No joy on the road as second-half collapse in Angus costs Rangers

Berwick began the game welll but were out-gunned after half-time
Berwick began the game welll but were out-gunned after half-time

ARBROATH 4 
BERWICK RANGERS 1

Berwick continue to find themselves in trouble in the lower reaches of the Scottish Second Division after going down to a 4-1 away defeat at Arbroath on Saturday.

Rangers were looking to make it two wins out of two after last week’s away win at Cowdenbeath, and a goal from Michael McKenna gave them a 1-0 half-time lead.

But in the second half Arbroath stepped up a gear and two goals from Ryan McCord, plus strikes from substitutes Martin Scott and Gavin Malin saw the Angus side strengthen their grip in second place in the table.

In what is tight bottom half of the table, Rangers remain two points above bottom club Cowdenbeath and four off the fourth placed play-off spot.

Two matches in the division were postponed because of the weather, and with snow forecast overnight Friday, Arbroath had taken the precaution of covering their Gayfield pitch, which meant the surface was ideal.

Berwick suffered a pre-match blow when goalkeeper Kevin Walker was injured in the warm-up and Sean Brennan took over between the posts.

But with recent signings Michael Dunlop and Gary Phillips, both ex-Arbroath, in their line-up, they made the better start, enjoyed more of the possession and after five minutes Darren Lavery pulled a shot wide.

On 13 minutes McKenna fired Rangers into the lead when he struck a superb half-volley on the run which gave Gomes in the home goal no chance as it hit the top corner of the net.

It took Arbroath 28 minutes to register their first attempt on goal when Ricky Little headed over from close range

As Berwick continued to set the pace, McKenna and then Greg Rutherford both had shots from outside the box saved by Gomes, whilst at the other end Brennan got down well to save from Mark Whatley.

At the start of the second half Pat Scullion missed a chance to double Berwick’s lead when he headed wide from a McKenna free kick.

But the Smokies kept the Rangers’ defence on their toes and warned them of any complacency when Steven Doris shot over before Bobby Linn and Edward Ferns both pulled efforts wide.

As the home side cranked up the pressure, they finally managed to force an equaliser after 64 minutes when McCord found the net with a low show after taking a pass from David Gold.

Berwick tried to restore their advantage and a header was cleared off the line, but Arbroath were in the ascendency and McCord gave the home side the lead after 74 minutes, heading in from a cross by substitute Josh Skelly.

On 79 minutes they added a third, substitute Scott heading in from a Linn cross, just seconds after being introduced to the play.

And another substitute, Malin heaped more misery on the visitors when he added a fourth goal in the 90th minute, finding the net with a low shot which squirmed past Brennan.

Arbroath: Gomes, Gold, Little, Hamilton, Sukar, Kader (Skelly 62), Whatley, McCord (Malin 85), Linn, Doris, Ferns (Scott 79).

Berwick: Brennan, McKinlay, Dunlop (Perez 83), Scullion, Martin, Notman, Thomson, McKenna, Phillips, Lavery, Rutherford (Watt 87).

Referee: David Munro.