BERWICK RESERVES 4 CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS 0: Berwick Reserves bounced back from their midweek defeat by Craigroyston to reach the semi finals of the King Cup with this win over Civil Service Strollers.
Remarkably, the visitors didn’t have a single civil servant in their line-up.
Nick Rendall, released by Berwick a few days earlier, made his debut for Strollers. Rendall pumped forward some powerful free kicks in the first half but, like the rest of his team, would have been very disappointed with what happened after the turnaround.
The outstanding feature of this game - played in bright sunshine in contrast to the snowy conditions of the midweek game - was the contribution of Berwick left winger Sam Todd who created all four goals with crosses, including one from a corner.
Chances were few and far between in the first half of which former first team captain Grant McNicoll played only 29 minutes before succumbing to a groin injury.
Early on, Strollers’ keeper Bruce Callan almost dropped a relatively innocuous Greig Smith shot into his own net.
A free kick from Berwick’s Kenny O’Brien finished a foot over the bar and just before the break, home keeper Grant Sandison saved spectacularly from Ahmed Wague.
By the second half, Berwick had the measure of their Premier Division opponents. Seven minutes after the resumption they took the lead, Josh Morris heading the first of Todd’s aerial supply over Callan’s head.
Though there were plenty of red shirts inside the box, it was Callan’s outstretched hand that removed the threat presented by Todd’s next cross.
Such uncertainty in the visiting defence was evident again when Keith Lough was allowed a free header on the end of Todd’s 62nd minute corner to score his first goal for the club.
It didn’t matter that Lough couldn’t get his head to Todd’s next cross as the ball struck the shin of next in line Smith before trickling into the net.
In the 83rd minute, Ross Brady, who was also in excellent form, set up Todd for another delivery from out wide. This time, Lough did connect, albeit without much force, but with the Strollers’ defenders again AWOL, his header was good enough for goal number four.
In the entire second half, the Edinburgh side’s only serious threat on goal was a 25 yard free kick by skipper Ross Aitchison which bounced back off Sandison’s bar though in the last minute, had he been sharper, Jamie Thomson might have scored a consolation goal when the ball travelled invitingly close to Sandison’s goal line.
This was a deserved cup victory for Berwick, but this week it is back to the business of the league and a home game against Burntisland Shipyard.
The Reserves have performed well in the league so far this season, collecting 32 points from their 16 games, and they currently sit third in the table.
They are 13 points adrift of leaders Coldstream, with two games in hand, and six behind second placed Eyemouth, with one game in hand.
Manager Mark Lamb last week added two new signings to his squad in the shape of Callum Wyllie and Ewan Saunderson.
But it’s tight at the top and after last week’s defeat to Craigroyston they are just one point ahead of them, having played three games more.
Berwick Rangers Reserves: Sandison, Saunderson ( Finlayson 68 ), Brady, McNicoll ( Doris 29 ), Hay, Fairbairn, O’Brien ( Gill 83 ), Lough, Smith, Morris, Todd