Brian Martin starred in defence for Berwick at Hampden ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
QUEEN’S PARK 0 BERWICK RANGERS 0
( Saturday, March 5th, 2016 )
This match was marginally better than when the teams met at Shielfield
less than two weeks ago. Like that game, this one also finished level
leaving Rangers unbeaten in all four League encounters with the Spiders
this season. Berwick won the other two by the same 1-0 margin.
Queen’s made the early running and in the 7th minute, Rangers’ keeper
Mark Walters tipped away Sean Burns’ cross cum shot and then fell on the
ball before a lurking home player could get it. Walters also punched
away a couple of first half corners.
In the 14th minute, Queen’s had the ball in the net but the flag was up
for offside. Two minutes later, Berwick threatened for the first time,
Finn Graham’s shot on the turn resulting in a corner.
Callum Crane provided Michael McKenna with the last pass in a swift
counter attack. McKenna made a decent stab at it but lobbed the ball
wide. Another promising build up ended with a soft shot from Dylan
Seven minutes into the second half, McKenna was shown yellow for a
touchline foul on Jamie McKernon. Shortly afterwards, Paul Woods set up
John Carter for a strike through a gap in the line of players gathered
inside the box but he misjudged the angle.
Darren Lavery cut a lonely figure up front for Berwick until joined by
Blair Henderson on 66 minutes. His entry coincided with a spell when
Berwick couldn’t get out of their own half, solid defensive work often
undone and extra work created by giving the ball back to the opposition.
Berwick’s attacks were also prone to breaking down for the same reason
though at times, Queen’s weren’t much better.
Five minutes after coming on, Henderson had a shot blocked and he was
unable to turn smartly enough to take advantage of the second chance. A
doubt before the game because of injury, he moved gingerly and couldn’t
get up to attempt to head Crane’s 77th minute cross.
The final stages were marked by a succession of free kicks to both
sides. One, against Graeme Beveridge six yards beyond the ‘D’, seemed
tough but Chris Duggan hit it over the top. Lavery complained about one
which went against him and was booked. Minutes beforehand, Crane’s name
was also noted. Peeved because he thought the ref had awarded Queen’s
Park another of those frees, he refused to hand over the ball. A melee
formed around him but after all this, it was only a throw-in.
Near the end, Rangers had a couple of narrow escapes. Brian Martin,
probably Berwick’s best on the day,cleared off the line. Even later,
Carter missed a golden chance to clinch a winner when given a free shot
Berwick supporters were well represented in the attendance of 409. The
quality of football may have been moderate; the drumming of Queen’s
small band of young ‘musicians’ worse. But with so much at stake for
Berwick, the tension was such that gradually, their noise was barely
Berwick Rangers: Walters, McNeil, Crane, Notman ( Beveridge 74 ),
McGregor, Fairbairn, F.Graham, Stevenson ( Henderson 66 ), McKenna,