Darren Lavery who limped off before half time against Kilmarnock ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
BERWICK RANGERS 0 KILMARNOCK 1 ( Saturday, July 11th, 2015 )
Just when it appeared Berwick would achieve an honourable draw against Premiership opposition, Rory McKenzie struck for Killie. It meant that for the second time in a week, Rangers conceded a goal three minutes from the end of a pre-season match. Fans must hope that the tendency to lose late goals so prevalent last season does not become a regular occurrence when the serious action starts in a few weeks’ time.
Berwick fielded only two trialists in their starting line up. One was Kieran Ainslie who formed an all local centre back partnership with new team captain Jonny Fairbairn before making way for new signing Robert Wilson during the second period. Whilst with eventual Scottish Junior Cup finalists Musselburgh Athletic last season, Wilson himself had several outings as a trialist in Berwick’s Development team.
After narrow escapes for both defences, Kilmarnock did have the ball in the net in the first half but the man who planted it there, Dale Carrick, was ruled offside. Just before the break, Darren Lavery limped off and did not return, leaving home fans to speculate on the seriousness or otherwise of his injury.
Andy Russell came on during the second half for his first appearance of the pre-season. Other subs included Barry Hogg, manager Colin Cameron and trialist John Crawford but it was another man on trial who made the biggest impression. David Banjo put in some robust tackles and showed some deft touches with the ball but was unable to successfully finish off one piece of individual brilliance inside the visitors’ box, hitting the side netting intead.
After 25 minutes of the second half, Ewan McNeil made an almost miraculous clearance off the line when a legitimate Kilmarnock opener seemed certain. But there was nothing any Berwick player could do to stop McKenzie’s late winner.
Berwick Rangers Starting XI: Walker, McNeil, Drummond, Graham*, Ainslie*, Fairbairn ( capt. ), Morris, Beveridge, Henderson, Lavery, McKenna
* Denotes Trialist
Official attendance: 433