at Shielfield for a short spell at the end of the 2011-12 season.
When play resumed, David Banjo stole the ball from Hibs in midfield and drove forward to unleash a 35 yard shot which finished only a couple of feet wide of Mark Oxley’s goal.
The visitors had a chance to double the lead when a cross from the left reached Jason Cummings in front of goal. His header was stopped by Rangers’ keeper Mark Walters but was hard enough to force the Berwick trialist to spill the ball for a corner. On the stroke of half time, Walters again prevented a second goal with a save from Handling’s replacement Sam Stanton.
There were a couple of bright moments for Berwick as the second half opened. Blair Henderson sent a flat pass across the box but no Berwick player was near enough to take advantage. Trialist Jonathan Quinn played the ball through to Michael McKenna who also delivered it into the area but Henderson, already in front of the ball, could manage only a half hearted stab at it with the back of his boot.
From then on, Hibernian raised the tempo and Rangers were really up against it. Allan was again the architect as Cummings grabbed the chance to make it 2-0. After McKenna was lectured by referee Colvin for a foul on Scott Martin, Allan completed a run past two men by firing in goal number three.
Berwick created another scoring opportunity when a long ball from Quinn set up David Morris to lob the keeper but his aim was very poor.
Kieran Ainslie’s timely tackle prevented Dominique Malonga making more of another fine run by Allan with Hibs now in total control. Having brought on all their outfield subs, Berwick lost Calum Helm when his knee gave way despite no contact with an opposing player. Later in the evening, he left the ground on crutches. As part of their staggered match conditioning plan, Hibs took off Allan and five others but with only five players available to come off the bench, the match consequently ended 10-a-side. During this spell, Walters made a series of excellent saves to help his team to the consolation of keeping a clean sheet for the final 30 minutes.
Berwick Rangers: Walters*, Beveridge, Drummond, Graham*, Fairbairn ( capt. ), Wilson, Denton*, Banjo*, Henderson, Quinn*, Morris.
Subs used: McKenna, Ainslie*, Cameron, McNeil, Russell, Helm, Lavery
* Denotes Trialist
Official attendance: 1080