Irving Nets Twice As Rangers Open League Campaign With Victory Over Clyde
Saturday, August 5th, 2017 SPFL 2
BERWICK RANGERS 3 CLYDE 1
Andrew Irving scored Berwick’s first and last goals and had a hand in the one in between but it was keeper Robby McCrorie who won the sponsors’ home man of the match award, the announcement coming just a minute before Irving sealed the win in the 89th minute. It was a prospect that did not look likely as the teams trooped down the tunnel at half time. Berwick were decidedly lucky to be level at one each.
Both sides contain a host of new faces this season but for much of the game, the visitors knitted together much better. Frequently giving Berwick little time or space to work the ball, their dangerous front men David Goodwillie and Smart Osadolar ensured a tough SPFL baptism for Rangers’ young defenders.
It was mostly Clyde in the opening 20 minutes. Osadolar’s footwork got him past Chris McDonald but his shot resembled a rugby conversion kick. Darren Millar kept the ball down but shot straight at McCrorie. Berwick got a look in with a cross from the overlapping McDonald but central defender Kevin Nichol got his head to the ball before it reached Greg Rutherford. In another burst of home pressure, Irving advanced well inside the box but Clyde mustered sufficient numbers to nullify the attack by forcing Rangers sideways and then took the lead on 23 minutes. Oliver Fleming couldn’t cope with Goodwillie whose angled shot from close in hit the far side of the net. The goal unnerved the home defence and Goodwillie was only denied a second score by McCrorie’s legs when the former Dundee United and Scotland man was seemingly through. Undaunted, Clyde’s number ten then took on and beat Rangers’ captain Darren Lavery before Jordan Stewart wasted the good work by firing too high.
The 37th minute saw Osadolar beat two men but not McCrorie whose one-handed save turned the ball over the bar. Kevin Waugh was next to lose out to the ex-Annan man’s skills before Fleming’s sliding tackle cut him off.
Seconds from the break, Clyde gave away the ball in the middle of the Berwick half. It left Aaron Murrell with the space to go forward and make a good pass to Irving to his left from where the Hearts’ loan player slotted the ball into the opposite corner of Blair Currie’s goal.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were to prove the game’s decisive period simply because Clyde failed to score even though Rangers had some scary moments. When the ball was flicked on to him, Keiran Stewart kicked it away from a goal bound Goodwillie. Millar sent Clyde’s scorer racing away but under pressure from Waugh and McDonald, Goodwillie’s rushed shot from the edge of the goal area wasn’t even half decent.
The visiting support was angry when Osadolar failed to live up to his forename when deciding to have an unsuccessful crack himself despite having men in support. Home fans were miffed when Clyde were allowed to take a free kick inside Rangers’ half, apparently awarded because Murrell had come back from an offside position. An attempted spectacular hit from Goodwillie followed but McCrorie palmed it away.
Goodwillie again slipped through the defence and this time tried to lob McCrorie only for the ball to nestle on top of the big keeper’s net. Some thought the Clyde man was a victim of a foul as Michael McKenna began a run which ended with a pass to Rutherford who certainly was, just outside the penalty area. Currie scooped away Irving’s free kick but Murrell returned it to give Rangers an 84th minute lead. Five minutes later, passes from Murrell and Lavery set up Irving to finish in style to make it 3-1. Did Berwick deserve to win? It’s an arguable point. Then again, last week, they didn’t deserve to lose at Motherwell.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Fleming, Waugh, Lavery, Rutherford ( Watt 87 ), McKenna, Irving, K.Stewart, Donaldson, McDonald, Murrell ( Orru 90 )