Selection issues for Berwick Rangers boss after red cards

Robert Wilson (left) has been sent off against Cowdenbeath twice this season - despite not picking up as much as a yellow in any other match.
Robert Wilson (left) has been sent off against Cowdenbeath twice this season - despite not picking up as much as a yellow in any other match.

Johnny Harvey’s first league match as Berwick Rangers boss didn’t go exactly to his script on Saturday, with his side falling to a 3-0 defeat and ending with eight men against Cowdenbeath.

Visitors Cowden started the match two points ahead of Berwick in the League Two table, but left Shielfield with a five point gap thanks to a Harvey Swann double and a second half effort from Fraser Mullen.

Mullen’s goal was scored with just seven Berwick outfielders on the park – with red cards dished out to John Neill in the 16th minute and Robert Wilson and Chris Hamilton in the 77th and 80th respectively.

Wilson was also dismissed as Berwick lost 4-0 to Cowden earlier this season.

Having only had four substitutes on the bench at the start of the match, manager Harvey now has a problem heading into arguably the most important game of the season so far at Stirling Albion.

Both teams are on six points from ten matches, both teams have changed manager already this campaign and both are desperate for three points.

Speaking on his selection issues, Harvey said: “The sendings off obviously had a massive impact on the game, but we gave away two cheap goals in the lead up to half time.

“We only had 15 players available to us today, and with three facing suspension for next week that is a problem.”

Despite the 3-0 scoreline, Harvey, who watched over a 3-1 victory against Gretna in his opening match in charge, has seen signs of improvement.

“People will look and see we lost and had three players sent off, but we have to look at the positives,” he said.

“I have only been here for just over a week but I can see a massive improvement in the players.

“Their energy levels have gone up and there has been a big change in their attitude.

“They are showing they want to play for the badge.”

“Of course, it’s not the result we were looking for but the performance was pleasing in part.

This weekend’s opponents Stirling Albion, who Berwick defeated 1-0 on the opening day of the season, have lost five league matches on the bounce, and parted company with manager Dave Mackay at the end of September.

They have since appointed former Aberdeen man Kevin Rutkiewicz who is taking his first steps in management with the club, having been with Annan Athletic as a coach.