Ethan Anderson, scorer of two of Berwick’s three Development League goals at Station Park ( Photo courtesy of John Bell )
FORFAR ATHLETIC 6 BERWICK RANGERS 3 (Tuesday, December 1st, 2015)
A banner near the Main Stand at Station Park proclaims Forfar Athletic
as 2014-15 SPFL Development League champions. Judged on their first half
performance in this game, they look quite capable of retaining the title
even though they currently lie fourth in the table, eight points behind
leaders Stirling Albion.
Traffic problems on the way up delayed Berwick’s arrival meaning the
scheduled 8:00 p.m. kick off was put back almost twenty minutes and the
game ended after 10:00 p.m.
Another timing of note was the forty seconds it took the hosts to open
the scoring. Playing out on the left, despite wearing number seven,
Craig Smith got behind the Rangers’ defence and Kerr Hay finished off
with the first of what would become a hat trick.
Berwick struggled to read Forfar’s plays as the home side used space and
pace to give them a hard time. A good example saw Frankie Devine and Hay
combine before Dayle Robertson fired wide.
In spite of their impressive play, it took Forfar 33 minutes following
the first goal to net again. With ease, Cameron Clark was able to
deliver the ball across field to Smith who again fed Hay to finish off.
Rangers were further rocked by two more goals in the final five minutes
of the first half. Keeper Craig Cockburn saved from Robertson but his
defenders were unable to snuff out the danger, allowing Hay to claim his
third success of the night.
But for a superb tackle by Ross Graham deep inside the box, Hay might
have grabbed a fourth goal after Smith sent him through once more.
Instead, it was centre half Jack Neave who rifled the ball home after
Cockburn, with a wall of home and away players in his way, struggled to
get a decent punch of the ball.
Neither of the first half scorers reappeared after the break. In Hay’s
case, it was because of his likely inclusion in the first team squad for
this Saturday’s Scottish Cup replay against Queen’s Park. Neave’s place
was taken by Callum Beattie, a player with a physique resembling a
Samoan rugby player.
Whilst it wasn’t exactly a case of the fabled ‘game of two halves’,
Berwick restored some credibility with their second half performance.
They had taken off Scott Russell immediately following Hay’s second goal
as he hurt his shoulder in an earlier mid air collision with keeper
Jason King. Ethan Anderson, who has recently been playing in defence,
came on in a straight swap, meaning a role up front on the left. Four
minutes into the new half, he pounced to score after King initially
stopped Charlie Denton’s shot.
Just four minutes later, Forfar regained the four goal margin when
Michael Kennedy headed in Devine’s corner. Though Berwick were now
generally much tighter in their marking, Smith could have added another
after beating Ewan Herriot. Cockburn sufficiently narrowed the angle to
force him into shooting wide.
A 72nd minute goal line clearance produced a double dividend for
Berwick. It saved a goal and was also the spark for a swift counter
attack. Anderson drifted over to the right and with King,… who up to
this point looked a safe keeper… poorly positioned, lobbed the ball
high into the net.
Less than a minute later, Rangers struck again. Neither Ross Drummond
nor Denton appeared to be making headway as they pressed the defence but
the ball broke to Finn Graham. With King again in the wrong spot, the
ball bounced perfectly for Graham to propel a low header over the line.
The visitors believed they had claims for a penalty when Finn was
bundled over but it was Forfar who were awarded one late on. Dean
McConnell was adjudged to have fouled Devine and Smith scored with ease.
Berwick Rangers: Cockburn, Herriot, Ross Graham, McDonald, Forrest (
McConnell 68 ), Finn Graham, Denton, Hogg ( capt. ), Watt, S.Russell (
Anderson 34 ), Drummond
** Berwick’s under 20s–augmented by first teamers Kevin Walker, Jonny
Fairbairn and Blair Henderson–were involved in another high scoring
game the previous week, a 4-4 draw in a friendly at Dalkeith Thistle. On
the same night, the first team beat Haddington Athletic 2-1, Darren
Lavery getting both Berwick goals.