Darren Lavery, the latest Berwick Ranger to be sent off ( Photo courtesy of Alan Bell )
Saturday, November 19th, 2016 SPFL 2 CLYDE 3 BERWICK RANGERS 2
The forty or so Berwick supporters in the away end at Broadwood pushed the official attendance over the 500 mark. At the end of a first half in which their team was fortunate to be only one goal down, they could have been forgiven for thinking that the play off beckoning at the end of the season is the relegation one. It was that bad. By the end of the game, despite the final result, they were probably in better heart. Two goals adrift after 54 minutes, Rangers hit back with two of their own inside the space of four minutes. If they had not had a player sent off yet again, there was the real prospect of leaving Cumbernauld with at least
Such was the poverty of Berwick’s first half performance that they had only one realistic chance to score. On 16 minutes, Jordyn Sheerin sent a low pass from the right along the byeline. Right in front of goal, Greg Rutherford should have scored but barely made contact with the ball. Next in line Greg Hurst tried to make up for this but keeper John Gibson just managed to stop the ball going past him.
The difference in passing was marked, Clyde finding their man, sometimes almost instinctively. They kept Phil Johnston over on the right well supplied realising that he was presenting problems for Graeme Beveridge. ‘Bev’ also tended to get sucked infield allowing Johnston free runs. Typically, Rangers’ attempted passes of a length of ten yards or more were woefully inaccurate.
Early on, Kevin Walker rushed out of his goal to deal with Darren Miller’s cross from the left intended for striker David Gormley.
Unmarked Peter MacDonald was wide with a header from a long Miller free kick.
Berwick were unhappy when another free was awarded on the edge of the ‘D’ and even unhappier at the outcome. Walker was slow to realise MacDonlad’s kick had beaten the wall to give the Bully Wee a 23rd minute
lead. Lee Hamilton kicked the ball off MacDonald’s feet when he threatened to double his tally.
Darren Lavery linked with Beveridge on a raid into the Clyde half but the full back crossed into a penalty area devoid of black and gold shirts. Near half time, Berwick’s failings were neatly summed up when one of their more promising build ups ended in a back pass to Walker!
Rangers looked to have more fire in their bellies as they opened the second half. Brian Martin’s lob to Sheerin was played back to Hurst who hit the ball hard enough but a few feet outside Gibson’s post and the next score also came from Clyde, courtesy of a curling shot by Gormley.
A home defence which had scarcely been tested suddenly looked vulnerable as Berwick started running at it with determination. In the 58th minute, Rutherford turned in Sheerin’s cross prompting manager John Coughlin to bring on Jordan Orru to add extra attacking bite. It paid off when he began the move for the equaliser. Rutherford was also involved before Hurst finished.
In between the two Berwick goals, Walker made two excellent saves, the second at full stretch to send the ball over the bar.
With 17 minutes remaining, Berwick’s all too familiar incapacity to finish with a full team struck again. Perhaps due to frustration at having just given away the ball, Lavery’s challenge on Scott Ferguson led to instant dismissal. This time, there was no immediate full retreat into their own half as against Cowdenbeath a couple of weeks earlier and Rangers came close to scoring again. Hurst streaked forward and found Sheerin but when the ball was returned, Gibson was able to get a hand to it to diffuse the situation for a corner.
Nine minutes from normal time, Clyde won a corner and from it, Chris Smith headed the hosts back in front. The Berwick players were deflated but rallied to try to level again. They almost did so near the end. Ben Stirling did well to win the ball. Almost down on one knee as he connected with Stirling’s chip, late substitute Daniel Watt could only watch as he saw the ball rise over the empty far corner of Gibson’s goal.
Berwick Rangers: Walker, Hamilton, Beveridge ( Orru 59 ), Stirling, Martin, Fairbairn, Thomson, Hurst ( Watt 88 ), Rutherford, Lavery, Sheerin ( Hogg 81 )