Saturday, September 16th, 2017 SPFL 2
BERWICK RANGERS 3 ELGIN CITY 2
Justice was done in the end. Two great strikes from Aaron Murrell and another by Michael McKenna, all inside the final 17 minutes, secured a first win for recently appointed manager Robbie Horn. It was his decision to bring on Murrell for the final quarter which more than anything else turned the match Rangers’ way.
It began in miserable, drizzly conditions which probably matched the mood of home fans when City went in front after only four minutes. Bruce Anderson cashed in when a static home defence failed to deal with a long throw in from the right. Four minutes into the second half, Anderson did it again, confidently beating Robby McCrorie after Brian Cameron spotted him running into a big gap between Berwick back men. On a normal day, his brace might have been enough to take all three points back north but this was to be no normal day.
The home side didn’t even deserve to be behind at the break. They played plenty of good football and it wasn’t just profligacy near goal which cost them. With Keiran Stewart on 27 minutes and McKenna just before drinks, it was sheer bad luck that the ball finished a fraction beyond the post.
Over the 90 minutes, Berwick’s total number of shots was almost double that of Elgin’s. McCrorie threw himself to block another from Anderson which had it been successful would almost certainly have finished off the Black and Gold for whom Murrell hit the first one that counted five minutes after taking the field. Andrew Irving took Marc Waters by surprise in the 81st minute with a thumping effort from outside the box which rose high enough to hit the keeper’s hand and on to the top of the net. Two minutes later, Murrell put Rangers level, the ball ending up in the same region of the net as his first goal. With three minutes remaining, McKenna defied the attention of two defenders in keeping control of the ball to choose time and spot to dispatch the winner. He celebrated by sliding towards the Main Stand touchline, referee David Dickinson quickly dispersing the mob of teammates who went to congratulate him.
The rain long gone, the final whistle went in the autumn sunshine which now reflected the happier disposition of the home support. Berwick Rangers promoted this fixture by distributing complimentary tickets to ‘new and returning supporters’ which helped the attendance come close to the 500 mark. After the high drama they witnessed, it is to be hoped that many of them will be back.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Notman, McKinlay, Fairbairn, Rutherford ( Murrell 68 ), McKenna, Phillips, Irving, Stewart ( Thomson 80 ), Godinho, Scullion
All pictures courtesy of Ian Runciman