Visitors head for victory

Berwick Rangers0

Peterhead1

BERWICK’S mid-season slump continued when they went down to their third home defeat in the space of 11 days on Tuesday.

After previous home reverses against Annan and bottom of the table East Stirling, Rangers were desperate to get back to winning ways with the visit of Peterhead.

But the defeat left Ian Little’s beleaguered side with only one win in their last 13 games, and saw the opposition leapfrog over them as they slipped to seventh place in the table.

After Saturday’s shock loss to Shire, when John Coughlin’s side achieved their first away victory of the season, Little said the play-offs were slipping from their grasp.

This defeat all but leaves their hopes in tatters, and now, with only ten games left to go, it seems there is nothing to play for except pride.

To be fair to Berwick, however, this was a game they hardy deserved to lose for over the piece they had the lion’s share of possession and chances and on another day might have won at a canter.

There was also more than a suspicion of offside about the Peterhead winner, with Berwick players, management and supporters all appealing as the evergreen Martin Bavidge headed the only goal of the game with just seven minutes remaining.

Little’s style of management since taking over from the departed Jimmy Crease, has been based on bold, aggressive decision making.

And there was nothing faint-hearted about his decision to swing the axe after Saturday, making no fewer than seven changes to the starting line-up.

Only goalkeeper Jamie Barclay, centre backs Chris Townsley and Stephen Tulloch and midfielder Lee Currie kept their jerseys.

Little also gave debuts to new teenage loan signings Jordon Forster and Connor McGlinchey, who were drafted in after the Shire debacle.

The 18 year-old full-backs, who joined from Hibernian and Hamilton, have signed for one month and until the end of the season respectively, and both turned in creditable performances.

Both showed a willingness to get forward to help in attack, and McGlinchey in particular was keen to get in the odd shot, whilst Forster slipped wide and managed to produce a number of telling crosses to the back post.

Stevie Notman had a shot over the top after 15 minutes, McGlinchey had a good run and shot turned around for a corner and then Fraser McLaren headed over from close in. McLaren then darted through the middle but his shot was safely collected by Ray Jellema.

In the second half Damon Gray might have done better with a ball which dropped over his shoulder before he squared the ball for Currie, who agonisingly pushed his shot wide from inside the box.

McLaren had a header at the back post from a Forster cross and McGlinchey shot from distance, Peterhead’s closest effort coming from a Craig Tulley free kick which flashed past a post.

The warning signs were there when Barclay had to make a fine save to deny Jamie Redman after the ball was cut back to him.

And in the 83rd minute the unthinkable happened when a long ball down the middle was headed on by Graham Webster. With the Berwick defence appealing for offside Bavidge stole in unchallenged and headed past Barclay.

It was a cruel blow, but one which typifies Berwick’s luck at the moment. Little and his assistant Robbie Horn will be hoping for a change of fortune when they travel to take on promotion-chasing Stranraer this week, but then again, Berwick have performed reasonably well against the top sides so far this season!

Berwick: Barclay 6, Forster 7, McGlinchey 7, Tulloch 7, Townsley 7, Currie 7, Walker 6 (R Gray 64), Notman 7, Ferguson 6 (Noble 49), D Gray 6 (Gribben 80), McLaren 7.