Saturday, October 28th, 2017 SPFL 2
BERWICK RANGERS 1 COWDENBEATH 0
For the second time this season, Berwick Rangers beat Cowdenbeath 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty ten minutes from the end. It was a match of limited quality partly due to a strong crosswind which blew throughout.
Berwick had the bigger share of first half possession and their attacks were the more structured, leaving the visitors seeking to do damage on the break. The home side’s attempts to pierce the defence via through balls didn’t pay off. In two instances, recipient Darren Lavery was offside. On 16 minutes, Lavery tried an overhead kick when a cross came in from Marcus Godinho but the ball was always going high. Another promising ball from the Canadian evaded the heads of both Michael McKenna and Steven Thomson. Gary Phillips was in the mood to take on men and in the 36th minute got past three on the left flank, skipping out of a foul on the way, but Jordan Garden recovered to get back to cut out his cross.
A 23rd minute Cowdenbeath corner ball eventually hit the side netting after every player in the vicinity, home and away, missed it. Steven Notman was not amongst them, off field at the time with a bloodied face. The Berwick midfielder returned wearing a shirt without a number.
The Blue Brazil posed a bigger threat after the break. Robbie McCrorie punched away another corner ball. In the 50th minute, when Berwick gave away the ball and with the keeper and three other defenders already drawn, Cameron Muirhead missed the chance to bury it in an empty net instead, weakly hitting it upwards. The Fifers continued to hold the initiative, McCrorie coming out to block Robbie Buchanan and then knocking away the resulting free ball after Buchanan left Pat Scullion behind.
The visitors brought on Ryan Connelly with Harvey Swann moving further back, both, like Muirhead, graduates of the Central Park club’s Development League team. The reshuffle brought some relief for Swann who had been well contained by Godinho, especially during a first half in which the Hearts’ loan player was booked for a midfield lunge on the no.11.
Andy Irving became the third Ranger to pick up a yellow card ( Thomson the other plus two ‘Brazilians’ ) for taking out Muirhead when he was supplied out wide as Cowden broke forward again. Minutes later, McCrorie once more saved Berwick using his foot to save from Buchanan after Connelly turned Scullion.
It was David McGurn’s turn when Lavery’s and Godinho’s passes led to Irving firing from 25 yards, Cowdenbeath’s keeper diving to punch away an accurate shot. Berwick now brought on Aaron Murrell and Chris McDonald and both were soon involved in a move which culminated in McKenna’s poor, high kick. A free kick some 40 yards out, given when McDonald was fouled, led to a corner seconds after which, McKenna was flat out on his face. It was the intervention of the Main Stand side linesman which influenced referee Grant Irvine to point to the spot. The kick was held up whilst Cowdenbeath men made their protests before McKenna consummately beat McGurn.
Some of those same protesters kindly backed off giving Thomson time to whip the ball just to the right of McGurn’s goal. The Black and Gold had an even narrower escape before time up. When McCrorie attempted to tip a hanging corner over his bar, the ball hit the wood and bounced down almost on the line. A Cowden man made a stab at it before Scullion hooked it away. A dramatic finale to the most exciting ten minutes of the game.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Fleming, Notman ( Waugh 84 ), Thomson, Lavery ( Murrell 71 ), McKenna, Phillips, Irving, Stewart ( McDonald 71 ), Godinho, Scullion ( capt. )
All pictures courtesy of Ian Runciman