Fifth defeat in a row leaves ten-man Rangers in the mire

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Clyde ...............................2

Berwick Rangers ...........0

It will be of little consolation to those of a Black and Gold disposition that Berwick Rangers produced their best 45 minutes for a couple of months in the second half at Broadwood on Tuesday night.

The harsh fact is that the record books will show Rangers lost their fifth consecutive league match against a team they’d beaten three times already this season, and if the alarm bells weren’t ringing after Saturday’s second half capitulation to a very ordinary Annan outfit, they should be sounding loud and clear in the Shielfield boardroom after this latest defeat.

Clyde have been rooted at the foot of the table throughout the campaign and had registered a solitary victory prior to this morale booster, but, galvanised by the appointment of a new management team and with a line-up studded with new signings and trialists, they went about their business with renewed belief.

Rangers, on the other hand, have been in freefall since before Christmas, though they should look to build on a David Greenhill-inspired second half display which, with a touch of the luck that is proving worryingly elusive, should have been enough to secure all three points.

Rangers made two changes to Saturday’s starting eleven, Mark Peat returning in goal and trialist Steven Roseborough filling the left midfield slot.

It took Clyde two minutes to hit the target, which didn’t augur well for the next 88 if you were a Rangers fan, though Peat blocked well from McBeth’s low shot. Damon Gray hooked in an inviting cross which eluded Gribben and McLaren by a matter of inches before Clyde took the lead in the 12th minute, courtesy of another howler from the Gers’ defence.

Paterson botched his free kick and Callaghan followed suit by miskicking a routine clearance straight to Stewart, who managed to stifle a belly-laugh long enough to flick a cute lob over Peat.

It was another dreadful goal to lose and, unfortunately, the hapless Callaghan was culpable again. To no great surprise, Rangers’ heads dropped and they were only kept afloat by the enduring compettive spirit of Andy McLean and a hard-grafting Gribben. Peat saved brilliantly from the Clyde trialist’s volley in the 39th minute, before Gray managed to get beyond the home defence to send a low shot across Halliwell’s goal a minute from the break.

Greenhill was introduced at half time for the struggling McLaren, and he made an instant impact despite being played out of position. At last, Rangers had someone to put their foot on the ball and dictate the play, and his influence proved contagious. All of a sudden, players in black and gold shirts began to caress the ball around like they had in those hallucinatory days of August when Rangers were all but unplayable.

Gray’s superb pass sent Currie free in the 49th minute, but with a goal looking inevitable he slid his shot wide of Halliwell’s post. Five minutes later, Gribben’s classy backheel sent Currie rampaging through again only for the midfielder to balloon his shot deep into the night skies, before Greenhill headed Gray’s dinked cross over from close range.

Rangers were on a roll and the onslaught continued when Ewart, on for the injured McLeod, missed a simple 67th minute header from Callaghan’s free kick. Currie missed another sitter heading wide from McLean’s superb cross. Gribben went even closer, cutting inside before curling a peach of a shot off the post and when Halliwell brilliantly kept out Gray’s follow-up it became clear that it was going to be one of those nights.

Rangers had blown themselves out, and Clyde stirred themselves with ten minutes left, Paterson cracking in a 25 yarder which bounced off the outside of Peat’s post. Clyde killed Rangers off in the 87th minute. Ewart was short with a header back to Peat, who looked slow off his line, and Finlayson took advantage to nip in between them and ram home a rapturously received decider.

Rangers’ misery was compounded when Brazil was shown a straight red card by referee Robertson in the 90th minute for a tame looking challenge on McGowan.

This felt like a pivotal match for Rangers and defeat must now have the alarm bells ringing.