BERWICK RANGERS RESERVES 1, SPARTANS 3
Berwick Rangers Reserves took the lead after only three minutes, but a red card and missed penalty proved costly as Spartans overhauled the ten men to lift the King Cup at St Marks’ Park.
Grant McNicoll was sent off before half time and Josh Morris missed a penalty late in the second half which could have set up a grandstand finish.
Nevertheless, Berwick Rangers Reserves manager Mark Lamb was pleased with his side’s performance.
“I am proud of the young boys,” he said afterwards. “We could have gone with first-team players, but we didn’t. The lads where magnificent.”
“We matched Spartans for most of the game. But Keith McLeod leads the line well for them and they deserved it.”
The pitch at St Mark’s was immaculate but Spartans’ start was not, as went a goal behind in the opening minutes.
A slack clearance was picked up on the edge of the box by Kenny O’Brien and he turned the defence well to score.
O’Brien almost got his second on the half-hour with a spectacular free kick for the Shielfield Park side. His shot, from more than 30 yards out, smashed off the crossbar.
In stepped defender Ally MacKinnon to bring Spartans level when, left unmarked as the ball was crossed in, he out-jumped the Berwick defence to head home. To add to their woes, Berwick were reduced to ten men just before the interval when McNicoll was dismissed for his second caution.
Spartans upped their game from the restart and took the lead just into the second half. A corner was whipped in and that man MacKinnon showed his aerial power once again when he headed his second goal.
Spartans then got what looked like the killer goal as prolific scorer Keith McLeod was played into the box by Jack Beesley and made no mistake with his shot.
There was more drama to come, however, as Berwick were awarded a penalty after Kevin Motion tripped Dean Carse in the box. Josh Morris stepped up to take the penalty, but McTurk tipped his effort onto the post before the danger was cleared.
“After the sending-off we controlled the football well and on another day we could have scored more goals, but that would have been harsh on
Berwick as they played very well,” said Spartans manager Dougie Samuel.
Berwick Rangers Reserves: Tuffal, Finlayson, Brady, McNicoll, Saunderson, Gill, O’Brien, Doris, Smith, Morris, Logan (Hay 44). Subs: Millar, Carse, Beveridge.
Spartans: McTurk, O’Donnell (MacCuish 85), Cennarazzo, Sivewright, MacKinnon, Manson, Beesley (Ferguson 82), Motion, Henretty, McLeod, Martin (Anderson 82).