Arbroath 2-0 Berwick Rangers

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Berwick suffered a pre-christmas set-back when they were beaten by league leaders Arbroath at Gayfield.

It was the second time this season the Angus side had beaten the Shielfield Park outfit and the defeat leaves Berwick in sixth place in the table, two points behind the play-off places.

Arbroath have now opened up a five point gap at the top of the table as a result of their victory and are looking favourites for the title, although there is still a long way to go.

The Red Lichties took the points on this occasion courtesy of a goal in each half from Simon Murray and Bobby Linn.

The closest Berwick went to scoring was when striker Darren Lavery was unlucky to see a shot bounce back off the crossbar late in the game.

Berwick manager Colin Cameron decided to field an unchanged side from that which had won its previous two games, 4–0 against Clyde and 1–0 against Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup fourth round replay.

Following an even start, Paul McManus gave warning to Rangers that he was the man to watch when he went close twice within a minute.

First of all he had a shot from outside the box saved in the centre of the goal by Berwick keeper Michael Andrews, and then he pulled another shot wide.

But on 27 minutes the home side opened the scoring when Murray found the net from close range after being set up by Ricky Little.

As Berwick tried to respond, Lee Currie pulled a shot wide and the. paul Willis had a shot saved by home keeper McCallum, but at half-time Arbroath maintained their advantage.

At the start of the second half Darren Lavery went close for Berwick when McCallum saved his shot from outside the box.

But on 52 minutes Arbroath doubled their lead when Bobby Linn found the top corner of the net with a shot from the centre of the penalty area.

Craig Johnstone and Willis went close at either end and as Berwick tried desperately to find a way back into the match, Paul Currie, Scott Dalziel and Ross Drummond were all introduced as substitutes in place of David Gold, Andy Russell and Dean Hoskins.

Lavery went agonisingly close to pulling a goal back for Berwick when he hit the bar with a shot from outside the box after 80 minutes,

Then, in the closing stages, there were chances at either end as first of all substitute Kevin Buchan and then Willis both pulled shots wide.

Arbroath: McCallum, Little, McBride, Whatley, Johnstone, Linn, Nicol, Hunter, Lowdon (Buchan 88), McManus (Smith 90), Murray

Berwick: Andrews, Jacobs, Fairbairn, Young, Hoskins (Drummond 70), Willis, Notman, L Currie, Gold (P Currie 60), Russell (Dalziel 69), Lavery