No luck for Gable Endies as Wee Rangers record first win of 2011

Berwick Rangers v Montrose
Berwick Rangers v Montrose

BERWICK Rangers recorded their first win of 2011, and their first victory in nine games, when they beat Montrose at Shielfield Park last Tuesday night in a re-arranged league fixture.

It was a goal which had everyone connected with the Berwick breathing a collective sigh of relief as it meant a first win since November and only their second victory in 15 outings.

The hosts left it oh so late, with Paul Currie popping up in the 88th minute to net the winner.

After two previous draws between the sides - the latest of which was at Links Park on Saturday - this game also looked destined to end in stalemate.

Both teams tried to knock the ball around, but there were too many mis-placed passes, and with no end product it looked to have 0-0 written all over it.

But with just two minutes left on the clock Berwick produced a rare moment of quality and it gifted them all three points.

Strikers Darren Gribben and Damon Gray, who had both started the match on the bench, were introduced in the final quarter, and it was their involvement which helped the team pick up the pace.

Gribben played in a delicate chipped through ball into the box which was knocked down into the path of Currie and the midfielder struck a sweet first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area which curled in at the far post.

After the draw at the weekend at Links Park, Montrose in the absence of player/boss Steven Tweed, who was attending a work related course down south, made three changes. Into the side came Sean Crighton, Aaron Sinclair and Gordon Pope and out went Tweed himself, Terry Masson and Ross McCord.

This meant a reshuffle to the side with Sandy Wood in goal with Crighton, Campbell and Pope in a three-man central defence.

The five-man midfield comprised McNally and Sinclair in the wide positions with Benedictus, Davidson and Cameron in the middle. Tosh was again partnered by Thomson in attack.

International clearance had come through for new goalkeeper Ramiro Gonzalez and he was on the bench alongside Ross McCord, Terry Masson, Daryl Nicol and Martin Boyle.

Berwick had looked the better of the two sides in the first half with Montrose forced into making two early last-ditch blocking tackles to prevent home players running through on goal.

David Greenhill, back after suspension, and who saw plenty of the ball, twice fired wide from distance, whilst Ian Little also just failed to connect properly whilst stretching to reach a good through ball from Craig O’Reilly.

O’Reilly himself also just failed to connect with an inswinging Stuart Callaghan free kick out on the right which drifted inches wide.

McNally picked up a yellow card to follow Berwick’s Greenhill into the book.

But it was Callaghan who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when he latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box after 25 minutes and his first-time shot agonisingly bounced back off the inside of the Montrose post with goalkeeper Sandy Wood well beaten to his left.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, and Sean Crighton came close to adding to his goal earlier in the month against Clyde, at the other end when he ran across the front of the Berwick defence and his glancing header from an Alan Campbell free kick brought a smart save out of Mark Peat low to his right.

At the start of the second half it was the visitors who came out of the traps quickest and they forced a series of early corners which had the Berwick defence scrambling to clear.

Conor Thomson had a glancing header wide from a free kick on the right, and front man Paul Tosh, who had a quiet game by his standards, shot straight at Peat after a good build-up from Stephen McNally, who beat two defenders before setting him up.

For a spell the game became scrappy, but it was Montrose who looked as if they were getting the upper hand.

The introduction of Gribben and Gray, however, injected a fresh impetus into Berwick’s play and with their first venture into the opposition box Currie headed over from a cross by O’Reilly.

Aaron Sinclair became the second Montrose booking of the match but just when it seemed the match would end goal-less up stepped with the killer goal just like the match against Annan Athletic in January.

Montrose: Wood, Crighton, Pope, Benedictus, Campbell, Cameron (Nicol), McNally, Davidson, Tosh (Boyle), Thomson, Sinclair Subs not used – Masson, McCord and Gonzalez