BERWICK RANGERS 1 MONTROSE 2
Berwick manager John Coughlin admits his side face a difficult and important festive period after suffering back to back defeats.
A 2-1 loss at home to Montrose followed a 6-0 hammering at Elgin the previous weekend – and Coughlin says his side now needs to step up to the mark in their upcoming fixtures (away to Annan on Saturday and home to Edinburgh City the following weekend).
Both sides are in the bottom group of six teams who are separated by only two points, and any points won or lost at this stage of the season could prove vital come the final run-in.
“After the Elgin game I was looking for a reaction, and I think I got it as there were some good performances,” said Coughlin.
“But, football being what it is, people will look at the result and criticise us for another defeat.
“We all know we need to start winning games, and these two matches coming up would be a good start.”
On Friday Rangers signed defender Pat Scullion on loan from Alloa until the end of January, and he was handed a debut against Montrose.
Jordyn Sheerin had an early shot over the top for Berwick, and from a free-kick in the tenth minute, Michael McKenna hit the outside of a post.
On 15 minutes Kevin Walker had to make a good reaction save from Gary Fraser, before Stevie Notman made a good covering block to prevent a scoring opportunity from the rebound.
Sheerin then dragged a shot wide from outside the box at the other end, but it wasn’t until the 36th minutes that Montrose had another serious threat, defender Paul Watson sending a shot over Walker’s crossbar after his initial free kick struck the wall and rebounded to him.
A corner from Steven Thomson was misjudged by Montrose goalkeeper Jordan Millar, but there was a defender to clear it off the line.
Watson again showed his shooting prowess with a screamer just before half-time, but his effort from of 30 yards was always going wide.
Just a minute into the second half Greg Rutherford ran from halfway on to a long ball from the back, but the Berwick striker pulled his effort inches wide.
Just two minutes later a long ball from Kevin McKinlay was met by Sheerin, but his attempt at a flick went wide with the keeper committed.
But the breakthrough came at the other end when Ryan Ferguson slammed the ball into the net to give Montrose the lead after 56 minutes.
Almost immediately, Rutherford had another chance for Berwick, but this time his close-range shot was saved by Millar’s face, the stopper requiring treatment the next time the ball went out of play.
On 64 minutes Rangers got themselves back on level terms when Darren Lavery made a break through the middle and slipped the ball for McKenna to net as he cut in from the left.
Montrose regained the initiative after 79 minutes when substitute Chris Templeman crossed from the left and another substitute, Jonny Court, glanced in a header for what proved to be the winning goal at the near post.
Two minutes into injury time Sheerin fired the ball into the net for Rangers, but the effort was disallowed for offside.
Berwick Rangers: Walker, Hamilton (Beveridge 81), McKinlay, Notman, Scullion, Martin, Thomson, Lavery (Perez 87), Rutherford, McKenna, Sheerin