Saturday, April 14th, 2018 SPFL 2
MONTROSE 1 BERWICK RANGERS 0
This match didn’t end until close to 6:00 p.m. as play was halted for an hour and 12 minutes because of a serious injury to Berwick Rangers’ forward Ousman See. He didn’t get up after being robbed of the ball inside the home half in the 26th minute. Play continued for a few more seconds until referee Willie Conquer blew for a foul by Gary Phillips and, with other Rangers men pointing to their injured colleague, the action was halted completely.
Though first aiders were quickly on to the pitch, the leg injury was such that an ambulance was called. A long wait ended with the ambulance crew taking the field at 4:15 p.m. and when See was eventually stretchered off, it was to sporting applause from the 805 spectators, many in the Main Stand on their feet.
A short warm up was permitted by the referee before the first half resumed at 4:38 p.m. with home keeper Allan Fleming’s free kick.
It was a match in which Montrose dominated for considerable spells, their repertoire more varied and more skilful than that of Rangers. Respective league positions didn’t lie. Yet for all that, despite often having to look smart to deal with an assortment of balls which came his way, Berwick keeper Robby McCrorie was never required to make what could truly be described as a real save. The one goal excepted, that was in part due to a sterling defensive effort in which Jamie Todd again featured prominently.
Montrose also showed that they could defend. They had the knack of closing down Berwick very quickly especially in midfield. Closer to their goal, it was impressive the way they got three men back into the box late on after Darren Lavery put through Aaron Murrell, Andrew Steeves the one who picked off See’s replacement. At the beginning of the second half when Murrell put Jack Hamilton clear, they managed to rob him of the ball as he veered left to set up his finish.
Hamilton had the ball in the net not long before the official break which was reduced to ten minutes, nutmegging keeper Fleming after Phillips decided to take on Montrose by himself. The linesman’s flag indicated that it wouldn’t count. As for the goal that did, it was scored in the 11th minute. Berwick were frequently troubled by big Chris Templeman’s dainty footwork but all he had to do on this occasion was tap in the ball from a yard out after Steeves was allowed to scoot along the bye line.
Berwick’s final chance of an equaliser came with a free kick. Oliver Fleming positioned himself just beyond the pack of players congregated in front of goal waiting for Steven Thomson to take it. Fleming got his head to Thommo’s ball but it bounced out of play a couple of yards outside the post.
Thomson was one of three Berwick men booked after an altercation with former Shielfield man Michael Bolochoweckyj whose name was noted at the same time. In the first half, Robert Wilson was done for the way he stopped Cammy Ballantyne after he intercepted Phillips’ pass meant for Jordan Orru and another offence against Ballantyne was the cause of Phillips’ own second half yellow.
By winning, Montrose stay three points clear of Peterhead, who also won 1-0, at the top of the table. Importantly, the result from further north against Cowdenbeath, means that the Fifers cannot now overtake Berwick and it is they who will play in the SPFL 2 relegation play off against either Lowland League winners Spartans or Highland League champions Cove Rangers.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, O.Fleming, Orru, Notman ( capt. ), Stewart, Wilson, Hamilton, Lavery, Todd ( Simpson 85 ), See ( Murrell 27 ), Phillips ( Thomson 74 )