Berwick substitute Ross Brady (right) in action on his first team debut against Oxford United.
Saturday, July 13th, 2013
Berwick Rangers 1 Oxford United 2
After a draw at Ashington and a 3-2 midweek win over Brechin City in Edinburgh, Berwick Rangers lost their first home pre-season friendly, Oxford securing victory with two second half goals.
Despite defeat, Berwick manager Ian Little was happy with his team’s performance, pointing out that his side controlled the first half. Berwick finished with five players on the field who were members of last season’s Reserves’ squad, the manager satisfied that they didn’t look out of place against their bigger Football League 2 opponents.
One of those five, Josh Morris, scored his first goal for the senior side after only two minutes when the Oxford defence was caught out after Dean Hoskins broke up an attack deep inside the Berwick half.
Several times, the visiting supporters were bemused by referee Gavin Duncan starting with his 28th minute decision not to award a corner when Rangers’ goalie Paul Grant clearly turned a ball from Callum O’Dowda over his crossbar.
In the second half, Hoskins saved the day with a timely tackle on David Kitson as Oxford’s pace and pressure began to tell. When the ball flashed across a crowded goal area, Mr.Duncan ruled it hit a Berwick arm and Asa Hall duly dispatched the penalty to make it 1-1 in the 63rd minute.
Nine minutes later, Tom Newey picked out unmarked Sean Rigg to receive his free kick and with a spectacular strike, Rigg sent the ball on its way into the back of the net.
Berwick rallied. Oxford keeper Ryan Clarke saved from Scott Dalziel and moved smartly to grab the ball before Dean Carse connected with a low cross from Morris. After Ewan Saunderson made headway down the other flank, Darren Lavery hooked the ball the wrong side of the post. Clarke denied Berwick a very late equaliser by turning a Carse shot over the bar after Rangers, through Ross Brady, again caused Oxford trouble out wide.
Official attendance: 247
Berwick Rangers: Grant, Turner–T ( Saunderson 79 ), Hoskins ( Brady 66 ), Murdoch–T ( Fairbairn 66 ), Tulloch, Janczyk ( Gielty 20 ), Morris, Currie, Lavery, Dalziel ( Meikle–T, 79 ), Martin–T (Carse 75 )
T = Trialist