O’Reilly on target as Rangers keep a third clean sheet

Albion Rovers0

Berwick Rangers1

Scorer: O’Reilly 19

by David Cook

at Cliftonhill

Berwick Rangers continued their recent revival with a deserved victory over third-placed Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill on Saturday. This was an excellent performance from Rangers, who kept their third clean sheet in a row and neutered the home side’s attacking threat so comprehensively that Mark Peat was only required to make a single difficult save all afternoon.

Jimmy Crease continued his long-running audition for a genuine left-sided midfieder, former Hibs under -19 starlet Lee Currie getting a try out in a Rangers side missing the suspended Darren Gribben and flu-ridden David Greenhill.

Rovers started brightly, the waspish Bobby Love causing Ewart and McLean some initial problems with sharp running, and it was the home side who created the first genuine chance in the 6th minute, Hamilton bursting through only for Peat to react quickly by parrying and then catching his attempted lob.

Craig O’Reilly looked in the mood for the Black & Gold and after having a sighter with a thundering 25 yarder in the 18th minute, the twinkle-toed target man gave Rangers the lead a minute later, stooping to power home a close range header after superb work from Ian Little, who worked his way to the byline before dinking in a perfect cross.

Rangers stepped up a couple of gears in the second period. Flynn saved brilliantly from Notman in the 59th minute after a slick Rangers’

passing move had put their right back through. Rovers were invisible as an attacking force by this point, so dominant was the Gers’ defence, but a second goal was still needed to seal the points. O’Reilly came close once again in the 65th minute, a bewildering sleight of foot buying him the space to crack in a 20 yard shot which Flynn dived to save one-handed. Five minutes later O’Reilly headed straight at Flynn when it seemed easier to score, before his replacement, Kevin Gordon, had a goalbound lob well saved by the overworked Flynn with seven minutes remaining.

This result will give Rangers renewed confidence that they can claw their way back into the play-off zone. Stevie Notman was outstanding, as were Ewart, McLean, O’Reilly and the remarkable Ian Little. With a slew of suspensions looming, they will need every player to start delivering that level of performance if their upturn in form is to continue.

Albion: Flynn, Lumsden, McGowan, Innes, Donnelly, Reid, Boyle, Canning, Love, Gemmell, Hamilton.

Berwick: Peat 6, Notman 9, Ewart 8, McLean 8, Callaghan 5, Brazil 5, P Currie 7, Grant 7, L Currie 6, Little 8, O’Reilly 8.

Referee: Greg Aitken

Crowd - 373