Berwick Rangers 1, Stirling Albion 0
LEE Currie went from villain to hero as Berwick snatched a last gasp win at home to Stirling Albion on Tuesday.
Currie had missed a first half penalty when his effort was saved by visiting keeper Sam Filler.
The game looked as if it was destined to finish 0-0, but in the 87th minute a free kick from the midfield maestro deflected off the wall and found the net to secure a welcome and vital victory.
In-form Albion arrived at Shielfield on a seven match unbeaten run, whilst Rangers had only one win over the same period.
With Dylan Easton still nursing an ankle injury and leading scorer Darren Lavery relegated to the bech, Berwick gave a first home start to teenage striker Dean Carse, who only signed a contract extension for next season last week.
And the youngster was in good form early on, looking to be Berwick’s best outlet along with a sharp-looking Fraser McLaren.
The game was only three minutes old when McLaren burst into the corner but Carse was unable to make contact with his cross at the near post.
Less than 60 seconds later and McLaren ran through again and hit a snap shot from the edge of the box which Filler did well to brilliantly turn around for a corner at full stretch.
With 12 minutes on the clock Berwick were handed a golden opportunity to steal a lead when Scott Dalziel was floored by Jamie Bishop in the box and referee Euan Anderson pointed to the spot. Bishop was lucky to stay on the pitch as he might have been deemed the last man, a sentiment which was echoed by Berwick manager Ian Little at the final whistle. Currie stepped up to take the kick, but it was well saved by Filler, diving low to his left.
At the other end Marc McCallum did well to parry a Kieran McAnespie free kick, and he repeated the feat after half an hour with a punch from a carbon copy effort.
Stevie Notman might have done better when he pulled a shot wide, but probably the best chance of the half fell to Stirling’s Jordan White who slipped a shot inches wide of McCallum’s left hand post after a neat one-two involving McAnespie and Scott Davidson on the edge of the area.
The second half was dull by comparison. Stirling looked the more adventurous of the two sides, but the Berwick back four stood firm and McCallum was seldom troubled.
White went close with another effort for the visitors, but when McLaren ran through, only to see his poked shot come back off a post after 84 minutes, it looked as if Rangers were heading for another draw.
All that changed with just three minutes remaining, however, when Berwick were awarded a free kick in a central position about 20 yards out.
Currie has scored a few free kicks this season already, but perhaps none will be more important than this effort, which deflected off the wall past Filler for what was a welcome and vital three points, lifting the team back onto the verge of the play-off picture.
Afterwards manager Little said: “We haven’t always had the luck this season, but for once it was on our side tonight. It’s a welcome three points, but we have two very difficult and important games coming up in the next week (against Montrose on Saturday and Queen’s Park on Tuesday). They are two teams chasing the play-offs as well, so effectively they are six-pointers as far as we are concerned.”
Berwick : McCallum, Jacobs, Gielty,Townsley, Brydon, Currie, McLaren, Notman, Carse (Lavery 58’), Dalziel, McDonald (Addison 69’)
Stirling Albion:Filer, McCurnie, Forsyth, McClure, Alison, Bishop, McAnespie, Ferry, White, Davidson, Johnston (Flood 69’).