ALLOA ATHLETIC 1 BERWICK RANGERS 2
There were smiles all round in the Berwick camp as the young Gers, augmented by Steven Thomson and a trialist partnering Jack Cook at centre-back, won for the first time in four games.
The margin may have been only a single goal but it was the manner in which they played which was the greater cause for satisfaction.
This despite the frequency of the referee’s whistle in what was by no stretch a dirty, bad-tempered affair. Whilst at times, Berwick had some rotten luck, a particularly youthful Alloa team deserve credit too, for their part in ensuring Rangers did not run away with this one.
The visitors were in control for most of the opening half hour and dominated the second half.
Their first goal came in the 12th minute. An Alloa foot on the ball only momentarily delayed Berwick’s momentum and on retaking possession, Jack Gillan powered forward until, once inside the box, fired low into the far corner of the net.
The Wasps struggled to contain Paul Simpson out on the left. In one instance, he beat three men as he raced along the byeline, maybe too quickly for his team-mates as there were no takers for his eventual pass into the goal area.
A well-worked equaliser in the 31st minute lifted the home side. A clever run by Ronan Kearney took him behind defenders into the left corner pocket to receive Scott Sinclair’s pass and from there his strong angled shot rattled MacAuley Jarrett’s far post before dropping into the net.
After this, there was little between the sides up to the break. Simpson beat two men when he cut inside but shot straight at keeper Wylie. Further out, he and Bradley Barrett punched a big hole in the defence before Simpson hit the top of the outside post. Meanwhile, Jarrett had been forced to go down to hold Sinclair’s free-kick.
Berwick had to wait until the 66th minute before regaining the lead. Up to that point, the catalogue of near misses included Cook’s strong header off Simpson’s corner going wide, Simpson’s one-two with Thomson ending with Barrett’s shot blocked as the Wasps swarmed around him and another strike by Berwick’s No.10 from closer in being stopped only by Wylie’s foot after Simpson again beat his man out wide.
Thomson had a corner punched out and his return delivery from further infield sailed over the far intersection.
Alloa centre-half MacKenzie failed to deal with Gary Windram’s through ball, Barrett just beaten to it by Wylie. A minute from the second goal, Windram and Barrett set up Thomson, who this time hit the metalwork.
Finally, when the trialist picked out an onside Barrett with a long ball, he hooked it back the other way beyond Wylie into the opposite side of the net.
Soon afterwards, he appeared to have scored an even more impressive one by heading in a superb Jamie Chapman cross from by the right touchline but it was ruled out for offside – 3-1 would have been a truer reflection of the game as Alloa created few second half chances. The most threatening came early on when Jarrett dived to save from Sinclair.
Berwick Rangers: Jarrett, Chapman, Herriot, Murray, Cook, Trialist, Thomson, Gillan (Dolan 82), Windram (Jack 69), Barrett (Briggs 84), Simpson. Unused subs: Allan (GK), Heath