BERWICK RANGERS 1 NORTH SHIELDS 1 ( Saturday, July 4th, 2015 )
Despite the heavy rain overnight and on the morning of the match, or maybe helped by it, the Shielfield pitch was in superb shape for this opening pre-season friendly.
Berwick used 19 players in all and F.A. Vase holders North Shields also used numerous replacements but were peeved that they were not permitted to use rolling subs ( i.e. men who had come off able to return ) which scuppered their plan to give run outs to several trialists who had also travelled north.
Berwick shaded the first half but it ended goalless. Blair Henderson missed a good chance, shooting wide from right in front of goal. David Morris hit the crossbar with a free kick and just ahead of the break, manager Colin Cameron wasn’t far off target with a long range snapshot.
For the ‘Robins’, Denver Morris proved troublesome but Rangers’ centre back pairing of Jonny Fairbairn and French trialist Ludovic Erhard looked very comfortable and covered up for shortcomings elsewhere in defence.
A mini pitch invasion by a group of visiting fans at half time was competently handled by Berwick’s volunteer stewards.
The second period saw the return of Dougie Brydon in a Berwick shirt. He returned to action with Duns last season after surgery on a problematic injury. Two other experienced East of Scotland men, striker John Crawford and keeper Mark Walters, both stalwarts at Coldstream in recent years, were also on as trialists.
The away fans thought a goal was coming in the 56th minute when Jack Walker chipped Walters, well off his line, but the ball rolled beyond the far post. Not long afterwards, Rangers took the lead. Hesitancy in the Shields’ defence gave new signing Calum Helm time to control the ball before firing into an empty net.
Another new signing, Michael McKenna came on for the final 15 minutes and soon saw a shot rise just over Liam Maloney’s bar. Both sides came close with headers but it was the Northern League team who eventually scored. Gary Day got past Brydon before cutting in to release an angled shot which hit the outside post before crossing the line.
Near the end, Dean Walker missed a sitter after being set up by Day following an error by Berwick’s Charlie Denton.
Berwick Rangers Starting XI: Walker, Beveridge*, Drummond, Cameron, Fairbairn ( capt. ), Erhard*, David Morris*, Hogg, Fortune*, Henderson, Coultress*
Subs: McKenna, Wilson, Brydon*, Banjo*, Crawford*, Denton*, Helm, Walters*
Official attendance: 535