Peterhead 1, Berwick Rangers 1
Darren Lavery netted his 11th goal of the season as Berwick took a point from a well-earned 1-1 draw at Peterhead on Saturday.
The Borderers hadn’t played for three weeks - their last game was at Ibrox against Rangers - and manager Ian Little admitted beforehand that he worried his players might be a little ring-rusty after being out of action for so long.
And when they fell behind to a Rory McAllister goal after only five minutes, it looked as if a tough afternoon was in prospect.
The striker fired a superb free kick in the top corner of the net from 35 yards out, giving debutant goalkeeper Marc McCallum no chance.
McCallum was making his first appearance following his season long loan transfer from Dundee United, and it looked as if it might be a baptism of fire.
But just 60 seconds later Lavery struck, with an equally well-placed shot from outside the penalty area after taking a slide-rule pass from Dylan Easton.
Rangers should have gone in front in the 14th minute when Lavery had a free header six yards out but it was a feeble effort and Smith gratefully plucked the ball out of the air.
At the other end McAllister had the chance of a hatrick of free kick goals, first curling a shot towards the near post forcing McCallum into a smart save then sending the poorest of the trio well wide to the left of goal.
Peterhead started the second half brightly, Scott McLaughlin shooting wide but for all the possession that followed, their demeanour was not one which led you to think that a winner was on the cards.
McAllister saw a shot cleared off the line with Andy Rodgers scuffing his effort wide in the scramble that ensued. The striker, on loan from Stenhousemuir, looked short of match fitness and hopefully his sharpness will return when he has some more game time under his belt.
Dean Cowie pushed forward and forced an acrobatic save out of McCallum in the 70th minute but it was Berwick that ended the game the stronger and had it not been for a quality save from Smith in the dying moments to turn a piledriver from Fraser McLaren over the crossbar, even a much needed point would have been denied them.
Peterhead: Smith, McCann, Ross, Maguire (Gilfillan 65), Noble, Cox (Deasley 85), Cowie, Redman, McLaughlin, McAllister, Rodgers (Bavidge 74).
Berwick: McCallum, Jacobs, Brydon, Currie, Gielty, Townsley, Janczyk (Notman 79), McDonald, McLaren, Lavery (Carse 83), Easton (Dalziel 62).
Referee: Des Roache.