Hurst brace not enough as Rangers sink to defeat

Greg Hurst scores Berwick's first goal against Elgin

Greg Hurst scores Berwick's first goal against Elgin

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BERWICK RANGERS 2

ELGIN CITY 4

New Berwick striker Greg Hurst scored two goals on his home debut, but was unable to prevent Rangers slipping to a lacklustre defeat against Elgin at Shielfield on Saturday.

Hurst struck with the very last kick of the first half and again 11 minutes from the end, but this was never going to be enough against a City side who virtually dominated throughout and on another day might have inflicted an even heavier loss on John Coughlin’s side.

The Borderers were undone by Shane Sutherland and Jamie Reid, who netted in the first half, while hitman Craig Gunn came off the bench to score twice in the second half.

The visitors were guilty of a couple of glaring misses and also saw the ball strike the Berwick woodwork twice as they threatened to run riot.

The victory lifted Elgin above Berwick in the table and later manager John Coughlin described it as ‘a horror show,’ claiming it was his team’s inability to defend soft goals which had led to their downfall.

Elgin always looked the more capable side and the opening goal came after 11 minutes when Reid’s initial shot was parried low by Kevin Walker, but Sutherland was on hand to slam home the rebound.

Mark Nicholson then glanced a header wide from a free kick as Elgin went in search of a second, which came after 24 minutes when Reid’s shot after a cutback on the break was spilled by Walker and the ball spun into his net.

It should have been three just two minutes later when a cross from the left slipped through Walker’s hands and found Sutherland unmarked at the back post, but he inexplicably shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

Sheerin spun and volleyed wide after the ball was headed down to him in the box, but Elgin looked the more dangerous and Walker had to save from Chris McLeish from a shot on the turn.

From a corner, Rangers’ Brian Martin headed the ball onto his own post, before Steven Thomson dispossessed keeper Stewart Black in the box, only to see his effort cleared at the near post by Archie McPhee.

Right on the stroke of half-time, and with the last kick of the first 45, striker Hurst pulled a goal back for Berwick when he slid the ball home after Sheerin showed persistence on the right before getting the ball across.

Early in the second half Reid found space down the right, and his low ball in fizzed across the face of the goal. McLeish then should have done better with a shot saved by Walker as Elgin looked the brighter.

The striker then glanced a header wide which had Walker scrambling across his goal, before the Berwick keeper did well to deny Reid as he burst through on the hour mark.

It was all Elgin and Reid was unlucky when a curling left foot shot came back off a post.

The third and deciding goal came in the 75th minute when substitute Gunn turned the ball into the net at the back post, following a cross from another substitute, Daniel Moore on the left.

Hurst then gave Rangers more hope with his second of the match in 79 minutes, forcing the ball over the line from close range after Sheerin had again done the spadework on the left.

But Elgin had the last say with Gunn running in his second and City’s fourth after 86 minutes to put the game beyond reach, whilst Moore blasted inches over from outside the box.

Berwick: K Walker, Stirling, Fairbairn, Martin, McKinlay (Beveridge 70), Thomson (Wilson 46), Notman, A Walker (Orru 70), Lavery, Hurst, Sheerin.

Elgin: Black, Cooper, McPhee, McHardy, Nicholson, Reilly, Reid (Stewart 81), Cameron, McLeish (Gunn 67), Sutherland, Dodd (Moore 64).

Referee: Grant Irvine.

Attendance 407.