Darren Lavery strikes to score Berwick’s second goal in stoppage time …..( Photo courtesy of Ian Runciman )
BERWICK RANGERS 2 EAST FIFE 0
( Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 )
Berwick Rangers are making a habit of scoring late goals. Two in the last five minutes at home to Clyde, a last minute winner at Arbroath and now a stoppage time strike from Darren Lavery to cement this victory over the new Ladbrokes SPFL 2 champions. The large contingent of away fans were in celebratory mood. Berwick players entered into the spirit of their day by applauding their opponents on to the field at the start of the match.
Much of the opening twenty minutes was played inside Berwick’s half. Four had passed when Jason Kerr headed player-manager Gary Naysmith’s corner against the bar. Rangers skipper Jonny Fairbairn kicked the ball high for another corner to stop Paul McManus getting to it after the Methil men launched another attack from a throw in.
At either end, an individual player was left to rue his decision making. From another throw in, the ball reached ex Berwick loanee Kyle Wilkie. Parallel to the goal line, instead of turning to try a close range shot, he opted to pass across for someone else to have a go only to find no teammate anywhere in the vicinity. East Fife gifted the ball to Blair Henderson. With defenders compromised, he appeared to have time and space but ran only a few yards before dispatching a weak shot which caused no problems for Ryan Goodfellow.
Michael McKenna charged down an attempted clearance by the keeper but there was no other Ranger on hand to kick the ball into an open goal.
In the 34th minute, a well aimed shot from McManus landed in the corner of Kevin Walker’s net but the referee had already blown for an infringement. Robert Wilson was down and afterwards could remember little about the incident. He returned to play on after leaving the field for some attention to his nose.
Fairbairn initiated a good move up Berwick’s left side which finished with McKenna’s pass to Henderson but he made it easy for Goodfellow shooting straight at him from six yards.
Before half time, Kevin Walker, who earlier looked uncertain in a couple of situations, punched away another Naysmith corner. A few minutes later, Jordan McGregor received a yellow card for bowling over Wilkie.
In the first twenty minutes of the second period, there was little to excite supporters of either team but on 72 minutes, Rangers scored. Allan Walker’s short cross from the left was headed in by Henderson. Even before this, an East Fife fan had expressed his feeling that his team was going to lose this match by a single goal. Despite Berwick having to play with ten men from the 79th minute onwards when McGregor was yellow carded for the second time, his prediction seemed set to come true until two minutes into stoppage time. Lavery to Allan Walker, this time to the right of goal, and the sponsors’ man of the match, returned the ball to Berwick’s second highest scorer to net his 12th goal of 2015-16 in front of Berwick’s second biggest home attendance of the season.
Berwick Rangers: K.Walker, McNeil ( Beveridge 61 ), McGregor, Notman, Wilson, Fairbairn, F.Graham ( Lavery 76 ), A.Walker, McKenna, Henderson ( Hogg 89 ), Martin
…..But still enough time for Berwick players to celebrate ( Photo courtesy of Ian Runciman )