New Victoria Park, Newtongrange
RAITH ROVERS 0 BERWICK RANGERS 1
( Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 )
A 51st minute penalty from David Gold proved enough for Berwick to take all three points and remain unbeaten in three matches against the Kirkcaldy-based side in the SPFL Development League. The match was played at the home of Junior club Newtongrange Star and, on a wind free night, the pungent smell of natural manure in nearby fields hung over New Victoria Park.
New on loan players Jamie Wilson ( Dunfermline ) and Neil Martyniuk ( Hibs ) played their first games for Berwick. Euan Bauld, Ben Miller and David Gold, who all came on as subs in the previous evening’s first team win over East Fife, were in the starting line-up for this one.
Berwick were certainly the better team in the first half, enjoying more possession and launching more sustained attacks than Rovers with only three minutes passing before they won the game’s first corner.
The opening 45 was marked by a number of chances which ended up with the ball over the bar. An early one saw Raith’s Callum Robertson head an excellent cross from the right wing on to the top of the net whilst on 15 minutes, Berwick’s Calum Helm connected with Miller’s corner but aimed too high.
Raith keeper Scott Law saved from Gold following a 35 yard free kick from Martyniuk and was scrambling to punch away a 25th minute header from Helm. Efforts from Gold and Loick Mangala also finished over the bar. Raith captain Ross Matthews went closer from 25 yards with the best shot of the half three minutes before the break. This time, the ball just cleared the intersection of the bar and far post.
The Fifers opened the second period with zest. A nippy attack ended with Jamie Wilson making a comfortable save from James Berry and soon, Robertson wasn’t far off course with a grass cutter from the edge of the box.
A couple of minutes prior to Berwick scoring, Miller departed having taken a knock to his calf earlier in the game. The Development League team operates a rotating captaincy and skipper for the night Gregor Watson began the move which led to the penalty. He played the ball down the left to Mangala who chipped it into the box where Miller’s replacement, Isaac Thompson from Edinburgh club AC Oxgangs, got a touch before being clattered by Law. The keeper had no chance with the spot kick as Gold scored for the second night running.
Raith hardly managed a decent shot on goal in the second half. Maybe unorthodox in method but sub Matthieu Judor disrupted many of their build ups by being in the right place at the right time. A second goal seemed likely to kill off the ‘home’ side but wasn’t forthcoming. Law scurried to use two hands to push away a long shot from Maxim Veyreinc which took an awkward bounce. Helm’s shot on the end of an excellent move involving Gold and Thompson looked goalbound but hit the top of the post. It meant Raith could still manage a final flurry in a bid to snatch an equaliser which would have meant a third successive stalemate between the teams but the Berwick defence held firm.
Berwick Rangers: J.Wilson, Bauld ( Herriot* 62 ), Watson, Miller ( Thompson* 49 ), R.Wilson*, Martyniuk, Philp*, Veyreinc*, Helm*, Gold, Mangala ( Judor 57 )