Today we play Elgin in our first home-game since the title-winning performance at home to Peterhead, hopefully finding the denizens of Shielfield park in a celebratory mood.
Before the game our U18’s beat Heriot-Watt Uni Res 4-0 (18yo STC Paul McCarthy with a brace, the others from 15yo ML Bobby Lowe and another from 16yo MC and MotM (again) Spencer Bennett)
Our Reserves drew 0-0 with Clyde Res, ending the SPFL Reserve League 2 in a creditable 8th place out of 20.
So to the game. Elgin sit 6th and are in a four-way fight for 5th to 8th, only 1 point seperating the 4 teams.
Going with a slight change – 4-1-2-3 DM with Turner as the DLP at DM. Sutherland starts as the AML as an AP, McIlduff is back as leftback. Slaven has a go as a poacher, which is his favourite position, with Early Crosses on so I hope he can find some space to operate in. Elgin go with a similar formation, 4-2-3-1, only difference is their AM and our DM, so we are going man for man.
HT Berwick 1 (Gardiner 2) Elgin City 0
Bright sunshine today on the Northumberland coast, and it was 1-0 Berwick after just 62 seconds, a Turner cross hammered home left-footed on the volley by Gardiner. Berwick absolutely loving life. And Elgin were down to 10 men in the 14th minute after a very nondescript shoulder-to-shoulder between Cornelius and McGeever. Harsh. Dunsmore scored in the 28th, but it was disallowed for offside, one of the Berwick players apparently interfering with the Elgin Keeper’s sight lines. Cornelius then slammed the bar not long after. Wave after wave of yellow-and-black but somehow the half only finished 1-0!!!
FT Berwick 3 (Gardiner 2, Slaven 48, 90+1) Elgin City 0 Att 413 (51 Away)
Will having 10 men grind Elgin down this half? Yes, and quickly; Sean Slaven with the 2nd in the 48th minute, at the second attempt, after a lovely cross from McLaughlin. Elgin had a couple of chances soon after but we seem to have forgotten how to let goals in. Healy on for Sutherland on 58, IF(A). 4-2-4 for the last 15, McGrath on for Cornelius, Turner up to Centre Mid. Lots of pressure in the last 10 from Berwick, and Sean Slaven made it 3 in injury time, tapping in a flicked McGrath header after a McLaughlin cross. And that’s how it finished, a lovely, professional job.
Cowdenbeath have nearly made 2nd place theirs after beating Brechin in injury time, and Stranraer are pretty much a shoo-in for 4th with East Fife needing a 17-goal swing and 2 wins (With Stranraer losing both the remaining games) to take the last play-off place. Peterhead are also nearly in the play-offs, at the wrong end though, needing 6 points, Brechin to lose both and a 6 goal swing to not be in the relegation play-off.
After the game I got a couple of messages – this is the highest points and number-of-wins total for Berwick – Data in the database goes back to 1955/56 🙂 This beats Berwick’s League 2 win in 2006/07 (24 wins) and 2nd place in 2005/06 (76 points).
Next up is our penultimate league game, entertaining Stranraer. See you then.