Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
SPFL Development League East
BERWICK RANGERS 1 STIRLING ALBION 2
This was officially Berwick’s home game but it was switched to Stirling’s Forthbank Astro pitch. Rangers’ squad again included four trialists, one of them a newcomer at centre back. Four was also the number of Stirling players receiving yellow cards, three for petulance, the other for a foul on Paul Simpson as Berwick strived to score a late equaliser after being 2-0 down.
Effectively, Berwick lost the game in the opening 25 minutes. Not because they conceded any goals but because they were unable to capitalise on their near total dominance during this period. The game had barely kicked off when Albion keeper Callum Law made a good save from Jamie Chapman. He then beat Scott Sutherland to a ball crossed from Paul Simpson’s left flank. Law blocked a Simpson shot after an error from Kyle Banner, the Berwick winger sending the returned ball on to the top of the net. Simpson also volleyed over the bar following Rangers’ first corner on 23 minutes.
Stirling were relying on balls over the top as their main method of attack but near the half hour, Taylor Evans produced something more skilful by beating two men before his angled shot took a deflection for a corner. A few minutes later, MacAulay Jarrett saved from Reg McLaren but Justin Watson won the battle for the loose ball to put Stirling in front.
Armed with the lead, the Binos looked a more confident side in the second half but they also enjoyed some good fortune. None went Grant Rose’s way despite some real graft all night. He saw a 30 yard effort float over the top of the post and he hit the bar with another long shot. Closer to goal he was just wide as he connected with a ball from the trialist no. 10 who continued a move started by Jack Cook.
Having come close to scoring again following a free kick from just outside the box, Albion eventually doubled their lead with nine minutes remaining. Banner met Ryan Lockie’s cross with a forceful header into the opposite corner of the net.
Berwick were not yet down and out. Gary Windram deceived Brooklyn Mair and drew out Law to pass across to fellow sub Kieran Jack to slot the ball into an empty net. Lockie’s method of stopping Simpson in full flight earned him his yellow as Berwick battled on into stoppage time, the trialist no. 10 firing just over the bar from 25 yards.
Berwick’s Under 20s wind up their campaign next Wednesday, April 25th with a true home game at Shielfield versus Cowdenbeath, kick off 7:45 p.m.
Berwick Rangers: Jarrett, A.Trialist, Heath ( Jack 76 ), Chapman, B.Trialist, Cook, Sutherland ( Windram 56 ), Murray ( D.Trialist 17 ), Rose, C.Trialist, Simpson
Unused sub: Allan ( GK )