East Stirlingshire 2-2 Berwick Rangers

Lee Currie scored for Berwick.
Lee Currie scored for Berwick.

Berwick Rangers head into Saturday’s clash with second-placed Annan Athletic five points adrift of a play-off spot after a draw away to East Stirlingshire at Ochilview.

Lee Currie lit up an otherwise poor first half by dispatching a 25-yard free kick on 41 minutes for his 11th goal in his last 16 games.

Paul Quinn equalised from the spot midway through the second half and in stoppage time, debutant Andy Russell missed a gilt-edged chance to snatch the win for the Gers as he placed his shot wide of the post.

Manager Colin Cameron sat out the game after lasting only half an hour against Elgin last week and he was one of many changes in a Berwick side hit by injuries and suspension.

On-loan Dunfermline left-back Ross Drummond made his debut with Devon Jacobs moving to his more natural right-back position, while there was also a place on the bench for January signing Russell.

Both teams were limited to chances from distance early on as Jacobs had a shot from 35 yards which Grant Hay saved comfortably while Scott Maxwell and Richard Miller both struck over for Shire.

Michael Dunlop then almost got on the end of a Lee Currie cross after a Damian Gielty shot was deflected for a corner before Shire had a chance of their own from a corner when former Berwick captain Chris Townsley headed into the arms of Michael Andrews.

With the first real bit of quality in the game, Berwick took the lead four minutes from the break when Lee Currie fired a 25-yard free kick past Hay after Paul Currie was bundled to the ground.

The Gers struggled in the opening period of the second half though with Shire beginning to press more and they should’ve equalised after the hour mark when Quinn was put through one on one with Andrews but he somehow put his effort wide of the far post.

Referee Mat Northcroft then waved a penalty away for the home side and had words with boss John Coughlin after Max Wright went to ground under the challenge of Hoskins but from the throw-in following the centre-back’s clearance, Gielty hung a leg out and brought down Thomson with the official in no hesitation to point to the spot this time around.

Quinn blasted the ball down the middle and with 22 minutes left to play, Berwick began to up the tempo with the introduction of Russell on the hour mark for Darren Lavery adding an increased goal threat.

A Quinn strike aside, the Gers had all of the chances in the closing stages as a Gielty shot was cleared off the line by Townsley and a powerful 20-yard strike from Russell was brilliantly tipped over by Hay.

The January signing from Cowdenbeath should’ve won it in injury time as Josh Morris drove towards goal and the ball found its way into the striker’s path and his effort beat Hay but not the far corner, much to the despair of the healthy travelling support.

East Stirlingshire: Hay, Tapping, Townsley, Miller (Devlin 75), Maxwell, MacGregor, Greenhill, McKechnie (Glasgow 64), Thomson, Wright, Quinn (O’Donoghue 83).Subs Not Used: Gordon.

Booked: Thomson.

Goals: Quinn 68 pen.

Berwick Rangers: Andrews, Jacobs, Gielty, Dunlop, Drummond, O’Brien, Paul Currie (Miller 86), Hoskins, Lee Currie, Morris, Lavery (Russell 63). Subs Not Used: Fairburn, Bald, B Trialist.

Booked: Hoskins.

Goals: Lee Currie 42.

Attendance: 341

Referee: Matt Northcroft