by Trust Chairman, Michael Smyth
This Saturday, March 21st, Berwick Rangers play Montrose at Links Park in SPFL 2. Forget the recent Cup quarter final v. Hibs. This match could mark a watershed and is now of greater importance.
Berwick currently sit 5 points above Montrose at the foot of the table. It is true that Rangers have two games in hand on the Angus club but in view of so many disappointing results this season, that doesn’t necessarily count for much.
The great support at Easter Road had evaporated to 356 spectators at last weekend’s home game v. Annan Athletic. To most of Berwick’s hardcore supporters, the way that game panned out was probably unsurprising. Once again, the team threw away a lead. This time, we were 2-0 up early in the second half. We didn’t concede a goal in the final minutes as so often in this campaign but we did lose one to our other demon, the set piece.
In this instance, it was a free kick which did the damage, an Annan sub, fresh on to the field, finishing it off with a free header. Presumably, defending from set pieces is practised in training sessions—isn’t it? Even so, we just don’t seem able to get it right.
Ironically, Rangers largely abandoned the customary pretty passing game last Saturday for a more direct approach. Two men played up front which paid off in the sense that they combined for both goals but our frequent inability to hold on to a lead or, in some cases, even to hold out for a draw, suggests a lack of steel in the team. The club is now paying the price, having drifted perilously close to the position in the table that results in a play off with a non-league side.
Even in last week’s local press, whilst acknowledging that ‘….we have to concentrate on our league form’, the manager was still referring to this in the context of making the promotion play offs. The reality is that we are probably a stronger bet for the bottom end play off and were so even before the Annan match.
The media would delight in a battle of the Rangers—Brora v. Berwick—to decide which is in SPFL 2 next season and in view of the current situation, this scenario is a distinct possibility.
We have failed to beat Montrose in three encounters this season. If we fail to do so again, a nervous end to the season could turn into one of great anxiety for all connected with Berwick Rangers. We can only hope the team does not let us down.