A STRONG Berwick Rangers Reserves team secured their place in the League Cup by beating Eyemouth United 5-3 in a thrilling encounter at Shielfield on Tuesday.
Mark Lamb’s team are top of Qualifying League Group A with one game to play, but are guaranteed to finished in the top two. Eyemouth, on the other hand, are now bottom of the group with one game to play.
The group winners advance to the League Cup first round, while the runners-up and best third-placed club qualify for the League Cup preliminary round.
An impressive 3-0 win for Duns over Gala Fairydean keeps them in the hunt for qualification, while Coldstream could also squeeze through after their 1-1 draw with Vale of Leithen.
It took Berwick a good half hour to get a grip on their game against Eyemouth and by then they were already a goal down. Bolton turned the ball inside to Phillips who calmly slipped it past Berwick keeper Tufail to give the visitors a 13th minute lead.
After a good save by Mutch the Reserves went on to score three times in three minutes. O’Brien supplied Finlayson who made no mistake. A speculative through ball from Notman appeared to be safe with George Windram but he lost it to Lavery who edged Rangers in front. Only 60 seconds passed before Mutch went down for the ball too soon enabling Smith to nip in and crack home a third Berwick goal.
A curler from Miller hit the post, but before the half-time whistle, Miller helped Lavery make it 4-1.
Eyemouth lost a fifth goal seven minutes into the second period. O’Brien found Lavery whose shot was parried by Mutch leaving Smith to pop in his second.
Jonathan Brown strolled through a gaping hole in the home defence to pull one back. Mutch punched an O’Brien shot on to the bar but in the last ten minutes substitute Lough collected Lewis Walker’s pass and looped the ball bahind Tufail to complete the scoring.
Berwick Reserves: Tufail, Stevenson, Gill, Rendall, McLean, Miller, Notman, O’Brien (Linton 85), Smith (Robinson 85), Lavery, Finlayson (C.Robertson 77).
Eyemouth: Mutch, Hastie, Cromarty (James ht), Clarke (Lewis Walker 77), Windram, Spiers, Jess, Brown, Bolton, Phillips (Lough 77 ), Leigh Walker .
Duns dominated their match against Gala Fairydean at the Berwickshire High School.
The Dingers took a deserved lead on the half hour mark when a cross from Jamie Lackenby was headed home by James Robertson.
Right on the stroke of half-time Duns doubled their lead when Des Chisholm was upended in the box and Connor Devanney netted the resultant penalty.
In the second half Duns should have added to their score but eventually put the result beyond doubt in 85 minutes with a third goal. Keiran Lee’s great through ball put Robertson clear and he rifled his shot past the keeper.
Duns now take on Edinburgh City at Meadowbank on Saturday knowing that a win, or perhaps even a draw, would see them advance to the next stage of the cup.
Coldstream have given themselves a chance of qualifying from Group C after finishing off with a home draw against Premier Division Vale of Leithen.
Streamers are top of Group C on seven points from four games, but must wait to see if they have done enough to qualify from the group.
Vale, Spartans and Heriot-Watt University all have four points, but have games in hand.
It took a late equaliser from the Innerleithen men to deny Coldstream what would have been a prize scalp and a guaranteed passage to the next stage.