Saturday, April 7th, 2018 SPFL 2
Berwick Rangers 1 Peterhead 3
A couple of dry days enabled this game to go ahead after the previous Tuesday’s home fixture v. Stenhousemuir was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. An hour before this one kicked off, the heavy rain returned and continued throughout the match. In more than one sense, it turned into a dismal day for Berwick and their supporters.
Up until Russell McLean scored the first of a brace after a little more than half an hour had passed, Berwick matched the current SPFL 2 leaders from whom they had already collected four points from their two visits to Balmoor Stadium.
The game’s opening chance fell Rangers’ way, Darren Lavery heading their first corner, won by Jack Hamilton, a fraction over the bar. Lavery was back to head away William Gibson’s flag kick, much of the time in between devoted to a spate of whistle from the referee, free kicks roughly divided equally between the two sides.
A miscalculation by Steven Notman which prevented the ball running out for a goal kick let Jack Leitch make a few yards before Mclean finished from close in.
Both keepers stopped shots ahead of Peterhead’s second goal, eleven minutes after the first. Robby McCrorie’s save led to another Gibson corner which Jason Brown flicked home to send the visitors in at the break two goals up.
Berwick manager Robbie Horn didn’t wait long to make second half changes bringing on Oliver Fleming and Ousman See together for Declan O’Kane ( already on a yellow card for a first half foul on Scott Brown ) and Paul Willis. Keiran Stewart moved into midfield. However 20 minutes into the half, the Blue Toon scored again. McCrorie’s reflex reaction stopped what would have been a Fleming own goal after the ball came in from the right but as the ball came off the keeper, McLean was on hand to celebrate a personal double.
Peterhead, who were not allowing the conditions to undermine a performance which showed why they are table toppers, brought on Rory McAllister, Notman blocking him just inside the box after the prolific goalscorer raced on to a loose ball in open space. McAllister also took a crossfield punt from James Stevenson to put through a useful looking pass to Leitch but McCrorie was on the spot to deal with it.
Rangers pulled one back on 77 minutes. The ball arrived awkwardly for See but he skilfully guided it on to Hamilton who ran on to do the rest.
There were late chances for both teams. From a near perfect position, Leitch hit the ball over the bar after Scott Brown cut in from the right. Stewart came close for Berwick when they won a corner as a result of an attack involving Fleming, Gary Phillips and Hamilton, the latter named as home man of the match.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Orru, Notman, Thomson ( Phillips 76 ), Lavery, Willis ( See 54 ), Stewart, O’Kane ( Fleming 54 ), Wilson, Hamilton, Todd
Pictures courtesy of Ian Runciman