Andy Russell, Berwick’s scorer at Hampden ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
QUEEN’S PARK 2 BERWICK RANGERS 1 ( Saturday, February 21st, 2015 )
This match followed this season’s all too familiar pattern leaving the small contingent of visiting fans frustrated by the final outcome. Berwick dominated the first half but again were hit by the double jinx of losing a goal from a set piece and another in the final minutes.
Berwick monopolised possession in the opening 45. It was almost as if, in this, their first televised game of the season, they were intent on impressing the BBC Alba viewers with their intricate passing game. Yet, apart from a couple of near misses, they had nothing to show for it. For their part, at this stage, Queen’s did not look like a team poised to take over at the top of the SPFL 2 table.
The Glasgow side were a livelier lot after the break and twice went close with free headers from crosses. Still, as the game entered its last quarter, it remained goalless. Queen’s Park won three corners in a row and from the third, substitute Ross McPherson got the touch that mattered to put them in the lead in the 75th minute.
Berwick boss Colin Cameron took himself off soon afterwards but didn’t have to wait long on the sidelines before Andy Russell equalised. To their credit, Rangers didn’t sit back to try to hold on for a point but went looking for a winner. Unfortunately, that instead, came from the other side. Darren Lavery had already replaced Scott Maxwell who started for the first time since Annan on January 24th. The late substitution of goalscorer Russell by Craig Dargo was questionable, arguably a case of one change too many. The diminutive forward barely had time to break sweat before the Spiders struck again. Billy Bald got a hand to a low cross from the right but could not push it away from the feet of Paul Woods who stabbed the ball over the line to the delight of the home supporters in a crowd of 966. A bigger than usual attendance with the Hampden club charging only £5 for adults, with concessions a mere £1, in a bid to ensure there was a bit of atmosphere for the TV cameras in at least one corner of the national stadium. But then of course, they do not have to pay the players.
Berwick are now six points behind fourth placed Annan but only seven ahead of bottom club Montrose. It does not want to be the club which reaches the Scottish Cup quarter finals ( or further ) and then has to battle to preserve its SPFL status in a play off with an aspiring non-league club. With ‘Shire winning at Coatbridge, nothing should be taken for granted.