Berwick and Queen’s Park battled out a goalless draw at Shielfield on Saturday.
The match was far from a Christmas cracker, but it produced its fair share of excitement, not least a late Rangers’ ‘goal’ which was disallowed for a foul in the box.
The decision mystified both Berwick manager Colin Cameron and the scorer, Jonny Fairbairn himself.
Both said afterwards they could see no reason why referee Gavin Ross had ruled it out, and both admitted to feeling frustrated at the situation.
Berwick had been handed a difficult festive programme with games against the top two sides in the league, and after a 2–0 defeat at leaders Arbroath they were desperate to bounce back.
Berwick made three changes to the side which lost at Arbroath a week earlier, with Billy Bald replacing Michael Andrews in goal, and Ross Drummond and Scott Maxwell being introduced down the left, in preference to Dean Hoskins and David Gold.
Paul Woods had an early effort for the visitors, but it was Berwick who made the brighter start and after a good run into the box by Maxwell, Lee Currie blasted the loose ball just high and wide after nine minutes.
Stevie Notman also pulled a shot wide after 15 minutes and after 20 minutes Paul Willis went agonisingly close when his goal-bound shot was deflected for a corner after being set up by Maxwell.
Rangers knocked the ball around well, and had their opponents on the back foot for a spell, but for all their pressure they failed to find the net and at half-time it was 0–0.
The sting went out of the game at the start of the second half as Queen’s Park grew more into the match and Vincent Berry had a good strike of the ball which was well saved by Bald.
And at the rain started to fall heavily, Sean Burns had a volley deflected for a corner, whilst at the other end Fairbairn headed wide from a corner.
Shaun Rooney then pulled a shot wide as Queen’s continued to press, and after 77 minutes Berwick substitute Craig Dargo turned and smashed a left foot shot inches wide, before he had a close range header grasped on the line by William Muir from a right wing cross by Willis.
Another Berwick sub, Scott Dalziel had a close range header scrambled off the line by Muir and as Rangers finished with a flourish Fairbairn headed the ball into the net from a corner in the 86th minute, but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for a foul in the box.
“There was a player close to me as I went up for the ball,” said Fairborn, “and if there was any contact it was minimal.
“A few minutes earlier there had been a similar situation when I headed wide and I think the referee might have seen something then and thought the same thing had happened again.”
Cameron was equally perplexed claiming: “It didn’t look like there was a foul when Jonny went up for the ball and it was frustrating when the goal was ruled out, because over the piece I honestly thought we deserved it.
“Throughout the 90 minutes our keeper, Billy Bald, has only had one direct save to make.”
The draw means Berwick remain in fifth place in the table, but they have now slipped four points behind fourth-placed Annan, with the advantage of a game in hand.
“It’s still quite tight,” said Cameron, “but we now have three big games coming up (starting at home to East Stirling on Saturday), and I think it is fair to say we need to pick up some points early in the new year to give ourselves a chance.”
Berwick: Bald, Jacobs, Young, Fairbairn, Drummond, Notman, Willis, L Currie, Maxwell, Russell (Dargo 71), Lavery (Dalziel 81).
Queens Park: Muir, Rooney, Gibson, McVey (McPherson 62), Quinn, Wharton, Woods (Fotheringham 89), Slattery,, Carter (McElroy 74), Berry, Burns.
Referee: Gavin Ross.