Berwick’s Jonny Fairbairn ( left ) and Lee Currie in Cup action against Spartans. ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
SPARTANS 1 BERWICK RANGERS 1 ( Saturday, February 7th, 2015 )
Perhaps Berwick Rangers should petition FIFA to change the laws of the game so that matches are reduced to 85 minutes duration for once again, a very late goal denied them victory, this time in their Scottish FA Cup 5th Round tie against Lowland League Spartans at a packed Ainslie Park in Edinburgh.
Fair minded Berwick fans agreed that Spartans had done enough to earn a replay. Rangers, who dominated the first half, took the lead after only four minutes. Shots from Stevie Notman and Blair Henderson were blocked before the ball reached Paul Willis who blasted it into the net, the ball taking a touch off a home player on its way.
Berwick’s scorer was guilty of messing up another opportunity after Darren Lavery got the better of the home defence and sent a pass across to Willis who was in the clear. However, in too much of a hurry, his poorly executed shot suggested he was aiming for somewhere much higher than the Spartans’ goal.
As the second half wore on, a rejuvenated Spartans put Berwick under increasing pressure. Keeper Billy Bald made an excellent save at the feet of sub Errol Douglas as he bore down on goal.
Some supporters questioned the logic and wisdom of Berwick’s substitutions. Ross Gray, who admittedly had a quieter second half than opening forty five minutes, was replaced by Ben Miller and Blair Henderson, who continued to offer a physical presence up front, left for Andy Russell.
Berwick started to work the ball towards the corner early to try to preserve their lead, the players seemingly oblivious that five minutes of stoppage time beckoned. In the third of those minutes, Bald was left fuming when Ally Mackinnon banged in the equaliser, ironically from almost the same spot as where Henderson passed up a first half chance by shooting wide when it looked easier to tap the ball into the net.
** Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust Board meets this Saturday, February 14th, in ‘The Pilot Inn’, Low Greens, Berwick at 11:00 a.m. As usual, the meeting is open to any Trust member. On the same afternoon, Berwick are at home to league leaders Arbroath in SPFL 2 ( kick off 3:00 p.m. )