Rangers cement place in the race for the play-offs

editorial image

East Stirling 0 Berwick Rangers 3: Berwick made it six games unbeaten and strengthened their play-off claims with a comfortable win over East Stirling at Ochilview.

An own goal and strikes by Scott Dalziel and substitute Kevin McDonald saw the Rangers cement their place in the top four and on current form not many people would bet against them achieving their aims ... providing of course the play-offs actually go ahead.

Berwick went into the game on the back of a five match unbeaten run, whilst ‘Shire were still smarting from a humiliating 9-1 thumping at the hands of Stirling Albion a week earlier.

Rangers welcomed back leading scorer Darren Lavery after missing the midweek 2-0 home win over Queens Park due to illness, but he started on the bench as manager Ian Little opted for a similar side, the only change being the return of centre back Chris Townsley for Andy McLean, who was on the bench.

There wasn’t much between the sides in the opening quarter of an hour, although Rangers twice had to clear their lines as East Stirling went in search of an early opener.

Maxwell Wright three times fired crosses into the Berwick box but Devon Jacobs and Townsley (twice) were on hand to clear.

The home side then twice went close with Philip Zufle shooting over the bar and Paul Quinn volleying wide.

A curling free kick from Lee Currie after 23 minutes then brought out a good save from Grant Hay, who turned the ball around the post, and from the resulting inswinging corner, also taken by Currie, the ball was turned into his own goal by fullback Richard Miller from close range.

Dougie Brydon felt he was pushed when the ball was played in but all thoughts of a claim for a penalty were overtaken when the ball ended up in the back of the net..

Former Rangers’ stalwart David Greenhill hit a drilled shot straight at goalkeeper Marc McCallum, but after 37 minutes another corner from Currie was met by striker Scott Dalziel whose header from 12 yards out found the net to make it 0-2.

A minute later Dalziel headed inches wide as Berwick built up a head os steam and threatened to run riot before half-time.

At the start of the second half McCallum made a good blocking save from Andrew Stirling, but after that Shire had little to offer going forward.

Berwick made changes with McLean, Lavery and Kevin McDonald being introduced in place of Brydon, Dalziel and Neil Janczyk, and it was McDonald who made sure of the victory with his side’s third after 72 minutes, shooting home from 20 yards out after being set up by Lavery who crossed after showing quick feet to skip past two defenders on the right side of the box.

Late in the game Townsley headed wide from only six yards out after meeting another cross from Currie as Berwick ran out comfortable winners.