Finlayson at the double for Reserves

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PEEBLES ROVERS 1, BERWICK RANGERS RESERVES3

Steven Finlayson scored twice as Berwick Rangers Reserves won the first competitive game to be played on Whitestone Park in more than a year.

Opinion was divided about the entertainment value of a whistle-punctuated East of Scotland Qualifying League match which produced a spate of bookings, four of them for Berwick players. The last one went to Dean Carse who experienced a frustrating afternoon, caught out on countless occasions by the offside trap.

Peebles scored first in the 24th minute. Jonny Fairbairn knocked over Gerri Rossi and Phil Alexander’s 20-yard free kick was headed in by Chris Flockhart near the far post.

But Rovers’ joy was shortlived. Two minutes later, Stephen Anderson, who had cleared off the line in the opening minutes, converted Ross Brady’s ball from the right with a deadly strike into the bottom corner of Chris Malcolm’s net.

Then the busy Anderson’s 30th minute free kick from the left touchline was netted by Finlayson – more of a glancing shoulder than header – to give Berwick an interval lead.

The second half began with Peebles’ Jonathon Flockhart just wide with a header. A blaster from Alexander looked goalbound but hit the foot of the post. Carse finally found the net after Berwick swept down the right only to be offside again. Both he and Anderson were then guilty of missing excellent chances after Berwick keper Asher Tufail saved Rossi’s header.

Berwick had to wait until eight minutes from time to put the game beyond the home side. Rovers appeared to clear the danger but the ball fell to Finlayson, whose athletic twist allowed him to return a cracking shot past the motionless Malcolm.

Thus, Reserves coach Mark Lamb was one person who left Whitestone generally satisfied with what he’d seen.

Berwick Rangers Reserves: Tufail, Tainsh, Scanlan, Fairbairn, Bennett, Elliot (Gill 86), Brady, Anderson (Shields 82), Carse, Meikle (Buckley 69), Finlayson.