Jordan McGregor returned to Berwick’s starting line up at Annan but wearing number 8 ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
ANNAN ATHLETIC 1 BERWICK RANGERS 0
( Saturday, March 19th, 2016 )
Galabank has not been a happy hunting ground for Berwick Rangers. This
was their third defeat on its narrow confines this season though on
their way out of the ground, a couple of Annan fans were in agreement,
“We were lucky today.” Annan’s Rabin Omar was also in luck, collecting
the sponsor’s home man of the match award and avoiding a card despite a
series of petty fouls.
With Brian Martin suspended, Jordan McGregor, curiously wearing number
8, returned to Berwick’s back three where Jonny Fairbairn again occupied
his preferred middle spot. The other changes from the starting eleven
against Stirling Albion the previous week also concerned numbers.
Michael McKenna wore the no. 9 shirt whilst Blair Henderson’s back was
adorned with 11.
Perhaps it was the bright sunshine but in the first half in particular,
this had the feel of an end of season game. It shouldn’t; Annan still
have hopes of making the promotion play offs whilst Berwick must ensure
their League status is not jeopardised by finishing bottom.
Rangers spent a lot of time passing the ball about neatly in a manner
reminiscent of a season or two back but as then, it didn’t produce
anything. In fact, neither side managed much in the way of serious goal
attempts in the opening half. The closest call came on 21 minutes when
Peter Weatherson’s grass cutter of a free kick came off the far post.
Keeper Kevin Walker may have got a hand to it on the way. Early on,
Callum Crane sent a shot too high after Henderson got the better of Omar
and knocked the ball back for him to have a go. A Matty Flynn effort
curled over the top of the post to end a move started by Omar’s
crossfield pass to tricky left winger Lewis Guy. Annan goalie Jordan
Hart dived towards his far post to hold a ball from McKenna. It was
difficult to determine whether it was meant as a cross or a shot. This
one came from the left wing but ‘Mikey’ put himself about all game in
his efforts to create something.
Berwick had the greater share of second half possession. On a typical
‘take them on’ run, Crane cut a path between defenders but there was no
one in the box to connect with his cross. Rangers’ best chance of the
match came on 59 minutes. A four man build up starting in their own half
left Darren Lavery with just Hart to beat but the keeper positioned
himself correctly to smother the ball.
An Omar run was the catalyst for a powerful strike from Flynn which must
have left Walker’s fists stinging after he punched it clear. It was
Flynn who claimed the only goal from roughly the same spot seven minutes
from time. There were Berwick blue shirts in front of him but not one
near enough to close him down. Even then, Annan got a bit of luck as his
hit scraped the post on its way in.
After the goal, manager John Coughlin made a couple of substitutions but
in reality, for Rangers, the game was up.
Berwick Rangers: K.Walker, McNeil, Crane, Notman, Wilson ( Cunningham 84
), Fairbairn, F.Graham ( Stevenson 86 ), McGregor, McKenna, Lavery,
Official attendance: 430