Welcome to another month with Berwick Rangers, now in the Ladbrokes Championship, and we have 5 games.
After a superb August we face Welsh Premier league titans TNS in the IRN-BRU Cup (Now the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup :)), followed by 4 league games. Currently with our form as it is, and beating a very good Dundee side at theirs we’ve got to fancy getting at least 6 points, hopefully more as we look to maintain the August high.
Sean Mackie second in the Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Month
Manager of the Month!! 🙂 Wasn’t expecting that at the start of the season!
And we’ve just signed an U18’s Coach – David McLeish (38, First role, 9’s for Attacking, Mental, Tactical, 14 Working with Youngsters – Fairly Ambitious) – Trying to help with the youngster’s progression whilst we’re still Part Time and have ‘Below Average Youth Facilities’.
3rd September 2022 – The New Saints(WAL) (A) – IRN-BRU Cup 2nd Round
We make the 274 mile, 5 hour journey South West to Oswestry, a few miles on the English side of the Welsh border for an all English tie in the Scottish/Welsh/Irish/English IRN-BRU Cup 🙂 We are slight favourites but know this will be a tough one. TNS went out of the Europa League Quals (No Conference League in FM19) 6-0 to IFK Mariehamn of Finland after beating Europa FC (Gibraltar) 1-0 on aggregate in the Europa League Champions 2nd Qualifying Round. They played 9 games in August so I’m hoping they may be flagging a bit.
Macbeath starts as an F9! Hoping that draws Dempsie and Mackie into the area a bit, Livingstone gets another chance – I’ve turned Get Stuck In off. TNS go with a 4-5-1.
FT TNS 1 (Clarke 45) Berwick 1 (Macbeath 68) Att 297 (42 Away) – TNS win 14-13 on Penalties
A slow start at the 2,034 capacity Park Hall. Only really set pieces until the 38th minute where there’s a monster highlight – Mackie being saved magnificently at the far post after an intricate build-up. Then just before half time TNS take the lead – Clarke with a tap-in at the back post from a Lee cross, Dunsmore should have been there-or-thereabouts. 1-0 TNS at Half Time.
Mackie back to WB(A), Livingstone off for Sutherland (IF(A)). MacIver on for Dempsie. Macbeath to AF. Going Positive. Brighter from the boys. And we get the equaliser!! 68th minute, nice movement forward, a cross from Dunsmore overshoots the players at the back post but Sutherland runs on, crosses beautifully on the swivel and Macbeath heads in at the near post for a goal on Debut. Nice play, 1-1. Last 15, McKay is looking knackered, Palmer on. TNS looking dangerous from set pieces. And that’s that – straight to Pens….
Macbeath – Horrible penalty, straight down the middle and saved… 0-0
Dyson – Goal, 1-0 TNS
Mackie – Lucky, straight under the keeper, 1-1
Jones – Goal, 2-1 TNS
MacPherson – A boomer, Kevin Pressman style, 2-2
Burniston – Goal, 3-2 TNS
Palmer – Nice finish, 3-3
Josh Thomas – A beautiful save from Sinclair to his right!!! 3-3 – All Level
Turner – Top Bins!! 4-3 Berwick. TNS need to score to stay in it.
Lee – Good goal, 4-4
Nicolson – A proper defender’s penalty, foot straight through it, 5-4 Berwick
Clarke – Good finish, 5-5
Sutherland – Fuck, a good save by Maddison, 5-5 – It’s in TNS’s hands now.
Hmami – BLASTS IT OVER!!! 5-5, back in it!!
MacIver – Nice goal, just right of centre, 6-5 Berwick
Williams – straight down the middle – 6-6
Dunsmore – Beautiful penalty, top left bins, 7-6 Berwick
Maddison (Keeper v Keeper) – Nice finish, 7-7
Bow – Lovely penalty just inside the left upright. 8-7 Berwick
Hood – Just misses Sinclair’s legs, 8-8 (Will this ever finish!!!)
Sinclair (Keeper v Keeper 2) – straight down the middle!! 9-8 Berwick
Wilson (11th penalty) – Lovely penalty, 9-9. We start again
Macbeath – Scores this time!! 10-9 Berwick
Dyson – Sinclair got close, 10-10
Mackie – Solid, 11-10 Berwick
Jones – Lovely clipped penalty, 11-11
MacPherson – just off centre, 12-11 Berwick
Burniston – Straight through Sinclair, 12-12
Palmer – Straight at Maddison, who saves it, 12-12
Josh Thomas… SINCLAIR SAVES!!!! 12-12, we go again!!!
Turner – Bottom corner, 13-12 Berwick
Lee – High into the roof of the net (Fearing we are bugged here and this may never finish), 13-13
Nicolson – Straight at Maddison, who doesn’t move and saves it, 13-13 (Please someone win this!!!)
Clarke – It’s Over, top corner. TNS win 14-13 on penalties
Thank fuck that’s over!! I really thought we were in bug territory.
Nothing much in the way of shocks – Dundee, Partick, Ayr, Falkirk & Livingston all through, Hamilton, QotS & Dunfermline could join them, all meaning more games for them. £8k for the loss. Right, back to the League!
Our U18’s beat Leith Res 6-0, goals from Paul McKernon, a brace from Michael Carrick and an hat-trick from James Christie.
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Yusuf Hussain goes to Deveronvale (2nd bottom in the Highland League) until the new year.
Len looking to try and offload the club again – must be worth a bit more now we are doing well in the Championship 🙂
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Want-away keeper MacKenzie (1.5* CA) goes to Edinburgh Uni until the end of the 2023/24 season, which is also the end of his contract. Let’s see if game time lets him develop (Edinburgh Uni are currently 3rd bottom in the Lowland League)
Our Ressies lost 1-0 to Partick Thistle Res.
10th September 2022 – Ayr (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We make the 145 mile journey across the breadth of the island today to face an Ayr side that finished 9th last season, surviving by beating Albion Rovers comfortably in the play-off final. They are currently 5th – just 1 loss to Dunfermline in their last 5 games surrounded by 4 wins. The bookies have them slight favourites, and their wage bill is getting on for 3 times ours… Ayr have been a Championship side since 18/19 in game – IRL they finished 4th in both the last 2 seasons. They;ve not been in the top flights since 1977/78.
Going with the old faithful set-up today – Slaven, Down & MacIver as the front 3, McKay, MacPherson & Turner the midfield diamond, Mackie & Dunsmore the wingbacks, Nicolson & Bow in defence, Sinclair in goal. Ayr go with a 5-2-1-2 WB formation – think we need to exploit the wings.
FT Ayr 2 (MacKay 34, 79) Berwick 0 Att 1,677 (116 Away)
It’s a rainy Ayr this afternoon – and they get a very dodgy penalty in the 3rd minute (Clarke apparently tripped by Mackie… Come on Sinclair, you had a ton of practice in the last game… Robinson steps up, AND ITS A BEAUTIFUL SAVE BY SINCLAIR!! Down low to his left!! Slaven nearly through just after, his shot bloked after a lovely Dow pass. Ayr on top though. Going a bit more cautious. Ayr take the lead in the 34th minute, Mackay getting free after a cross and scoring well. Not been good today. Show some Passion you twats. And we should have equalised in the 41st minute, a lovely break, MacPherson with a completely free header straight at the keeper… Going to be one of those days I fear. 1-0 Ayr at the break.
Dempsie for MacIver (6.3) at half time. Show me something else in the second half. 55 gone, MacPherson is on a yellow so Palmer on. FUCK OFF GAME!!! ANOTHER FUCKING PENALTY FOR A BEAUTIFUL CHALLENGE! Mackie again, gorgeous sliding challenge. Quitongo taking this one, AND HE’S SAVED IT AGAIN!!!! Sinclair the hero, down to his right this time!! 8.2 for Sinclair!!!! 70 gone, going for it – 4-2-4, Macbeath for Turner, Poacher to Slaven’s TM. 2-0 Ayr…. Mackay again, unmarked at the back post. And that’s that, a 2-0 loss – really not good enough today – should have been 4-0. Honeymoon over.
Dundee look a class act – really and truly I don’t want promotion this season even if it was a remote possibility – Raith have the lowest wage bill up there at £1.5M/annum… Livingston next up in a week at the Tony Macaroni…
Our U18’s beat Dumfries Res 1-0, Paul McKernon with the goal.
Our Reserves drew 2-2 with Forfar Res – Goals from Paul McKernon & Archie Gardiner.
Obviously Ross Sinclair makes the team of the week – 7.7 for 2 penalty saves…
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Simon Boyd goes to Whitehill Welfare (8th in the Lowland League, mid-table) until the end of the season.
Saturday 17th September 2022 – Livingston (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We make the short (for us) journey of 76 miles to the south-west of Edinburg to play a Livingston side with a tumultuous past. Previously known as Meadowbank Thistle, they moved to and became Livingston in 1995 in the (then) third division. They made it to the Premiership in 6 seasons, but went into administration twice, in 2004 & 2009, finding themselves at the bottom of the League Pyramid (Third Division) again. They were back in the Championship/First Division for 11/12 after back-to-back promotions, but suffered relegation back to the 3rd tier (Now League 1) in 15/16. They bounced straight back, and then gained promotion to the Premiership in 17/18. In game they were relegated again in 19/20, IRL they are 10th in the Premiership in the 20/21 season after 6 games, having finished the 19/20 season in 5th, outside the European spots by 0.2 pts/game. They only have the 6th highest wage bill in the Championship currently, £747k/yr and have Insecure finances.
Quite a big tactical change. My feeling is the wings are our weakness – so lets get better players on the pitch if we can. 4-4-2 Diamond WB? Turner plays as a Halfback, almost like a Sweeper, bolstering Nicolson & Maguire in the back line. Mackie & Dunsmore are the Wingbacks, though Livingstone is rated a fair bit higher than Mackie. Sutherland gets a go as an AP at the Number 10 position, and our best 2 strikers, Macbeath and Carrick play for the first time together as a TM(S)/Poacher combination. This could go horribly wrong? But i need to give it a go, the wingers have been bugging me all season. Livingston go with a 4-1-2-3 DM Narrow, could be a Cricket score…
FT Livingston 1 (Bowman 60) Berwick 1 (Carrick 87) Att 1,049 (174 Away)
We are in our blue kit in the rain on the 4G pitch here this afternoon – could be very interesting. A quiet first 10 though. A few highlights, mainly for Berwick, not looking too bad as we get towards the half-hour. 0-0 at Half Time, tactics cancelling each-other out a bit.
Macbeath on a booking and a 6.4, Slaven on at Half Time as the Poacher. Might drop my Wingbacks back a bit, a draw would not be a bad result. Early on we are getting chances, just getting blocked all the time – Will we roux missing these chances? 60 mins, Livingstone on for Mackie. McKay gives a silly free kick away and its 1-0 Livingston – Bowman with a header after a Tansay cross, before Livingstone gets on the pitch. Last 15, MacPherson on for Sutherland, BWM(S) in the middle, Palmer and McKay CM(A) either side. Coming into the last 5, Livingston make a mistake, Lyon takes a heavy touch, Sean Slaven wins the ball…Goal Berwick!! Slaven slips the ball to Carrick, who blasts one into the roof of the net from just outside the area for his first for the club. 1-1, 87th minute. Injury Time, Livi pushing, corner after corner, but the game ends 1-1 – I’ll take that any day! Well deserved.
Just 2 points off top as Dundee are beaten by Hamilton, who we play next…
Battle near the bottom as Clyde and Dunfermline draw. Currently 11 points and 12 goals clear of the Relegation places.
Our U18’s beat Sauchie Res 3-0, goals from James Christie & a brace from James Doolan.
Our Ressies drew 0-0 with Dumbarton Res.
Michael Carrick makes the Ladbrokes Championship Team of the Week.
24th September 2022 – Hamilton (H) – Ladbrokes Championship
We welcome a Hamilton side sitting in 3rd, 5 games unbeaten after 2 losses in mid August. They beat us 5-1 in the Betfred group, I’m hoping for a better display today. Reality is biting a bit now.
In game Hamilton have been bouncing between the Premiership and Championship – 2 relegations and a promotion in the last 4 seasons. IRL they have been a premiership side since 2014, and finished last season 11th. Currently they sit 11th after 5 games, with a solitary win versus bottom-placed Motherwell.
Going more cautious today – 4-1-3-2 WB Narrow, Slaven starts as the Poacher, Carrick the TM(S), MacPherson as the BWM(S) in the middle of two CM(A) who I hope do some underlapping. Livingstone starts as the WB(S) – Mackie in the wings if needs be. Again a draw would be really good when you look at the wage disparity (No guarantee of better players, but its usually a good sign). Hamilton start with a 4-2-3-1 Wide.
FT Berwick 2 (Slaven 4, 37) Hamilton 1 (Keatings 28) Att 1,426 (332 Away)
A bit of a shock start, first highlight after the kick off, 1-0 Berwick!! A MacPherson outswinger finds Slaven unmarked, who’s (tame) header gets through the Hamilton Keeper Woods’s hands somehow!! Not going down as a mistake though. Highlight straight after the goal, Hamilton hit the post with a header… But Berwick look good going forward, and in the 18th minute we get a Penalty – Turner tripped by Platt as our physicality unsettles the Hamilton defence. Slaven steps up… And Woods saves down low to his right… Hope we don’t regret that!! (Had a feeling that wasn’t going in). And it was 1-1 in the 28th minute – A Corner pinballing around after a fine Sinclair save, finding Keatings in the right place to tap in. It’s a day for corners!!! Slaven with his 2nd in the 37th minute, almost identical to the first goal, just a better header this time. 2-1 Berwick. Doubt it will finish 2-1 though. Half Time.
Over 1,100 home fans in the ground today!!! Just coming up to 60 minutes, Palmer no having a good one, so going 3 at the back, Bow on, Wingbacks up a bit to give some width. Mackie on for Livingstone. Hamilton really pushing now. Last 20, going to try and do them on the break, Macbeath on for Carrick as an AF, Slaven to TM(A). And we so nearly get our 3rd, Turner’s shot blocked at the last. Injury time, Hamilton really playing high. 30 seconds left of added time, a Hamilton free kick. Hamilton hit the bar!!! But it was offside anyway – good play lads!!! And it’s over!! 2-1, a superb result!!
Dundee stage an amazing comeback to win 3-2 versus Ayr – 2-0 down as they entered the final 10 minutes!!! Lots of sharing of points going on as well – 19 points from the first 9 games is a superb total for us.
Now for 2 games in the next 7 days – Falkirk away on Tuesday (The last game of September) followed by Dunfermline at home on the 1st October.
Our U18’s beat Tranent U18’s 3-1, goals from Calum Waters, Cammy Dow and triallist Andy Dallas.
Ross SInclair makes the Team of the Week again for the Ladbrokes Championship.
Here we go again… The problem here is I’ve got a 5* Rightback on trial, and I can’t even put my toe in the water and see what he would want to sign…
27th September 2022 – Falkirk (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We travel to Falkirk for our 4th away game of 5 this month – I’ve been there with Civil Service a few times as East Stirlingshire ground-share there. Second versus last (Form DWLDL) – What could possibly go wrong…
Playing around with the front 2 combinations – Today Slaven as TM, Macbeath as AF. trying Palmer as a BBM up and down that left corridor. Mackie back as the WB. Trying to not rotate too much – Rest after games where there’s a training session between is nearly-always getting the lads above 90% condition for kick-off when there’s at least a 3 days gap. Falkirk start with the 4-1-2-3 DM Wide we used to use. Pushing our set pieces a bit now as we’ve got a nice, tall bunch of lads.
FT Falkirk 2 (Durham 38, Reynolds 90+1) Berwick 2 (MacPherson 22, Palmer 64) Att 3,920 (163 Away)
Tuesday night football in the pouring rain in Falkirk. We’re in our all-white strip. A quick start, quite end-to-end. Lots of blocks by both teams. And Berwick take the lead in the 22nd minute after a fair bit of pressure. After some passing not-far from the edge of the Falkirk area Palmer swung the ball out wide to Dunsmore. His cross found MacPherson, who volleyed it home from 12 yards via a bit of a deflection (So much so I thought it would have been an O.G.). 1-0 Berwick, Cameron’s 2nd of the season. The lead lasted 16 minutes, Durham heading home from a corner. 1-1. Very poor marking. 1-1 at the break.
60 minutes comes up very quickly, McKay looks knackered, Bow on for a 3-5-2, Turner up to central midfield as the DLP. And a massive goal, 64th minute. A Berwick throw-in on the right ends up with Andy Turner, who slips a ball across to Palmer. He gets it out of his feet, and bends a beauty in to the Keeper’s right from just inside the ‘D’. 2-1 Berwick! Both teams showing their games from the weekend in their condition. 74 gone, Livingstone on for Mackie. Last 10, Carrick on for Slaven. Feels a bit like Falkirk may get back in this though, both sides are a bit shattered. Injury time, Falkirk corner. 2-2. Reynolds with a free header… And it’s all over. 2-2, fair if you look at the stats.
Dundee also drew, versus Livingston so we stay within a win of the top spot.
That’s it for the games for this month. Let’s see if this takeover goes any further in the next few days…
Hamilton move to within 2 points of us.
So that’s September done. Quite a mixed month.
Really and truly W1 D3 L1 – Ayr & Falkirk disappointing, Livi & Hamilton pleasing. With the resources we have we are doing superbly. Also considering 4 of those 5 games were away from home. Just the 4 games next month, and 3 of them at home 🙂
Lastly here are the key highlights for the month – that bloody penalty shootout will be as long as the rest of the highlights combined 🙂 See you soon.