Monday, November 19th, 2018
SPFL Reserve League 2
STIRLING ALBION RESERVES 7 BERWICK RANGERS RESERVES 2
There was a torrent of goals in the first half on the Forthbank Astro. Unfortunately, most of them were scored by Stirling including a hat trick from Reg McLaren. Playing alongside him up front at the start were seasoned professionals Peter MacDonald and Darren Smith. Wearing number 11 though largely operating on the right, Bradley Rodden was another who proved influential during the opening 45 minutes.
Berwick fielded three trialists, amongst them the two who featured in the previous Saturday’s first team win over Albion Rovers. Cameroon-born Alexandre Happi, on the bench for that game, made his official debut in black and gold.
The game also marked a painful return to competitive action for Kieran Jack after weeks out through injury.He felt the full effect of a ball in the face just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute and lay motionless for a couple of minutes before being replaced by Andrew Dempster.
Later, McLaren was down in agony with an injured ankle though after the match, the Stirling physio suggested it was just a bad strain.
Stirling took only three minutes to open their account. Smith sprayed the ball out to RODDEN to beat the defence with an angled shot. Rangers almost hit back after two of their trial men linked to put through Daniel Purves but keeper Callum Law made the save.
On eight minutes, McLAREN headed in Rodden’s free kick but it was soon 2-1 when PURVES swept the ball past Law on receipt of a perfect feed from John Neill. However, with less than 20 minutes gone, Stirling struck again. Berwick keeper Shea Dowie had his foot on the ball after a back pass but was promptly robbed by McLAREN, left simply to direct the ball into an open goal.
A cross field ball switched play from a crowded right to SMITH. Making light of B.Trialist’s challenge, he curled the ball inside the far post for Albion’s fourth goal. The hosts also made it hard for Rangers to play their way out of their own half until Marc Malloy twice came close, forcing Law into a one-handed save and then heading on to the top of the post.
RODDEN’S second goal in the 36th minute was the outcome of a planned move which involved Peter, one of three MacDonalds on the Stirling team list, taking a short free kick. Minutes from the break, centre back Dillon Young got first touch to Justin Watson’s corner, McLAREN, at his shoulder, making sure.
With Smith and Peter MacDonald off, the second half evened out. Berwick made a promising start, Grant Rose’s footwork instrumental in chances for Purves ( wide ) and Brandon Blair ( too high ).
The second half goals came late. ROSE headed in Seamus Russell’s cross but Stirling had the last say. Russell’s header back to Dowie was short enabling SCOTT MILLER to score from a narrow angle.
Berwick Rangers: Dowie, A.Trialist ( Ashford 78 ), Russell, B.Trialist ( Murray 78 ), Happi, Neill ( capt. ), Purves, C.Trialist, Rose, Malloy, Blair ( Jack 52 ) ( Dempster 61 )
Unused subs: Brown, Smith, Short