Berwick Rangers 3 Gretna 1: Rangers win on Harvey debut

Willis grabs his second of the afternoon (Pic: Alan Bell)
Willis grabs his second of the afternoon (Pic: Alan Bell)

New Berwick boss Johnny Harvey’s reign at the club got off to the perfect start on Saturday as his side defeated Lowland League Gretna 2008 to reach round three of the Scottish Cup.

Two goals from Paul Willis and one from Cedwyn Scott safely saw the Rangers through to the next round, where they will face League One high-flyers East Fife at Shielfield.

The first chance of the game fell to Gretna after seven minutes when Kingsley Grandison narrowly shot wide.

Two minutes later, the visitors broke down the right but Kevin Connelly’s cross evaded Marc Messenger at the back post. Berwick’s best chance fell to Willis after 18 minutes but his first-time shot from outside the box was always going high.

On 23 minutes, a long clearance from Gretna keeper Jim Atkinson found Ashley Kelly but the winger was unable to hit the target as he lifted the ball over the bar, under pressure from a Berwick defender.

As the visitors continued to take advantage of the wind, Messenger went close with a cross from the left which shaved Brennan’s post after half an hour.

The breakthrough eventually came after 37 minutes when Willis smashed the ball home for Berwick, after Daryl Healy’s first effort was blocked and the ball fell kindly to him in the box.

Berwick started well in the second half and, after Healy dragged a shot wide, two goals in a two-minute spell killed the game. First of all, Scott extended Rangers’ lead in 50 minutes when he rolled the ball into the net from close range, after forcing his way into the box on the left.

And, just two minutes later, it was 3-0 when Willis found the net after Scott’s initial effort was deflected.

Gretna were almost rewarded for their efforts after 76 minutes when Jake Smith sent a shot from 25 yards out crashing off Brennan’s left-hand post, with the keeper at full stretch. Late in the game, they also saw the ball bounce off the top of the Berwick crossbar.

On 86 minutes, Gretna eventually got the reward their effort deserved when a long throw-in from the right found Hope at the back post and he tapped in from close range.