BERWICK RANGERS 1 LIVINGSTON 1
For Berwick there was a very disappointing ending to this game, only the third for the Under 20s at Shielfield so far this season. In between Ryan Porteous walking off injured in the 88th minute and Kieran Ingram replacing him, Jason Gregory grabbed an equaliser for Ian Little’s team after Rangers had led from the 18th minute.
Each side included a couple of trialists, one of Berwick’s a defender forming part of a generally solid back four along with Ewan Herriot, Jack Cook and Jordan Orru. Cook was making his Development League debut for Berwick and, alongside keeper Stuart Allan and midfielder Jamie Chapman, was one of three Dunbar boys in the team.
Early free-kicks went Livi’s way, early corners Berwick’s. One from Porteous in the 17th minute was initially unproductive but the ball eventually came back to him to send over another cross. Daniel Watt headed it down and Sam Perez moved smartly to knock the ball into the net.
The Spaniard, no more than a first team bit-part player since his arrival at the club, was clearly keen to impress but was prone to trying to do too much. Before his goal, the trialist No.7 and Herriot joined forces to cut through Livingston’s left rearguard. Perez then received the ball with the unnamed man running into space infield shouting for a return pass. Perez insisted on having a go himself but was wide with a shot of only moderate strength. He could have doubled the lead on 36 minutes when Herriot’s pass sent him running towards goal. Instead of attempting to slip the ball past keeper Gary Maley, he opted to go round him. This elaboration proved costly.
The visitors had their moments in the opening 45 minutes with centre forward Jackson Longridge being a particular threat. Allan patted away a Josh Mullin corner and then fisted out another from the opposite flag. Even better was his leap to punch away a goalbound strike from Mullin late on.
Livingston were out early for the second half, a signal of intent as they pressed strongly at the start. Allan made two saves in quick succession the first from Longridge who played most of the second period further back. His team couldn’t maintain this early tempo and Rangers began to get a grip. Sam Jones put Perez through but he was blocked for a corner. Watt headed forward a Porteous cross, the eager Perez running in to ensure the ball hit the net only to be flagged offside. Porteous also laid back the ball to No.7, who was unlucky to see a fine strike go inches over Maley’s bar.
Rangers looked capable of holding on until Livingston made the most of that short spell with an extra man. From Berwick’s perspective, it was definitely a case of two points dropped and thus missing the opportunity of going four points clear of second placed Forfar at the top of the table.
Berwick Rangers: Allan, Herriot, Orru, Trialist, Cook, Chapman, Trialist ( S.Scott 85 ), Jones ( capt. ), Perez ( Sutherland 80 ), Watt, Porteous ( Ingram 89 )