Lavery double earns Berwick a draw

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BERWICK RANGERS 2, FORFAR ATHLETIC 2:

Two goals from last year’s leading scorer, Darren Lavery, helped Berwick earn a 2-2 home draw against Forfar in a friendly at Shielfield on Saturday.

Berwick started the game with five trialists in their line-up, whilst Forfar had two.

In what was an open first 45, Rangers took the lead when Lavery stroked the ball home from inside the box with a low finish past Darren Hill, the opening having been created by one of the trialists (number 8).

But just two minutes later Forfar draw level when centre back Stuart Malcolm rose unchallenged in the penalty area at a corner and headed the ball past Paul Grant.

Lee Currie went close with an 11th minute free kick whilst a Forfar trialist kicked fresh air with just the keeper to beat after being set up by Gavin Swankie on the right.

Swankie also pulled a shot wide before one of the trialists shot low past Grant after Ross Campbell broke into the box on the right and rode two tackles before making his pass.

Just before half time Berwick were unlucky when a Lavery header from a trialist’s corner came back off the crossbar.

Both sides made five changes in the second half and as some of the fluency went out of the game chances were at a premium.

Lavery and Swankie both missed from close range, their scooped efforts from inside the six yard box landing safely in the hands of the respective goalkeepers.

But in the final 20 minutes, with trialists 7 and 8 in particular catching the eye, Berwick grew in confidence and one of them (8) rattled the post with a driving shot from the edge of the box after a good through ball from Currie.

Lavery hit his equaliser by turning in a cross from the right after a good build-up involving trialists 7 and 8, the former crossing for the striker to net at the back post.

After the game Berwick manager Ian Little said it had been another good work-out for his players.

“Again we were down on numbers because of injuries and unavailability,” he said, “but we used a few trialists and also drafted in a few players from the reserves, most of whom started on the bench but got on for a spell.

“Forfar are a good, strong side, but I thought we matched them for large parts of the game and a draw was a fair result.”