Dean McConnell partnered captain Jonny Fairbairn in the second half against Newcastle United Under 21s ( Photo courtesy of John Bell )
BERWICK RANGERS XI 1 NEWCASTLE UNITED U-21s 3
( Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 )
The Berwick Rangers XI was more a Berwick Rangers XX as all the listed
players got a run out in this friendly against Peter Beardsley’s
Newcastle Under 21s. Included in the Berwick squad was newcomer Allan
Walker from East Fife debuting as a trialist. Another trialist was local
boy Kieran Ingram recently returned from America. Neil Oliver was in
charge of the team from the dug out with manager John Coughlin watching
from higher up.
Before the kick off, there was a minute’s applause for former Newcastle
goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek who has died aged 47 in the Czech Republic.
Berwick keeper Mark Walters was in early action, going down to halt a 40
yard run by Magpies’ left winger Owen Gallagher. In the 8th minute, he
parried a shot from Sean Longstaff. On 24 minutes, a powerful long shot
from Liam Gibson bounced off Walters’ chest towards Callum Roberts but
he was unable to take advantage of this good fortune and fired wide.
Rangers also had a few chances. Andy Russell flashed a header wide off a
long cross. Another cross from Barry Hogg floated just beyond the far
post and in the 33rd minute, Ross Drummond hit the bar from 35 yards.
Two minutes later, Dwayne Coultress was dumped on his backside by Dan
Barlaser and Russell put Berwick ahead from the penalty spot.
Walters foiled Lewis McNall after the home defence was split open and
Barlaser hit the post with a 20 yard free kick before the visitors
levelled with another penalty awarded because Robert Wilson turned over
Gallagher. Longstaff was the scorer.
A minute from the break, Roberts’ cross from the right went over a
number of heads before Gallagher got the vital nod to make it 2-1.
At half time, Rangers made the first three of numerous changes. The
Development team’s Dean McConnell now partnered Jonny Fairbairn in the
middle of the defence. Berwick’s captain was their best outfield player
though had the advantage of playing the whole game as he is suspended
for this Saturday’s home League game v. Annan. Drummond was the only
other man to play 90 minutes.
Callum Crane showed an appetite for going forward and taking on
opponents and could be well satisfied with his hour’s work. Walker, in
midfield, showed some neat touches but when he gave away the ball in the
70th minute, was relieved to see Walters’ legs save from Longstaff.
Both teams changed keepers before Newcastle extended their lead. Callum
Smith’s chip took a deflection off Charlie Denton paving the way for
Stefan Brocolli to knock the ball in at the near post.
Craig Cockburn jumped to tip over Roberts’ shot after Barlaser tapped a
free kick to him. At the other end, a good Berwick build up ended with
Regan Graham’s pass to Daniel Watt but the sub striker could not hit the
ball with any force.
Near the end, Berwick’s Finn Graham was shown a straight red card for
intemperate language towards the referee.
Berwick’s enterprise in arranging this match was rewarded with an
attendance of 388, all on the Main Stand side of the ground.
Berwick Rangers: Walters ( Cockburn 73 ), Beveridge ( Denton 46 ), Crane
( F.Graham 59 ), Wilson ( McConnell 46 ), Fairbairn, Walker ( Ingram 81
), Hogg ( Morris 59 ), Drummond, A.Russell ( Lavery 46 ), Henderson (
Watt 68 ), Coultress ( Regan Graham 59 )