Clyde’s John Gibson about to save from Darren Lavery ( Photo courtesy of Ian Runciman )
Saturday, October 1st, 2016 SPFL 2 BERWICK RANGERS 1 CLYDE 1
A first half which made painful viewing for Berwick fans was followed by a gripping second stanza which ended with Rangers down to ten men. Clyde were left to rue scoring just the once in a first half they dominated.
At the start, Phil Johnston, with a header, and Peter MacDonald with a shot, both sent the ball over the bar. Nor could MacDonald reach Scott Linton’s dangerous cross but in the 18th minute, Shaun Higgins stabbed home an even better one from the Clyde playmaker sent over from near the Main Stand touchline. Higgins then came close with a curling shot which bounced on to the top of Kevin Walker’s net.
Twenty five minutes passed before Berwick managed anything approximating to a shot on goal. Graeme Beveridge chested forward Steven Thomson’s cross field ball before sending it back across to Greg Hurst. Well placed and under no immediate pressure, he fired sky high.
Normal service resumed. Johnston was just wide after playing a 1:2 with Higgins. Kevin Walker made what turned out to be his last save of the match diving to push away a strike from Matty Flynn playing just behind the Clyde front men. A shot following the resulting corner was cleared off the line by Thomson.
Having seemingly hurt his leg, Walker was replaced by Sean Brennan six minutes ahead of the interval. The new keeper saw Clyde pack their defence as Rangers tried to build a penetrative attack but they succumbed 60 seconds from the half time whistle. Close to the edge of his area, John Gibson punched away a free kick given because Darren Lavery was scythed down. Thomson returned the clearance with a superbly judged shot into the far corner of the net.
In contrast to the first period, it took Berwick only two minutes into the second to threaten the Clyde goal, Gibson saving from Hurst as the Shielfield side promised better things. Yet, Clyde almost made it 2-1 when Flynn hit the post after shrugging off Beveridge.
Brennan did little wrong. He was down pronto to hold a ball from Higgins and later, a long shot from Ewan McNeil. Twice, he advanced from his line to disrupt first, MacDonald and then sub David Gormley. Jonny Fairbairn, who took the match sponsor’s Man of the Match award, saved the day after Thomson gave away the ball to Johnston. Clyde were also profligate with a couple of free kicks from promising positions.
Jordyn Sheerin created Rangers’ best chances of the half. His cross from the right caught defenders out of position but none of his teammates appeared to see it coming either and the ball drifted towards the other side of the field. Late on, Sheerin played in Lavery but Gibson got the angle right and saved with his legs.
Four Berwick players were booked. Clyde fans thought Stevie Notman’s 69th minute yellow for fouling was long overdue. Nine minutes on, Kevin McKinlay, who had a good second half, was done for foot up on sub Scott Ferguson. On 85 minutes, Lavery joined them for protesting about an offside decision. Worse was to come three minutes later as a consequence of Michael McKenna’s indiscipline. He may have set a record for two yellow cards in the shortest space of time and he was marched once again leaving his team to play the final two minutes plus stoppage time a man short.
For Berwick, a third game without defeat, a second successive draw but after being given the runaround for most of the first half, one which most of their fans were happy to accept.
Berwick Rangers: Walker ( Brennan 39 ), Beveridge, McKinlay, Notman, Wilson, Fairbairn, Thomson, Lavery, McKenna, Hurst ( Orru 74 ), Sheerin