Berwick Rangers 2-1 Montrose

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Two goals from birthday boy Blair Henderson saw Berwick get their league campaign off to a winning start at Shielfield on Saturday.

Henderson, who turned 21 on Monday, bagged a goal in each half as Rangers edged Montrose, who equalised through Paul Watson midway through the first period.

Berwick, perhaps not unexpectedly, fielded the same starting XI who took to the field for last week’s League Cup victory over Championship-side Alloa.

After a cagey start, Rangers took the lead after 12 minutes when Finn Graham received a throw-in and dinked a cross in from the left and striker Henderson with an outstretched leg guided the ball past Ross Salmon into the bottom corner.

After 15 minutes Henderson had a chance to add a second goal but he guided his shot wide after breaking through the middle when he shrugged off the challenge of his marker.

But Montrose equalised after 20 minutes when Paul Watson netted from the penalty spot after Dwayne Coultress committed a clumsy foul in the box.

It appeared to be a needless challenge as the Montrose player was turning away from goal at the time of the challenge, and it left referee Gavin Duncan with an easy decision to point to the spot.

After 23 minutes Watson, who was the visitors most likely outlet, went close to a second goal for the Links Park outfit when Kevin Walker clawed away a shot from outside the box, whilst at the other end, Michael McKenna made a good run into the box only to see his shot blocked by Salmon.

Graham then had a shot saved by Salmon whilst a Darren Lavery header from a Coultress corner was cleared off the line.

Graham then shot over after the ball was knocked back to him on the edge of the box, whilst at the other end Watson had a shot saved by Walker and Matty Allan headed wide from a free kick right on the stroke of half time.

Five minutes into the second half, Andrew Steeves stuck a lovely half volley for Montrose, which looked destined for the top corner, but Walker pulled off a tremendous save at full stretch.

As the two sides tried to find an advantage Berwick responded with Henderson heading over from a Ewan McNeil cross after David Banjo broke up the left.

McNeil’s crosses into the box have become a feature of Rangers’ play so far this season, and it was from another such ball that Henderson gave Berwick the lead after 71 minutes when he headed past Salmon from a deep cross by the fullback.

Montrose tried to force the issue in the closing stages and put Rangers under some pressure.

Captain Jonny Fairbairn and co had to be alert at the back, often relying on Banjo to break up play and move the ball upfield.

But the Borderers managed to hold out to take all three points.