Honours even as keepers shine.
Both goalkeepers were on top form as the teams had to settle for a share of the spoils in this goalless but very entertaining match at Shielfield Park. For the first time in what seems like months, the sun was shining in what was a pleasant day south of the border. From last week’s starting eleven Kevin Masson dropped out through injury, Brendan Napier was suspended and Lee Henderson was unavailable. Blair Grubb, Gordon Grieve and Anesu Tabengwa were the men who took their places.
Berwick looked the most likelier early on and Mikey Couser saved well low to his right from Callum Wyllie, then Ewan Saunderson shot just wide after a corner broke to him at the edge of the box. At the other end Tabengwa did well to turn and shoot but his shot lacked the power to trouble Kieron Beveridge in the Berwick goals. Beveridge was then tested to the full as he pulled off a tremendous save to deny Craig McKay whose powerful header looked goal bound until the keeper’s intervention. Greg Smith of Berwick latched onto a fine ball into the Shipyard area but his left foot shot was lacking direction. As Berwick enjoyed a period of pressure Josh Morris head flicked a free-kick wide and McKay had to make a last ditch tackle to clear the danger. Just after the half hour mark the Shipyard put a fine passing move together only for Stevie Connor to be halted by an offside call. Back at the other end Couser pulled off a wonderful save from Morris’ header from a free-kick that was controversially awarded. On the stroke of half-time it was the Shipyard’s turn to threaten as Beveridge almost palmed Tabengwa’s cross into his own net rather than tipping it over the bar. However, he was alert enough to grab the ball before it crossed the line.
From kick off in the second half the Shipyard almost caught Berwick cold but Connor just failed to get hold of the ball as it was quickly played up to him at the edge of the Berwick box. Connor was again prominent as he set up Dale Robertson but his shot from inside the box was blocked by a defender. Robertson then set up Tabengwa for a shot but it did not trouble Beveridge. Blair Grubb then charged forward from inside his own half beating a couple of men but he was dispossessed on the edge of the area. In the 56th minute a Stuart Innes volley from the edge of the box lacked the direction to trouble the Berwick goal. The Shipyard had been dominant for a while and it was not until the 62nd minute that Berwick had an attempt at goal in the second half but Kenny O’Brien’s shot was way off target. Robertson then had a chance for the Shipyard and Beveridge had to react quickly to get his hands up to block his fierce goal bound effort. In the 78th minute it was Couser’s turn to show his ability when he stuck out a leg to deny Morris as both teams tried to find a winner. Robertson then tried his luck from some 25yards but his lobbed effort drifted over the bar. McKay then headed away a rising drive for a corner as Berwick attacked and then back to the other end substitute Robbie Cunningham just failed to get on the end of a deep Robertson cross that took a deflection which denied Cunningham a clear header. Deep into added time man of the match McKay then headed clear a Berwick corner shortly before the referee brought proceedings to a halt.
Manager Myles Allan was naturally upbeat after the match and told the website “I’m really happy with the performance today. There have been two or three games since I’ve come to the club where I’ve felt that the players deserved more for their efforts. However, the last couple of games haven’t been good enough and we asked the players for an improvement. It was great to see the commitment that they all showed today”. He went on to add “Sometimes it wasn’t pretty but the guys showed a lot of determination to get something from the game. We had chances to score and their keeper made a great save from Craig’s header as well as Dale’s strike in the 2nd half. However, Mikey’s save late in the game was outstanding. I’m glad he made it though, as it would’ve been a kick in the guts for the players if they’d lost today”.
Teams: Berwick Rangers Reserves: Beveridge; Saunderson; Brady; Hay; Fairbairn; Lancaster; O’Brien; Doris (Gill); Smith (Lough); Morris; Wyllie (Todd). Unused Subs: Finlayson & Tufail.
Burntisland Shipyard: Couser; Grubb; Grieve; Bridges; McKay; Bell; Tabengwa; Innes (Crosbie); Connor; Robertson; Peoples (Cunningham). Unused Subs: McCrindle & Thomson.
Referee: E. Cairns.