Saturday, October 21st, 2017 SPFL 2
BERWICK RANGERS 0 MONTROSE 1
Berwick Rangers slipped to seventh in the table following a spluttering performance in heavy conditions. Generally, Montrose coped better with the state of the turf and the fans who travelled down from north Angus had the satisfaction of seeing their team gain a merited victory which lifts them to second in the league.
In fact, there was little to excite supporters of either team in the early stages during which the only true attempt on goal was a 7th minute shot from outside the box by the visitors’ Terry Masson which sailed over Robbie McCrorie’s bar. With quarter of an hour up, Masson fed Gary Fraser. The striker turned, not to shoot, but to get the ball to Andrew Steeves on the left who whipped the ball across the Berwick goal. Another 15 minutes on, Steeves had better luck from much the same spot, McCrorie wrong footed as Craig Johnston tucked in Steeves’ delivery past the keeper’s right.
Before half time, as his team finally opened up the home defence after a concerted spell of pressure, Fraser found himself in a big gap with a clear view of goal only to be flagged for offside.
With Berwick, often the thought was there but not the process and the best they managed in the first half was Chris McDonald’s 35 yarder which finished way over the bar.
Rangers’ three substitutions all came within a burst of eight minutes, the second one forced upon them when, going forward, Kevin McKinlay suddenly pulled up. He limped off as Keiran Stewart came on. Steven Thomson made no greater impact than the man he replaced, Aaron Murrell, though after Michael McKenna chipped the ball his way, Thommo hit it on the bounce forcing Allan Fleming to make his one real save of the match.
McKenna looked the Ranger most capable of creating something but found no support where it mattered, i.e. in front of goal, for any of a series of decent low crosses, getting in the second one after taking on and beating two men. Montrose had clearly picked him out as the danger man and both Masson and sub Graham Webster were booked for fouls on Berwick’s potential playmaker.
Montrose failed to get a second goal in part due to a couple of well judged tackles by Pat Scullion on Cammy Ballantyne and Webster respectively and because McCrorie went down at his near post to save from Ballantyne and later on, managed to knock away the ball when the same player chanced a pop from outside the penalty area.
Berwick’s day was aptly summed up by the last play of the game. McKenna on to Marcus Godinho whose pass to the right ended up in touch with Darren Lavery 10 yards back instead of on the expected overlapping run.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, O.Fleming, Notman, McKinlay ( Stewart 61 ), Lavery, McKenna, Phillips, McDonald ( Irving 64 ), Murrell ( Thomson 56 ), Godinho, Scullion
All pictures by Ian Runciman