Berwick Rangers 2, Elgin City 1
A dramatic second half turn-around saw Berwick come from behind to beat play-off hopefuls Elgin at Shielfield on Tuesday.
City had stolen a lead after only three minutes, through marksman Craig Gunn, but Rangers after a poor first half performance, upped the ante after the break.
This, by all accounts, was inspired by a harsh but needful ‘hairdryer’ talk from assistant manager Robbie Horn in the changing rooms at half-time.
Leading scorer Darren Lavery equalised for the home side after 59 minutes, and after they created a string of chances, Scott Dalziel hit the winner with his first goal for the club after 73.
Berwick went into the game without a win in their last five outings, desperate for points to rekindle their lingering play-off hopes, whilst Elgin sought a victory to close the gap on rivals Peterhead and join them in the chase for a top four finish.
Both sides went in search of an early goal and it was Elgin who made the breakthrough after only three minutes, Craig Gunn rifling the ball low into the bottom corner from ten yards out after trialist Cammy McDonald headed down to him in the box following a corner.
Berwick had a great chance to reply on six minutes when Lavery hooked the ball over the bar from six yards out with just the keeper to beat.
For the remainder of the first half Berwick tried to play their way through a tightly packed City defence, whilst the visitors relied more on the quick break. Neither goalkeeper was troubled, however, as the respective rearguards held firm.
The game came to life in the second half with Lavery equalising with his 15th goal of the season, a superb strike from the edge of the box.
Within five minutes Berwick had created a string of chances with Scott Dalziel, Stevie Notman, Lavery (twice) and Lee Currie all going close.
The winning goal came when Currie chipped in a free kick from the right. Dalziel chested the ball down on the turn and produced a neat finish past Elgin keeper Joe Malin.
Right at the death substitute Dean Carse saw Malin deny him with a fingertip save from his shot on the edge of the box.
After the game Berwick manager Ian Little said he was delighted to finally get a win under their belts. “We now need to use this as the building block for the rest of the season,” he said.
“We weren’t concentrating for the loss of the early goal and we didn’t play well in the first half and I was just happy to go in at 1-0 at half-time.
“The players were told in no uncertain terms we needed to get the ball forward quicker and in the second half we played a lot better. We created a lot of chances and both strikers took their goals well.
“We knew if we lost this game we probably could have kissed our play-off hopes goodbye, but now we are right back in it again.
“We have a few games coming up and if we can get a few more points on the board our situation might look a lot brighter.”
Berwick were without the suspended Kevin McDonald and the injured Dylan Easton, who picked up an ankle injury on Saturday against Rangers.
Both will be available for this Saturday’s game away to Annan at Galabank, but Notman, who was recalled after missing the Rangers’ game through suspension, will again be forced to sit the trip out.
Berwick: McCallum 7, Jacobs 8, Hoskins 6 (Carse 80), Townsley 7, Brydon 7, Currie 7, McLaren 7, Notman 7, Lavery 8 (Janczyk 90+3), Dalziel 7, Gielty 6.
Elgin: Malin, MacLean (Miller 71), McMullan, Crighton, Trialist (Beveridge 61), Cameron, Gunn, Harkins (McHardy 79), Leslie, Nicolson, Morrison, Morrison
Subs: Millar, Beveridge, McHardy, Black
Referee: Gary Hilland.