Berwick scorer Aaron Murrell has the ball ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
For the second year running, Berwick Rangers opened their pre-season programme against Northern League Consett. In 2016, the Steelmen won 2-1 on their own ground and this time, at Shielfield, the result was exactly the same.
New loan signings Callum Donaldson, Kevin Waugh and Andrew Irving made their first appearances in the black and gold. The Hibs pair played the whole match whilst Irving was one of no fewer than six starters who made way for others after the break. The visitors also reshuffled their team at this point.
Early pressure came from Consett. Nippy wing man Jack Elliott flashed a shot wide and only Robby McCrorie’s foot prevented Daniel Craggs from scoring. When Rangers came more into it, Irving rattled the post and seconds later, Greg Rutherford missed a sitter sending the ball the wrong side of the same upright.
Under pressure, Craggs kept his feet to get a pass to Lewis Teasdale to fire under the diving McCrorie for a 34th minute opener. Elliott could have doubled the lead when Teasdale’s through ball sliced open the home defence but the no.11 was again off target.
Rutherford had another chance when Gary Phillips sent over a good cross from the left but Rangers’ number 9 was unable to connect with it.
The second half began with well placed Michael MacKay lobbing the ball over McCrorie’s bar. Berwick sub Aaron Murrell, currently without a club, saw his low drive finish just outside the far post. One of his team’s best moves on the night featuring Darren Lavery and Michael McKenna ended with Murrell floating the ball over the top of the post but in the 67th minute, he struck with a vengeance, first teeing up the ball and then scoring with a ferocious shot which keeper Ross Coombe didn’t see coming. However, Rangers were level again for a mere five minutes. Following two home corners the reds counter attacked in numbers and finished with MacKay knocking back the ball for Calvin Smith to beat McCrorie.
Despite some nifty passing, Berwick were being pushed back by a team which was quick to close them down. Jordan Orru came closest to a second equaliser, dribbling his way forward until stopped at the death when Coombe went down to drop on the ball.
Early days and half a dozen new faces so probably not too much should be read into this result. Irving, playing well forward of midfield caught the eye during his 45 minutes. Full back Donaldson showed a penchant for going forward and when he got the ball, Murrell looked the sharper and hungrier striker.