EAST STIRLING 1, BERWICK RANGERS 0
Berwick faced league leaders East Stirling at Ochilview on Saturday, knowing that a victory would have taken them top of the table.
Shire had lost their last two games, whilst Berwick were unbeaten since the opening day of the season, so Ian Little’s men travelled with some confidence.
But Rangers got off to a disastrous start, conceding after only five minutes when ‘old boy’ Michael Bolochoweckyj netted to give the home side the lead, turning in a pass from Ross O’Donoghue with a low drive.
Bolo was one of four ex-Berwick players in the Shire starting line-up, the team being managed by former Shielfield boss John Coughlin.
The goal was to be the only one of the afternoon, meaning Shire extended their kead at the top to four points.
Berwick remain in second, but only on goal difference from Montrose, Annan and Peterhead.
The league table is so tight that the eight teams between second and ninth are only separated by two points.
After 21 minutes O’Donaghue had a shot saved by Berwick keeper Paul Grant, and just a few minutes later home keeper Grant Hay saved from a shot by Scott Dalziel from 15 yards out after ex-Berwick skipper Chris Townsley failed to clear properly with a header.
With half an hour gone Hay also had to save from a shot by Michael Dunlop, and the keeper was called into action again after 39 minutes, pushing away a fizzing shot from Kenny O’Brien as Rangers tried to force their way back into contention.
At the other end Grant saved a shot from former Berwick midfielder David Greenhill.
The visitors were the better side in the first half, but at the break they trailed 1-0.
Ten minutes into the second half Grant saved from a shot by Kevin Turner.
Berwick won three corners in quick succession as they tried to turn the screw, but even with Dale Gray on for Neil Janczyk, they were unable to find a way through.
A Darren Lavery shot was blocked by Bolochoweckyj and there were shots at either end from Stephen Tulloch and Iain Thomson.
With seven minutes remaining Little tried to change things around by introducing Dean Carse (in place of Dalziel) and Josh Morris (for O’Brien).
Rangers had salvaged a late point at home to Stirling Albion the previous week, but there was to be no fightback on this occasion as Shire held out for the win to maintain their place at the top.
East Stirling - Hay, MacGregor, McGowan, Townsley, Bolochoweckyj, Thomson, O’Donoghue (McKechnie 76), Greenhill (Miller 88), Wright, Turner, Glasgow (Maxwell 66).
Berwick - Grant, Jacobs, Hoskins, Dunlop, Tulloch, Janczyk (Gray 66), Currie, Notman, Lavery, Dalziel (Carse 83), O’Brien (Morris 83).
Referee - Des Roache.
Attendance - 301.