Berwick players ( black and gold ) Gary Dolan ( left ) and Jack Hamilton in centre field action at New Murrayfield Park ( Photo courtesy of Andrew Allan )
BERWICK RANGERS 3 COWDENBEATH 2
( Friday, April 15th, 2016 )
Mid April and just over an hour before kick off, the artificial pitch at New Murrayfield Park, Blackburn, where Berwick were staging this ‘home’match, was covered with snow. It had all gone by the 7:15 p.m. kick off but by the end of the game, the temperature had dropped to below zero.
There was plenty of action to keep the 45-50 spectators warm as Berwick completed a clean sweep of Development League victories over the Blue Brazil this season. For the second time in the three matches, Rangers secured the win with a very late goal by Charlie Denton against his former club.
Cowdenbeath scored in their first attack after only three minutes. Mark Walters came out to narrow the angle when a long ball reached Cameron Muirhead but the striker was still able to beat the keeper with a left footed shot. The number 9, who was also capable of some nifty footwork, fired high after given a free shot by the Rangers’ defence. Walters saved another one after Cowdenbeath quickly built momentum when Berwick gave away the ball.
At the other end, the Fifers did not look comfortable at corners though Berwick’s two best chances inside the opening half hour both came in open play. Jack Hamilton was only a fraction wide from 12 yards after collecting a great pass from Daniel Watt. If Gary Dolan had connected with the ball when Kieran Ingram returned Watt’s chip across the box, a goal might have been on the cards.
Cowdenbeath keeper Shaun Donoghue punches the ball away during the first half ( Photo courtesy of Andrew Allan )
Berwick had a little bit of luck with their 36th minute equaliser. Cowdenbeath centre half Jordan Leslie was hurt as he went up with Watt to meet a high cross from Ethan Anderson. Leslie was off the field as Dolan sent over the ensuing corner. The ball fell to Watt who, with his back to goal, tapped it back for Ingram to score his first goal for Berwick.
It took just three minutes of the second half to produce another goal. Twice, Hamilton looked likely to be stopped but he battled on to put Berwick in front. He almost got another, heading Alistair McDonald’s cross against the bar, the last act in a fast and furious piece of attacking play down the right. Barry Hogg, whose forceful running was a feature all night, tried a 40 yarder but it flew over Shaun Donoghue’s bar.
The Central Park boys got back on level terms in the 68th minute with the goal of the night, a cracking volley from the left by Sean McManus. The blue team was looking particularly dangerous down this flank with Berwick hard pressed to cope with the pace of McManus and Scott Sutherland. The latter was booked for an illegal challenge as Walters kicked the ball from hand and Rory George soon joined him on a yellow for impeding Watt’s advance by tugging his shirt but Cowdenbeath now appeared to have the edge. Walters went down to save at Muirhead’s feet and crucial tackles were made by Mark Mooney and Ewan Herriot ahead of the save of the night. In the clear, Muirhead whipped the ball towards goal. Spectators’ gasps were audible as Walters threw himself across his goal for a tremendous stop.
The clock showed 90 minutes plus one when a smart exchange of passes between Ingram and McDonald sent Denton through. Earlier, Charlie appeared to have left his shooting boots at home, on a number of occasions firing straight at the keeper. Not this time. Seizing the moment, he kept close control of the ball before slipping it past Donoghue.
Berwick Rangers: Walters, McDonald, Anderson, Forrest, McConnell, Ingram, Dolan* ( Mooney* 57 ), Hogg ( capt. ), Watt, Hamilton* ( Herriot 82 ), Denton Unused sub: S.Allan* ( GK )