Local player Jonny Fairbairn ( left ) who was in good form in the Scottish Cup replay against Spartans ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
BERWICK RANGERS 1 SPARTANS 0 ( Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 )
The kick off was delayed by more than fifteen minutes to allow time for all spectators to take their positions inside the ground. The attendance was later announced as 2,003, far and away the biggest at Shielfield this season and swelled by a large body of support for the Edinburgh club including eleven busloads of fans.
In truth, this was not the greatest of games. A strong wind didn’t help and, in Berwick’s case, the previous Saturday’s heroics against Arbroath probably took a lot out of what are, after all, part time players. Nevertheless, Rangers were the better team. Manager Colin Cameron maintained his recent busy onfield schedule, this time playing all 90 minutes. Jonny Fairbairn–‘one of our own’ sang the choristers in the Ducket–looked sharp and eager to atone for the suspension which caused him to miss the Arbroath game; centre back partner Kerr Young, a strong contender for man of the match. Devon Jacobs worked his socks off and Paul Willis got all over the park.
Spartans, who posed an early threat with a couple of raids down the left, conceded the goal around the 30 minute mark. They cleared David Gold’s corner but not far enough and Darren Lavery’s lightning response saw the ball shake the back of the net.
In the second half, Berwick toiled for a second goal and Willis managed only a weak shot when the Spartans keeper spilled the ball at ground level. Rangers had a late scare when Keith McLeod hit the bar. Berwick vice chairman John Bell, on microphone duty, made sure the players knew there were three minutes added on so no premature playing the ball to the corners this time. In fact, Spartans finished the game on the attack but with the last kick, Willis banged the ball into touch and it was all over for the Lowland League side.
Berwick fans will not worry that this was not a Scottish Cup classic; more a case of relief that Rangers did not concede a late goal and that they are through to a quarter final tie against Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday, March 8th.