Saturday, November 18th, 2017
William Hill Scottish Cup 3rd Round
ARBROATH 3 BERWICK RANGERS 0
On a day of surprises in the Scottish Cup, the outcome at Gayfield was not. It could have been worse. Through a combination of luck, missed chances and some good goalkeeping, Berwick escaped with a 3-0 defeat against their SPFL 1 opponents.
Luck when the ball got entangled between Scott Martin’s feet inside the goal area after skipper Mark Whatley and Danny Denholm carved open the visitors’ defence. Again in the first half when Ryan McCord flicked the ball on to the post after Omar Kader all too easily came inside from the right flank to give him the ball.
Missed opportunities such as Kader shooting straight at Robby McCrorie when set up by Leighton McIntosh. This same Arbroath pair guilty of wasting chances right in front of goal after latching on to crosses from Bobby Linn and Denholm respectively. All these in the second half. Kader was replaced by former Berwick player David Gold soon after that second miss, Linn switching from his customary left wing spot to the other side of the field. He didn’t look out of place there either, playing a key part in the Red Lichties’ third goal.
Good saves from Robby McCrorie, once with feet and twice with one hand, kept out Arbroath as they searched for a fourth goal.
Arbroath didn’t mess about. They were in top gear right from the moment Rangers kicked off facing the sun and accumulated four corners without reply inside the first quarter of an hour. As early as the second minute, McCrorie conceded the first one, by diving to push away Whatley’s 30 yard stinger.
Colin Hamilton claimed the first goal following the fourth corner, the announcer apologising for at first crediting it to Kader. Initially, Rangers cleared the ball but not far enough and from ten yards, Hamilton instinctively stabbed it into the bottom corner of the Berwick net.
In the 33rd minute, McIntosh came on for the injured Tom O’Brien. He took just three minutes to increase the lead. Skilfully weaving between Fleming and Fairbairn, his shot hit the near post before crossing the goal line at its mid point.
Berwick were reduced to looking for scraps with Michael McKenna prepared to follow through any ball going back towards keeper David Hutton should he make a mistake. From McKenna’s cross, part of a rare attack in numbers, Gary Phillips did attempt a shot shortly before the interval but it was blocked before it could travel very far.
Keiran Stewart managed four during the second period, only one of them bothering Hutton who held it second time of asking. Three of the quartet were struck after Andy Irving was brought on and made some difference with Rangers putting more moves together in the final twenty minutes than in all the previous seventy. Ahead of his arrival, Berwick conceded goal number three. As Arbroath broke speedily from their own half, Linn played in McIntosh, who put the ball through the legs of the isolated McCrorie.
Naming a Berwick man of the match would be a tough call but Chris McDonald, who by the second half had taken over Phillips’ wing back position, and young Callum Donaldson, facing Linn for much of the match, were two of the hardest workers in a well beaten team.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Fleming, Fairbairn ( McKinlay 80 ), Thomson ( Murrell 58 ), Lavery ( Irving 70 ), McKenna, Phillips, Stewart, Donaldson, McDonald, Scullion