2009/10: So Close yet So Far

Results

Date C V Opposition Res Pos Att i
Jul 25 CC 1SW A Stranraer L 2-4 245
Aug 1 LC 1 A Partick Thistle L 1-5 1472
8 L3 H Annan Athletic W 2-1 1 438
15 L3 A Albion Rovers L 1-2 6 322
22 L3 H Livingston W 1-0 2 608
29 L3 H Queen's Park W 1-0 2 519
Sep 19 L3 A Elgin City D 3-3 2 478
22 L3 H Stranraer W 1-0 1 366
26 L3 H Montrose W 2-0 1 436
Oct 3 L3 H Forfar Athletic L 0-1 2 436
10 L3 A East Stirlingshire L 0-1 3 464
17 L3 A Livingston D 1-1 4 815
24 SC 2 A Civil Service Strollers W 2-1 387
31 L3 H Albion Rovers W 2-0 2 471
Nov 7 L3 A Stranraer W 4-2 2 274
14 L3 H Queen's Park D 1-1 2 487
28 SC 3 A Ross County L 1-5 819
Dec 1 L3 A Montrose W 3-1 2 265
5 L3 H Elgin City W 2-0 2 368
12 L3 H East Stirlingshire L 0-1 3 429
Jan 16 L3 A Queen's Park L 0-2 3 517
23 L3 A Elgin City W 5-1 3 307
30 L3 H Montrose L 0-2 3 392
Feb 6 L3 A East Stirlingshire L 2-3 3 347
9 L3 A Annan Athletic D 1-1 3 382
13 L3 H Forfar Athletic L 0-4 3 386
20 L3 H Annan Athletic L 0-2 4 385
Mar 6 L3 A Queen's Park W 3-2 4 538
9 L3 A Albion Rovers L 1-4 4 227
13 L3 A Stranraer L 1-3 4 231
20 L3 H Elgin City W 2-1 4 317
23 L3 A Forfar Athletic L 0-3 5 310
27 L3 A Montrose D 1-1 4 376
Apr 3 L3 A Forfar Athletic L 0-2 5 406
6 L3 H Stranraer W 1-0 5 289
10 L3 H East Stirlingshire D 2-2 5 429
13 L3 H Livingston D 1-1 5 604
17 L3 A Livingston D 0-0 5 1621
24 L3 H Albion Rovers L 1-2 6 460
May 1 L3 A Annan Athletic W 1-0 6 561

SFL Division 3

Home Away
    Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Livingston 36 14 2 2 32 12 10 4 4 31 13 38 78
2 Forfar Athletic 36 9 6 3 34 21 9 3 6 25 23 15 63
3 East Stirlingshire 36 12 2 4 32 19 7 2 9 18 27 4 61
4 Queen's Park 36 7 2 9 24 27 8 4 6 18 15 0 51
5 Albion Rovers 36 9 5 4 21 12 4 6 8 14 23 0 50
6 Berwick Rangers 36 9 3 6 19 18 5 5 8 27 32 -4 50
7 Stranraer 36 8 5 5 25 23 5 3 10 23 31 -6 47
8 Annan Athletic 36 7 6 5 19 16 4 4 10 22 26 -1 43
9 Elgin City 36 3 2 13 19 36 6 5 7 27 23 -13 34
10 Montrose 36 1 6 11 16 35 4 3 11 14 28 -33 24
blank
Livingston promoted as champions. Forfar Athletic promoted as play-off winners.

Appearances & Goals

L3 LC CC SC
A S G A S G A S G A S G
Alan Brazil 25 1 5 1 1 2 1
Stuart Callaghan 31 2 2 1 1 2
Jordon Cropley 2
Paul Currie 29 2 5 1 1 2
Jamie Ewart 25 1 1 1 1 1 2
Scott Gair 5
Damon Gray 22 9 11 1
David Greenhill 25 7 4 1 1
Graham Guy 13 7 1 1 1 1
Robbie Horn 2
Guy Kerr 10
Ian Little 22 9 3 1 1 1 1 2
Ian McCaldon 2
Harry McGregor 1 2
Fraser McLaren 25 1 4 1 1 2
Andy McLean 21 3 3 1 1 1 1
Peter McMahon 1
Chris McMenamin 1 4 1 1
Paul McMullan 15 8 1 1 2
Steven Notman 29 1 1 1 2
Mark Peat 34 1 1 2
Steven Radzynski 6 8 2 1 1
Oliver Russell 11 6 1 1 1 1
Joe Savage 3
Jay Shields 10 3
Elliott Smith 32 1 1 1 2
own goals 2
Number of players used: 26

The arrival of the 2009/10 season heralded a brand-new start for Berwick Rangers that the supporters had longed for, with Manager Jimmy Crease having the unenviable task of totally rebuilding the team after two disastrous seasons of loan signing culture.

Crease wasted no time in his rebuilding work. First to sign was former defender Elliot Smith and was closely followed by midfielders Stevie Notman and Paul Currie. Ex Hibernian loan player, Stevie Notman returned to Shielfield after a two-year absence. He had recently been plying his trade in the East of Scotland League with Vale of Leithen after his release from Easter Road. Paul Currie was a former Raith Rovers player who returned to league action after a spell in the juniors with Musselburgh Athletic. Berwick continued to rebuild with the signing of Chris McMenamin, who played on loan from Airdrie United last season, and was now a fully signed Berwick player after his release by the New Broomfield club. The new players teamed up with Stuart Callaghan, Ian Little, David Greenhill, Peter McMahon, Robbie Horn and Jamie Ewart, who all returned. Fraser McLaren, Graham Guy and Steven Hampshire were offered new deals, but had not yet put pen to paper. Crease was on the priority lookout for two keepers and two strikers, after losing the services of last season's top scorer Darren Gribben to Dumbarton, when he made a shrewd swoop into the transfer market and signed striker Alan Brazil from Stenhousemuir.

It was against Stenhousemuir that Rangers opened their pre-season friendly programme, which did not get off to the best of starts as they went down 3-0 at Ochilview Park. Berwick fared much better in a midweek friendly against Leith Athletic in Edinburgh, where a 4-0 victory earned several trialists a deal and gave Jimmy Crease the chance to check out the opposition players. Rangers then outgunned a young Hibernian select side with a stylish display in a 4-2 victory at Shielfield Park. Berwick broke in front with a prodded opener from their trialist striker on 12 minutes, before David Greenhill doubled their advantage five minutes later. A well taken goal by Chris McMenamin and a Stuart Callaghan penalty put the result beyond doubt before Hibs hotshot Kurtis Byrne bagged a late brace.

Two more players were added to the squad after a midweek 2-1 friendly defeat at Civil Service Strollers. The club re-signed borders-based Andy McLean, who had spent the latter part of last season on loan at Coldstream, and Graham Guy who put pen to paper for another term at Shielfield. With time running out before the season's start Berwick secured the signature of striker Steven Radzynski from Leith Athletic in time for selection for the opening match at Stranraer. Steven had already turned out for the club as a trialist and certainly caught the manager's eye. He scored 18 league goals for Leith during the 2008/09 season, finishing joint top league scorer in the East of Scotland First Division.

July

26. Berwick Rangers kicked off their competitive season with a disastrous 4-2 Alba Cup defeat at Stranraer. Rangers battled hard but were knocked out at the first hurdle for the second season running, with both teams ending the bad-tempered encounter with less players than they started. Stranraer opened the scoring after 11 minutes' play when Jack rolled the ball into an empty net following a misunderstanding over a high ball between McLean and Peat. Seven minutes later Stranraer doubled their advantage when Notman was sent off for bringing down Jack, as they tangled in the box, and Mitchell made it two from the spot. Berwick managed to pull a goal back when Callaghan supplied a cross for Ewart to head home. Stranraer were reduced to ten men a minute before the interval when Noble picked up a second yellow for dissent. However, Rangers saw their playing numbers reduced further when Ewart was sent off in the tunnel at half-time for aggressive behaviour towards his own teammate after being restrained from questioning the referee. Any hopes of a Berwick comeback were lost on the hour when Mitchell latched onto a great through ball and rounded the advancing keeper for goal number three. Substitute Little pulled another goal back for Berwick with four minutes remaining, however, Stranraer restored parity just sixty seconds later with a superb strike from substitute Montgomerie.

August

1: Rangers made it two cup defeats in successive weekends when Partick Thistle eased through to the second round of the Co-operative Insurance Cup with a comfortable 5-1 victory at Firhill. Any game plan that Rangers had went out of the window when McMullan had to leave the field injured after only eight minutes' play. Despite this set back Berwick held their own in early in the first half and it took the home side until the half-hour mark to break the deadlock when Hodge scored with a superb first-time 20-yarder which flew past Peat and high into the net. In the 49th minute Thistle doubled their lead when Buchanan let fly from 25 yards with a ball into the top right-hand corner, giving Peat no chance whatsoever. Three minutes later Partick went further ahead. Peat could only parry a McKeown shot across the goalmouth and Erskine was on hand at the back post to steer the ball into the empty net. The Jags were now dominating play and more goals looked likely, but the next goal came Berwick's way in a now rare attack. On 69 minutes Little found himself in acres of space following a neat Greenhill through ball and chipped the ball over the committed Tuffey into the net. However, there was to be no comeback from Berwick. A needless hand ball by Ewart resulted in a penalty which Buchanan converted on 81 minutes, and Erskine wrapped things up with three minutes remaining when the slightest of touches from a Paul Paton cross was enough to put the ball beyond Peat.

8. Berwick Rangers were handed a dream start inside three minutes, in their opening league game of the season, when Currie finished off a stunning three man move with a delightful shot into the top corner from the edge of the box. Rangers controlled the opening stages, with Greenhill making some surging runs down the left, but against the run of play Annan levelled when Gilfillan's fierce drive from just inside the 18-yard box on 19 minutes cannoned off the base of the post and into the far corner of the net. From that point on Berwick were on the back foot as Annan, buoyed by their equaliser, began to take control. The visitors almost took the lead when Macbeth raced past four defenders only to see his final cross cleared. However, despite immense pressure they could not prize open the Berwick defence and Peat was not seriously tested. Rangers took the game to Annan in the second half. Little's header in the 58th minute was harshly chalked off for offside, but a minute later Berwick won a corner and Greenhill's corner to the heart of the Annan defence was weakly flapped by Summersgill and Guy was on hand to fire home. A triple substitution by Annan injected some fresh ideas to their play and they were given a chance to square the match in the 84th minute when a marauding run by Macbeth was ended in the penalty box by McLean, who was only standing his ground. However, Peat saved the day with a superb double save to thwart Cox's effort as Rangers claimed all three points.

Rangers confirmed the re-signing of Fraser McLaren. The midfielder, who was a regular last season, had been looking for a return to full-time football and had been on trial with both Derby County and Carlisle United, but Berwick always said the door was open for a possible return and he agreed a new one-year deal with the club.

15. Berwick's fatal attraction to red cards continued to haunt them at a gale wracked Cliftonhill as they played all but the first seven minutes with ten men after the dismissal of club captain Stuart Callaghan and paid the penalty with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Albion Rovers. Rovers took the lead from the penalty spot after Callaghan handled on the line. McFarlane's shot was kicked off the line but only as far as Pat Walker, whose return shot was instinctively punched over the bar by Callaghan. Callaghan was subsequently red carded, and Barr converted the resulting spot-kick. Despite being a man short, Rangers had more possession for the remainder of the first half and deservedly equalised on 21 minutes when Brazil scored with a superb 25-yard dipping volley past Gaston, who had moved off his line. Berwick never really got started in the second half and struggled to overcome the additional handicap of playing into the strong wind. Rovers took the lead on 62 minutes when a Barr shot from 30 yards rebounded back off the post and fell nicely to Chris Boyle on the right-hand edge of the penalty. Boyle hit a low shot across the goal which was cruelly deflected into the Berwick net off Walker. A draw would have been a fair result on the day's play, as Rangers learned another harsh lesson on discipline.

22. Berwick upset the form book by beating relegated Livingston with a 67th minute strike from Brazil proving enough to secure the points. Livingston edged the closely fought first half during which the visitors could have led when David Winters headed straight at Peat. However, Berwick produced some fine attacking football in the second half and David Greenhill's shot clipped the top of the crossbar before Brazil grabbed the winner. Fraser McLaren headed a long free kick from the keeper into the box and Brazil crashed home a fine shot into the far corner from 12 yards, after his miscued first attempt spun neatly back. With time fast running out the visitors turned the screw and only a goal-line clearance by the sliding legs of Guy and the foot of McLean denied One from giving Livingston an equaliser.

29. Berwick Rangers kept up the pressure at the top of the table with their third straight win at a blustery Shielfield Park with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park but had to wait until the final minutes of the game before McLaren finally wrapped matters up following a superb move. Both defences were outstanding, but Queens Park failed to get one shot on goal throughout the entire game. Rangers dominated possession despite losing leading scorer Alan Brazil to injury after 23 minutes. Visiting goalkeeper Black made two excellent saves from McLaren and Little, while McLaren had the ball in the net, but it was ruled offside. Just after the hour mark, the Spiders were let off the hook after an astonishing miss by Radzynski, who headed wide when it seemed easier to score. A few minutes later, Rangers again went close when Currie glanced the ball wide from well inside the six-yard box. However, right at the death Rangers were rewarded for their dominance when McLaren stroked the ball home to round off a fine four-man move that split the visitors' defence wide open. Andy McLean started it in midfield, Little kept it going and Currie played a superb through ball for McLaren to finish it off from six yards out.

September

12. A lorry blaze on the M8 near Shotts gave Berwick a free weekend when the Stranraer team bus was held up in heavy traffic and the match was called off just an hour before kick-off.

19. It was a case of two points lost rather than one point gain in the Highlands as a dominant Berwick side were denied top spot by an Elgin City equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Rangers took just seven minutes to break the deadlock when Brazil curled a left-footer into the top corner from the edge of the area. Berwick doubled their lead on 18 minutes when Currie got onto the end of a tempting Gray cross from the left and nodded in from six yards. Elgin did not look to be in the match until late in the half. Berwick's defence somehow lost concentration and Elgin struck twice in quick succession to restore parity. Gunn latched onto a long ball in the 40th minute and netted a low finish after a good run into the box and doubled his tally three minutes later with a powerful strike after outpacing the Berwick defence. Rangers continued to dominate proceedings in a scrappy second half that only came into life in the closing minutes. Berwick looked to have won it with nine minutes to go when Little headed in Greenhill's perfectly floated corner, but Elgin defender Nicholson hit home a dramatic last-gasp leveller when, following a corner, Currie's headed clearance fell kindly for him and after juggling the ball he volleyed an unstoppable shot into the back of the net deep into injury time.

22. Berwick Rangers moved two points clear at the top of the Third Division table with a deserved victory over Stranraer in the rearranged fixture at Shielfield Park. The win was the fourth in a row at home, but Rangers made hard work of it and should have won by a much bigger margin. Stranraer looked the better outfit in the open minutes, but Berwick wrestled control and dominated thereafter. On 12 minutes Stranraer keeper Mitchell was harshly judged to have fouled Damon Grey in the box but justice was done when the keeper dived brilliantly to his left to save Callaghan's spot kick. Seven minutes before the interval Currie was unlucky not to break the deadlock when his shot rebounded off the post after a fine a fine three-man move. Paul McInnes was a whisker away from giving the visitors the lead ten minutes into the second half with a lob which beat the keeper only to bounce off the outside of an upright. Berwick continued to push forward, and Brazil unleashed a cracking 25-yard drive which flashed just wide of the target before Greenhill finally clinched the points in the 70th minute when he lashed the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box after Brazil's shot had been deflected into his path.

26. Berwick wrote themselves into the record books with their straight fifth win at Shielfield Park making it the best home start to a season for 40 years. Goals from McLaren and Brazil gave Rangers a comfortable 2-0 win over basement boys Montrose to break the previous record of four in a row set in 1969/70. The visitors, however, put in a spirited performance which belied their lowly position and had the better of the early play. McLaren put Berwick ahead with their first real attempt on goal in the 18th minute when, from Elliott Smith's cross, he beat McNeil with a looping header from an acute angle at the far post. From then on Rangers were in command. The Borderers should have doubled their tally at the start of the second half but Grey somehow ballooned Brazil's pin-point delivery over the bar from six-yards out. However, the second goal came after 56 minutes when Greenhill set up a great chance for Gray. His shot was blocked but Brazil stepped in to hammer home the rebound from the edge of the six-yard box. Montrose continued to work hard, with a series of dangerous corner kicks, but the home defence held firm when required.

October

3. Berwick were blown off course as their winning run was ended at a wind-swept Shielfield Park as Forfar Athletic better mastered the conditions. A second half penalty was all that separated the sides in a game that was nearly called off by the referee due to the high winds. The wind spoiled the game as a spectacle with goalmouth action a rarity. However, Forfar looked the more comfortable in the blustery conditions as Rangers failed to find the target for the first time this term. Berwick made a several surging runs in the opening half, but poor finishing let them down. They were forced to make changes when Gray was stretchered off with a leg injury just before the hour mark and a few minutes later Forfar broke the deadlock when Callaghan brought down Mowat near the corner of the 18-yard box. The linesman signalled a penalty and Campbell fired home from the spot. As Forfar pressed their advantage Mark Peat brilliantly stopped a Mowat shot before pulling off a fine double save to deny substitute Smith with the follow up. However, one goal proved to be enough, condemning Berwick to their first home defeat of the season.

10. A controversial goal at the start of the second half was enough to give East Stirlingshire all three points in a close game in which Berwick felt aggrieved not to have taken anything out of after twice hitting the woodwork. Rangers started the match in a hurry with two attempts on goal inside the first minute. Shire appealed for a penalty when Ewart pulled Lynch's jersey inside the box, but the referee was unsighted and waved play on. In the 30th minute Berwick conjured up the best chance of the game to that point when Brazil sent in a 25-yard shot that rebounded off the crossbar with Barclay well beaten. Three minutes from the break Ewart blocked Tully's shot from inside the six-yard box and on the stroke of half-time Rodgers should have given Shire the lead after being sent clear. However, within a minute of the second half Rodgers controversially put Shire ahead when he poked the ball past Peat near the post. Rangers protested strongly that the goal should not have stood as they, not Shire, should have had the throw-in that started the move. Shire nearly doubled their lead on the hour mark when Tully's powerful header was tipped over by Peat and a minute later McGuire fired a looping effort that crashed off the top of the crossbar. Berwick were unlucky not to level when Ewart headed a Callaghan corner from the right onto the crossbar and Shire got off even lighter on 78 minutes when Currie hit a spectacular long-range effort that Bolochoweckyj somehow deflected wide. McKenzie had a great chance to finish the game off with barely a minute left, but he tried to flick the ball over the advancing keeper and only succeeded in playing it into Peat's arms. There was a real let-off for the home side in the third minute of stoppage time when Berwick substitute Russell was played clean through, but his parting shot was superbly blocked by Barclay's full-length diving save.

17. Lady Luck again deserted Berwick Rangers as Danny Griffin rescued a point for Livingston with 90 seconds remaining, but Rangers became the first Third Division side to take a point from Almondvale in the current campaign. Livingston forced the first chance of the match when De Vita was left unmarked in the box, but his shot whistled narrowly past Peat's left-hand post. From then on Rangers outplayed their hosts and were desperately unlucky not to go in at the break in front after twice hitting the woodwork within a minute. Brazil saw his header from a Greenhill cross rebound off the bar and was first to react, but Livingston keeper McKenzie somehow clawed the return out. From the resultant corner, Guy was denied in similar fashion with Greenhill again the provider. McKenzie made sure his side went in on level of terms at the break, pulling off another fine save in the 44th minute to palm Currie's volley away for a corner. Berwick continued to press after the break but with just over a quarter of the match remaining the home side finally made inroads into the contest. Jacobs broke down their left and fired in a dangerous low cross which just eluded Winters and De Vita flashed a header narrowly wide as Rangers found themselves on the sharp end of sustained pressure. However, Rangers broke the deadlock on 71 minutes. With Livingston pressing, Currie took advantage of the acres of space and set substitute McLaren free down the right. McLaren reached the by-line and rifled in a hard low cross which McDonald sliced past his own keeper. If the defender had not got there first, Brazil and Radzynski were on hand to provide the finishing touch. An astonishing double save in the 75th minute by Peat kept the score level as he denied Winters and Halliday in rapid succession. Then disaster struck. With less than two minutes remaining, Guy's mishit clearance fell towards the edge of the penalty area. Attempting to clear, Jamie Ewart clambered all over De Vita and from the resultant free-kick Griffin found the top corner with a blistering 25-yarder which left Peat helpless.

24. Berwick made it through to the third round of the Scottish Cup against Civil Service Strollers more comfortably that the 2-1 scoreline suggested. However, it was no stroll in the park as it took two second half goals from substitute Fraser McLaren to cancel out the home side's interval lead. The Civil Service matched an underperforming Berwick side in a scrappy first half, but it was a different story in the second. The fired-up home side attacked from the start, but Little should have given Rangers the lead in the 5th minute when he shot narrowly wide from 18 yards. Berwick continued to create a series of half chances, with Ewart slicing a Callaghan corner wide and Paul Currie volleying past the post. However, Rangers persisted in playing square balls that inevitably resulted in forfeiting possession. The Strollers took the lead just past the half-hour mark when Burgess' speculative looping header from Barbirou's free-kick defied Mark Peat's attempts to keep it out and it crept inches under the cross bar. McLaren replaced Radzynski after the interval and his pace up front breathed new life into the Rangers side as they stretched the Strollers' defence. A long high ball by Ewart from the centre circle found McLaren in acres of space out on the left and he beat the home defenders for pace before drilling home a superb ball to level the score after 59 minutes. Ten minutes later, McLaren put Rangers ahead when he stroked the ball into the far corner of the net from six yards after Brazil had turned two defenders before playing the perfect cross. As Berwick pressed for the killer third, McLaren missed the easiest chance of the afternoon when he headed inches over after getting to a cross ahead of Ramsey. Fitness was beginning to tell on the home side, giving the Rangers a stream of chances as they encamped in the home half. Guy, Brazil and McLean all went close but could not find the finishing touch. However, the Strollers made a game of it when, right at the death, Bobby Reid came close to forcing a replay but somehow managed to send his diving header wide from just 2 yards out.

31. Rangers hauled themselves back into championship contention with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over recent bogy team Albion Rovers that placed them in second place. It was Rangers' first victory in six outings against the Coatbridge men who were lucky not to have suffered a heavier defeat. Berwick should have been three-up at the interval. In the 21st minute Little went close with a powerful header from Callaghan's inch-perfect free-kick that rebounded off the crossbar. A minute later Alan Brazil saw his shot from a yard out rebound off the post, and on 36 minutes he was guilty of a glaring miss when he somehow hooked a Greenhill knockdown over the bar from three yards out with the goal at his mercy. Peat kept the score level at the interval with fine saves from Barr and Boyle. Rangers continued to apply pressure after the break and finally got the breakthrough that their play deserved after 70 minutes when Currie stabbed the ball home from close range after Callaghan had floated in a superb free kick from the right. There was only one team in it now, and with ten minutes remaining substitute Gray sealed the points with his first goal for the club when he scored from the penalty spot after Benton had brought down McLaren in the box.

November

7. Rangers recorded their first away victory of the campaign despite throwing away a two-goal interval lead. Berwick took the lead after only five minutes' play when Stranraer defender Henderson passed the ball beyond his keeper, and it crept in off the post. Stranraer almost gifted Berwick another when a through ball by Callaghan found Gray in acres of space. He clipped the ball over Mitchell, but the covering Agostini got back in time to clear, colliding with the post in the process. Rangers extended their lead on 23 minutes when Gray found space on the edge of the 18-yard box and fired home sharply on the turn into the bottom left-hand corner. Stranraer were being convincingly outplayed, and it came as no surprise when a double substitution was made at the interval. The home side then produced a half-hour of brilliant football to drag themselves back into the match. On 55 minutes McGeouch scrambled home from two yards, and on 71 minutes the midfielder turned provider when his drive was tapped in at the back post by substitute McColm to level the score. However, Rangers got their noses in front again with ten minutes remaining when Ewart poked the ball home following a corner and made doubly sure of the points sixty seconds later when Gray calmly rolled the ball under the advancing Mitchell from 18 yards to claim his second of the match. Stranraer's misery was completed when Henderson was sent with two minutes remaining on for an off-the-ball incident.

14. Berwick missed a glorious opportunity to leapfrog to the top of the table when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Queen's Park at Shielfield Park. With leaders Livingston's game against Albion Rovers postponed because of a waterlogged pitch, Rangers knew that victory would put them top. However, the combination of an own goal from Graham Guy and some poor finishing in the closing stages of the match meant that Rangers had to be content with a point. Rangers dominated the early stages, with Currie and Callaghan both going close, but went a goal behind after only seven minutes when Guy headed a harmless looking cross from Walker into the far corner beyond the helpless Peat. A minute later, Rangers were caught sleeping when Horn was booked for hauling Quinn back on the edge of the box and luckily the resultant free kick was deflected wide for a corner. After a shaky spell, Rangers regrouped and drew level on 12 minutes when Andy McLean had the simplest of tasks in heading home Callaghan's 25-yard free-kick at the back post. Currie had an effort scrambled off the line as Rangers pressed before Queen's Park had a goal ruled out for a blatant push in the back by Quinn as he headed in on the line. After the break, the visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession with Rangers hitting hard on the break. Quinn went close for the Spiders with a powerful low drive and Douglas forced Peat to fist clear from a corner. At the other end Currie fired wide before Hamilton raced from his area to deny Brazil a clear chance. Douglas then cleared off the line from substitute Little and Brazil blazed over with the goal gaping. With five minutes remaining Peat was the hero for Berwick with a brilliant point-blank save denying Paul Quinn before McLaren and Brazil blasted chances high and wide when it looked easier to score.

28. After the disappointment of the league match at Montrose being postponed just fifteen minutes before kick-off time due to severe traffic congestion on the A90 the previous week, Rangers hoped to pull off a Scottish Cup shock at Ross County. However, a Berwick penalty miss proved to be the turning point as they then conceded three goals in the closing seven minutes of the first half and two more in the final ten to exit the Scottish Cup at the third-round stage. Berwick had marginally been the better side but a missed penalty on 28 minutes changed matters dramatically. The spot-kick was awarded after Little was taken down by Boyd in the box, but McGovern saved Damon Gray's kick low to his right before smothering the rebound as the striker slid in. County were spurred on by the miss and Di Giacomo opened the scoring in the 38th minute when he met Brittain's low cross from the left. Di Giacomo doubled the lead two minutes later when he headed home a Scott Morrison delivery at the back post. With three minutes of the half remaining Rangers gave Lawson too much time and space in front of the box and he fired home a third with a 20-yard shot which went in off the post to kill the game. Nevertheless, to their credit, Berwick came out fighting after the interval and pulled a goal back after 77 minutes when Brazil knocked in a McLaren cross. However, any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed when substitute Craig turned in a Morrison free kick five minutes later and fellow substitute Wood rounded off the scoring three minutes from the end after Craig had squared the ball to him.

December

1. Berwick Rangers moved back into second place with a deserved 3-1mid-week victory at bottom-of-the-table Montrose, played under atrocious conditions at Links Park. With the fierce wind and driving rain behind them, Berwick dominated the opening half and Montrose struggled to make any progress. Rangers took the lead on 13 minutes when Little whipped in a corner across the face of the goal which found the unmarked McLaren at the back post who headed the ball hard into the ground and it bounced into the roof of the net. Montrose had a chance to level when a goal-bound effort from Gemmell was cleared off the line by Ewart. However, home keeper McNeil twice denied Berwick in one-on-one situations as Rangers pressed relentlessly and a solitary goal lead at the interval was scant reward for their efforts. With the wind at their backs in the second half Montrose came out fighting and within five minutes they were level. Watson jumped high to meet Anderson's cross from eight yards out and headed into the corner of the net despite Peat getting a hand to it. After a 20-minute spell of Montrose pressure Rangers regrouped and, after missing several chances, Gray sent in a cross from which Brazil cracked in a low drive from the edge of the box to restore the lead on 74 minutes. Berwick wrapped up the points eight minutes from time when McLaren only had to nod briefly to head home a superbly floated 30-yard free-kick, over a static home defence, from Callaghan.

5. A controversial sending off was the turning point. The defensive-minded visitors were beginning to frustrate Rangers until Kaczan's harsh red card for a foul on Callaghan changed the game. Rangers produced some quality attacking play and should have won by a much bigger margin. During a frustrating first half Brazil headed narrowly over before Elgin replied with Frizzell outpacing his marker, but Ewart made a telling tackle in the penalty area. McLean tested Gibson with a close-range header before Greenhill fired wide when well placed. Gray saw a low strike blocked before being denied by the far upright with the keeper beaten, the ball rolling back along the line before being cleared, and only a brilliant fingertip save stopped him opening the scoring shortly after the break. Elgin were reduced to ten men on 54 minutes when Kaczan was shown a straight red for flooring Callaghan. After his departure, Berwick finally forced the breakthrough 64 minutes when, following a corner, Currie floated in an accurate cross from the left; McLean headed it downward past Gibson and it squirmed under a covering defender on the line. Rangers were now producing some excellent attacking play and substitute Little was desperately unlucky to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line with the keeper nowhere in sight. However, even with their numerical advantage, Peat had to make two brilliant saves from the ever-dangerous Gunn. Elgin hung on until the 86th minute when Little headed the decisive second goal after Brazil had sent McLaren clear and his pin-point centre left Little to apply a simple finish.

12. Christmas was still a week away, but Rangers were in generous spirit and gifted visitors East Stirlingshire three points. East Stirlingshire ended Berwick's six-match unbeaten run and leap-frogged over them into second place with a 1-0 victory at Shielfield Park. Lynch earned the points for the visitors with a well struck shot and then hailed his side's defenders for shutting Berwick out. Shire almost made a flying start when Rodgers seized on slack defending. He looked to have done the hard work when he rounded Peat but his shot across the open goal went inches wide of the far post Berwick suffered a blow after only 11 minutes when Brazil limped off injured and their game plan suffered as a result. Rodgers was guilty of squandering a further chance just before the interval when, with a clear sight of the goal, he dragged his shot wide after being teed up by Stevenson. The game opened in the second half as both teams gave their all on the heavy pitch. Currie proved to be Berwick's saviour when he scrambled a Tully header off the line on 48 minutes. At the other end, Bolochoweckyj was in the right place at the right time to hook a McLean header off the line on 55 minutes. Six minutes later Shire made the breakthrough. Rangers failed to clear a corner and Callaghan sprayed a pass to Stevenson who in turn played Lynch through to smash the ball past Peat at the near post from 10 yards out. Shire then had to defend resolutely as Berwick staged a late onslaught. On 79 minutes Radzynski crashed a header from a Notman cross against the bar before Barclay superbly deflected a lightning strike from McLaren over the bar with a fingertip save. In the dying seconds it was all hands to the pump for Shire's back line as Berwick pushed up keeper Peat for a corner. The goalie got his head on the ball and stayed up front for a second corner from which he got a vital flick into the path of McLean whose shot was hacked clear to safety.

January

16. It was a frustrating start to the New Year for Berwick as they again found themselves laid up because of the severe winter weather. The January 2nd fixture against league leaders Livingston at Shielfield Park was postponed as was the home match versus Stranraer the following week. Added to the postponement of the away fixtures at Forfar and Annan in late last December meant that Rangers had not played a match for fully five weeks. There was no happy return to action for Berwick after their enforced break when they succumbed meekly to a more committed Queen's Park side at Hampden Park who won 2-0 with effort to spare. Rangers opened brightly and for twenty minutes played some impressive stuff, showing little sign of rustiness, However, it was downhill after that with Queen's Park dominating. Hamilton and McBride went closest for the home side with efforts that flew just wide of the target before Berwick's Currie passed up an excellent chance to open the scoring 10 minutes from the break by hitting a low shot straight at the keeper. Rangers should have taken the lead just after the interval, but Hamilton raced from his line to block when McLaren was sent clean through by Currie. The Spiders finally broke the deadlock after 63 minutes when Douglas met Hamilton's in-swinging corner at the near post and directed the ball into the net with a neat glancing header. McBride missed an excellent chance to double the advantage on 75 minutes when he fired past the post from 15 yards with only the keeper to beat. However, substitute Murray made sure of the points a minute from the end when he swivelled neatly in the six-yard box to fire home after Quinn nodded down a corner.

23. Rangers bounced back when they recorded their first victory of 2010 with a resounding 5-1 away victory at Elgin City, which put them to within two points of league leaders Livingston. Two-goal hero Steven Radzynski was almost left out of the starting line-up as Rangers looked to bring in another striker to boost their title hopes. A second half red card for Elgin's Nicolson proved to be the turning point after which Rangers tore the home side apart. After a bright start by Berwick, Radzynski set up Little to shoot home through the keepers' legs from 18 yards after 14 minutes before grabbing his first goal for the club when he latched on to Currie's pass and smashed it low and hard into the bottom left-hand corner ten minutes later. The hosts pulled a goal back two minutes later when Macaulay set up Nicholson to score. With the score at 2-1, City looked to be back in the reckoning, and they test Peat on several occasions. However, on 57 minutes, Nicolson stupidly took a retaliatory kick at Greenhill, after a hard sliding tackle by the Berwick man, and was shown a straight red. Rangers made the most of their extra man and Currie increased their lead on 65 minutes. From a left-wing cross, Radzynski took the pace off the ball and away from the defenders and it rolled towards the back post; Currie read it well and smashed the ball home from a tight angle. Five minutes later, Greenhill made it 4-1, when a deflection off an Elgin player in the six-yard box gave him the easiest of tasks in tapping the ball home past the helpless Gibson, and Radzynski completed the rout with an absolute peach when he took a touch before chipping the ball home from the corner of the 18-yard box with eight minutes remaining.

30. Berwick turned in a hugely disappointing performance when they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-table Montrose, who arrived at Shielfield Park still looking for their first victory of the season. Rangers started positively with Radzynski missing an early opportunity when he somehow guided a ball whipped across the face of the goal inches past the post. Berwick should have taken the lead the 21st minute when Ian Little's close range header was well saved by McNeil. However, Montrose opened the scoring three minutes later when Notman unavoidably shinned a Gemmell cross into his own net from six yards. The goal, rather than spurring the home side into action, seemed to deflate them and for the rest of the half Montrose tore the home defence apart. Twice Gemmell was played through by superb midfield play and twice Peat denied him. The visitors nearly doubled their advantage six minutes before the break but Davidson's effort from 12 yards was brilliantly saved by Peat. Berwick started the second half in a determined fashion, with Radzynski missing several good chances to equalise, and for a ten-minute spell laid a near siege on the visitor's goal. However, Montrose easily absorbed the pressure and made the most of the yawning gaps left at the back as Berwick pushed forward. In the final minute, Rangers failed to clear their line when a long ball played through the middle saw three Berwick players get themselves in a muddle. Peat rushed off his line, but the ball somehow squirmed underneath him and the unmarked Tosh ran past them all to make the game safe for Montrose with an impressive low drive into an empty net.

February

6. Rangers were still not firing on all cylinders when they came second best to an impressive East Stirlingshire side at Ochilview Park. Although the 3-2 scoreline suggested a closely fought encounter, Rangers only wrested control from the Shire in the opening and closing 15-minute spells. Shire dominated the opening stages and should have taken the lead when Lynch and Stevenson created an opening for Rodgers. He had plenty of time to pick his spot, but his shot was hacked off the line by Currie. Just past the half-hour Peat denied Rodgers with a brilliant diving save. A minute later, a perfectly weighted pass from Lynch sent McGuire clean through but, with only the keeper to beat, he hit a rather hasty shot and Peat saved easily. Shire took the lead five minutes before the interval. Weaver was fouled by Ewart 25 yards from goal and from the resultant free kick Stevenson curled the ball high into the keeper's top left-hand corner. Shire started the second half in a hurry, but Berwick were coming back into things and on 56 minutes only a great saving challenge from Bolochoweckyj stopped Gray from going clean through on goal. Two minutes later McLaren made ground down the right and from his cut back Gray levelled matters with a low 18-yarder into the bottom corner of the net. However, on 64 minutes Shire regained the lead. Lynch received the ball with his back to goal and laid it into the path of McGuire who managed to curl the ball low into the net at the far post. Shire kept up the pressure and three minutes later Richardson whipped in a corner to the near post and McGuire reacted first with a glancing header that went into the net with the aid of the woodwork. McGuire was denied his hat-trick by yet another fantastic save from Peat before substitute Ure failed to make it game over when he was clean through on goal but shot straight at the keeper. Shire were guaranteed a nervy closing few minutes when Savage combined well with Gray on the edge of the box for the latter to slot home Berwick's second on 79 minutes, but despite a flurry of late corners Rangers could not find the target again as the home team hung desperately on.

9. A controversially disallowed header from Jamie Ewart, midway through the second half, deprived Berwick of all three points against Annan Athletic in a midweek fixture at Galabank. Paul Currie had fired Rangers in front with a superb shot from the edge of the box as Berwick dominated the opening half, but after the interval they never really got going and paid the penalty when Annan broke away quickly and Sloan's deep cross was headed home by Bell. After absorbing some early pressure Berwick began to dominate proceedings and it took a superb fingertip save from Kelly to deny Currie in the 15th minute. Annan had a real let off in the 25th minute when Neilson lost possession wide on the right and McMullan made a bee line for the Annan goal only to be denied by a fine Macbeth tackle. However, Rangers took a deserved lead on 31 minutes with a stunning goal. Callaghan's through ball sent McMullan on a mazy run that was ended on the edge of the box. The loose ball broke to Currie, who fired home a superbly struck 25-yarder into Kelly's top left-hand corner. Currie almost doubled the lead a minute later, but his goal bound effort was deflected over by Neilson. Berwick finished the half on the attack, and it took a last-ditch tackle from Macbeth on McLaren to avert a dangerous situation. After the change of ends Rangers never really got going and Annan began to impose their game. However, the home side were lucky when Muirhead denied Damon Gray in the 55th minute with a timely tackle on the edge of the box. Annan squared the match three minutes later with a well-executed goal. Gilfillan broke up a Berwick attack and sent Cox on his way down the left; from his cross Bell, who was unmarked at the back post, headed home. Rangers thought they had restored their lead in the 61st minute when Ewart powered Little's corner past Kelly, but their celebrations were cut short when referee awarded a foul for a mystery offence. A minute later Gray laid off neatly to McMullan, but the midfielder cracked his shot over the crossbar. Cox had a real opportunity to edge Annan ahead in the 70th minute when Gilfillan sent him through on goal, but after rounding the keeper his shot was cleared off the line by Gair. With the points hanging in the balance neither side was able to find the decisive touch and at the end a point apiece seemed a fair result.

13. A rampant Forfar side thumped Berwick in a third versus fourth clash to close the gap to only a point with three games in hand over the Rangers, the dismal 4-0 home defeat put paid to any remaining title hopes. Forfar thoroughly deserved their victory and hand the final scoreline been five or six it would not have been an injustice. Problems with drainage at Shielfield left the game in the balance even after passing an early morning inspection. To make matters worse, Peat looked to be carrying a thigh injury as he took to the field, a problem that was to become all too apparent as the match wore on. After a lively start by Forfar, it was Berwick who almost took the lead on 8 minutes when McMullan cut through the Loons defence with a brilliant run and shot which was cleared off the line by Bishop, who almost put through his own goal from the resultant corner. On 15 minutes Gray saw a snapshot from a short free kick by Callaghan brilliantly blocked by the unsighted Brown. However, on 32 minutes Rangers suffered another blow when a poorly placed goal kick from Ewart, who was covering for Peat's lack of kicking power, fell nicely for Campbell, who outran the defence before squeezing low shot past the keeper from the 18-yard line. Five minutes from the break, Tulloch put Campbell through again, but he shot wide, before Fotheringham battered a 20-yard shot off the post with Peat well beaten. On the stroke of half time, Rangers were denied a stonewall penalty when Little's cross was cleared by I. Campbell's hand, but the referee turned a blind eye to the offence. At this point Rangers were still in the game, but that prospect was killed off within two minutes of the restart. The home defence failed to clear their line and let Watson head back across the goalmouth where the towering Templeman had the easy task of nodding the ball home from two yards. With Peat now obviously struggling with injury the visitors hit a quick-fire double. Tulloch found the net with a mishit 35-yard lob into the goalmouth which Peat could not prevent from entering the net on 54 minutes, and three minutes later the defence failed to clear a Fotheringham corner and Watson headed home. An absolute hammering now looked on the cards but luckily for Berwick Forfar took off most of their influential players to give the subs bench a run out. To add to Berwick's nightmare Currie was shown a harsh straight red for bringing down Sellars with 15 minutes left.

20. Berwick's dismal run of form continued as Annan Athletic recorded their first ever victory over the Rangers. Two goals down at half-time, Berwick raised the tempo in the second half but lacked the quality needed to unlock the visitors' defence. Annan started brightly with Muirhead testing McCaldon in the opening minute with a cracking volley which the stand-in keeper, making his debut, brilliantly palmed over. However, McCaldon had no chance when Jardine fired home from the edge of the box on 12 minutes after the defence had failed to clear a Macbeth cross after four attempts and the ball landed neatly at Jardine's feet. Rangers replied with Ewart forcing Kelly to fist clear following a Callaghan corner before Gray twice steered wide. Bell doubled Annan's advantage in the 37th minute with a tremendous strike into the corner of the net from the edge of the box. Just before the interval Rangers were unlucky not to score when Little's glancing header from a difficult angle deflected off the post. Berwick came out fighting in the second half and had the lion's share of the play throughout. Appeals for a penalty were wave aside when Neilson appeared to handle before Ewart headed marginally over. McLaren was desperately unlucky not to reduce the deficit on the hour-mark when his blistering shot rebounded off the post with the keeper well beaten. Looking for a way through, Gray was twice denied on the edge of the box as the Annan defence soaked up the constant pressure, leaving Rangers without a win in five outings.

As the bad weather continued to sweep the country, Berwick, like many others, saw more games postponed. The scheduled match at against Albion Rovers at Coatbridge was called off due to surface water and the rearranged home encounter with Livingston was called off after an early pitch inspection due to a frozen pitch.

Berwick Rangers announced a major revamp of their dressing room facilities at Shielfield Park. The club had received a £30,000 grant from the Football Trust and the work would begin in May, following the team's last home game of the season. The home and away changing rooms, which needed upgrading, would be completely gutted and new facilities, including baths and showers, installed. The club committed to spend £5000 on drainage work to the Shielfield Park pitch during the summer. The surface is to be slit, new pipework installed, and the surface re-laid after backfilling with gravel.

March

Rangers completed the signing of midfielder Jordon Cropley, who signed until the end of the season, along with Jay Shields who re-joined the club after a spell at Cowdenbeath. Meanwhile, defender Harry McGregor, who had been on an extended loan from Dunfermline Athletic, returned to East End Park at the end of his deal.

6. A late David Greenhill strike guided Berwick Rangers to a narrow but deserved 3-2 win against Queen's Park at Hampden Park. Rangers were heartened by the returning Peat, Notman and Brazil, with Jimmy Crease being able to field something approaching his first choice eleven for the first time since mid-December. Queen's Park took an eleventh minute lead after excellent play down the left won a corner; McBride swung it in, Little nodded it on, and Henry looped a header over Peat from eight yards. After a period of Queen's pressure Berwick fought back and Gallagher showed quality with an excellent tackle to dispossess Ewart as he tried to burst clear down the right. Only a fine save by Peat stopped Queen's scoring a second in 33 minutes after McGinn's perfect cross was headed goal ward by Daly. However, on the stroke of half-time Rangers levelled matters following a Callaghan corner. McGeown rose to punch the ball out, but it only made the edge of the box where Shields lofted it back towards goal and Gray rose at the back post to head home. The second half started in frantic fashion with Berwick's Shields booked for a foul on McBride and McGinn saw yellow for a foul on Brazil. From the resultant free-kick Callaghan slammed a 20-yard free-kick off the Queen's wall. Hamilton almost put the Spiders ahead when he just missed a Murray cut back across the face of the goal before a defensive mix-up on 66 minutes gave Berwick the lead. McLaren's cross from the right looked harmless enough but both Little and McGinn failed to clear the danger and left Gray with the simple task of driving the ball home at the back post. Watt replaced Stewart as the Spiders reshuffled their front line and Gair had to divert a Hamilton cross over his own crossbar as the home side tried to hit back. The home side grabbed an equaliser with ten minutes remaining when Watt provided the finishing touch to a fine solo run. The Berwick defenders were reluctant to tackle, and Watt poked a low shot past the keeper from an acute angle. It looked as if the match would end all-square, but McLaren made space after a fine run down the right and had all the time in the world to pick out substitute Greenhill at the far post, who rifled a shot into the roof of the net with four minutes left on the clock. In the final minute McGinn was sent off, after picking up his second yellow for holding back Greenhill on the halfway line, as Berwick recorded their first win in six outings to move six points clear of fifth placed Queen's Park in the table with a game in hand.

9. After dominating the opening 45 minutes of the midweek fixture at Coatbridge, Rangers conjured up a calamitous second half performance and lost 4-1, leaving Albion Rovers with every chance of overhauling them in the contest for the final play-off spot. Rangers started brightly with Little shooting narrowly wide at the back post in the 5th minute after Brazil had picked him out. Rovers hit back and Peat was lucky to see a McCusker lob bounce back off the bar in the 9th minute. Rangers forced an endless stream of corners as they kept Ewings under pressure, and Shields was unlucky to see his 30-yarder brilliantly deflected over the bar by the home keeper. However, Ewings was finally beaten in the 43rd minute when McLean headed home at the front post from a Little corner. With Rangers well on top, no one could have foreseen the catastrophe that was to unfold within the opening fifteen minutes of the second period. McLeod was allowed to get on the end of a long cross field ball in the 48th minute for the equaliser before Rovers took the lead seven minutes later when Peat spilt a low shot from Boyle and Thomson reacted quickest to lash home the rebound. Worse was to follow. In the 59th minute. McLean lost possession to McCusker who burst into the box only to be chopped down by the Rangers centre half. McLean was shown a straight red and McCusker made no mistake with the penalty. McCusker buried any hopes of a revival on 69 minutes when he beat Ewart's misinterpretation of the offside trap to score low beyond Peat.

13. Berwick's slackening grip on a play-off place was loosened a little further when they went down to a disappointing 3-1 away defeat at Stranraer. The reverse was their seventh in the last eight games and left them clinging on to fourth spot by goal difference with the vultures now circling. Stranraer cruised to victory, over a Berwick Rangers side that rarely threatened, thanks to a McColm hat-trick. Stranraer came out of the traps quickest and could have been in front in less than 30 seconds when One's blocked shot fell to Cawley, but he scooped his effort over the bar. McColm opened the scoring on 14 minutes when he rolled the ball into an empty net after Peat had parried his initial effort. Five minutes later McColm picked up his second when he fired past Peat from a tight angle into the bottom right-hand corner. McColm should have completed his hat-trick just before the hour, but he blazed over from six yards following One's lay-off. However, less than sixty seconds later McColm used his pace to break clear, after a Danny Mitchell header had set him up, and slotted a left-footer under the advancing Peat. Berwick pulled a back consolation goal right at the death when substitute Russell turned superbly on the edge of the box and hooked his shot past Mitchell into the top left-hand corner.

20. A reshuffled Rangers side hauled themselves to within a point of third placed Forfar Athletic, who they were due to meet next, with a confidence boosting 2-1 win over Elgin City at Shielfield Park, as they wiped out the memory of four home defeats in a row. With on loan central defender Scott Gair returning to Stenhousemuir, Guy Kerr, on loan from East Fife, made his debut and formed a useful partnership with the impressive Andy McLean in the absence of the suspended Jamie Ewart. However, they made hard work of the victory over Elgin with a poor second half display after storming into a two-goal interval lead. After an opening quarter that was devoid of any real goalmouth action, Gray gave Rangers the lead on 15 minutes when he beat the offside trap, following a Callaghan through ball, and cashed in a low angled drive past the advancing keeper. Greenhill went close with a 25-yard drive before Notman was denied by a scrambling Gibson, who made a goal-line save from close range after the hard-working Brazil had flicked on Russell's cross from the right. Callaghan doubled Berwick's tally two minutes before the interval when he curled home a superbly struck free kick out of Gibson's reach, from the edge of the box. A minute later, Currie should have made the game safe when he somehow missed a square ball played across the box from eight yards out. In the second half Rangers failed to capitalise on their impressive finish to the first and the visitors reduced the deficit on 52 minutes. Peat made a tremendous point-blank save and the follow up from Nicolson was cleared off the line, but the ball rebounded off Greenhill in the crowded goalmouth and found its way into the net. Gray had the chance to put the result beyond doubt in the dying minutes before right at the death Smith rescued Rangers when he chested down a net bound shot from substitute Brian Cameron with Mark Peat well beaten on the edge of the area.

23. Berwick blew their chance of leapfrogging play-off rivals Forfar Athletic after they went down 3-0 at Station Park in their rearranged midweek fixture and dropped into fifth place behind Queen's Park instead. However, Forfar left it late to seal victory with a scoreline that flattered the hosts. In a poor first half it was Berwick who came closest to taking the lead when Gray was unlucky to see his 25-yard free-kick hit the post. Forfar opened the scoring just past the hour mark when Campbell timed his run perfectly to stroke home from Sellars' quickly taken free kick. Berwick introduced Little, Shields and McMullan in place of Greenhill, Russell and Smith in a bid to liven things up, but any hopes of a fightback were dashed in the final minute as Forfar doubled their lead as the clock ticked into the 90th minute. Substitute Watson fired in a fierce shot that was well blocked by Peat and the rebound was tucked home by Fotheringham. Seconds later, Watson notch a third goal for the Loons when he robbed McLean in midfield before racing into the box and driving a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner to put a rather flattering look on the scoreline that saw Rangers drop to fifth in the table and out of the play-off places for the first time since August.

27. Berwick Rangers moved back into the play-off places with a well-earned point against an inform Montrose side that finished with only nine men. Berwick should have taken the lead on 14 minutes when Campbell was penalised for handball, but Brazil shot wide from the penalty spot. Two minutes later Nicol gave Montrose the lead when tore the Berwick defence apart with a brilliant solo run before coolly slotting home. Nicol passed up a good chance to extend his team's lead in the 22nd minute when he sliced Tosh's through ball wide with only Peat to beat. Six minutes later Currie put Brazil clean through, but McNeil blocked his shot, and the rebound was hacked clear. Greenhill came to Rangers' rescue on the stroke of half time when he smashed home Brazil's flicked header in off the underside of the bar from the edge of the box to equalise. Montrose pressed hard in the opening minutes of the second half, but Rangers soon turned the pressure on the home side with some sharp passing moves. Brazil hooked a volley inches over in the 53rd minute. At the other end, a Tweed header was disallowed for climbing over Kerr. Peat then fisted a Campbell header over the bar on the hour before blocking Maitland's close range shot with his feet as Rangers found themselves on the receiving end for a short time. Currie shot past McNeil in the 67th minute but the goal was disallowed for offside and a minute later Gray battered an instinctive volley off the bar with the keeper well beaten. Rangers continued to create chances and after 74 minutes Gray headed just wide. Three minutes later Montrose were reduced to ten men when Gemmell was given two successive yellow cards for dissent. Berwick poured forward, hoping to make the most of their numerical advantage and Callaghan drove over the bar when well placed before Brazil missed with a header from two yards out. Montrose's troubles worsened when Tosh also received a double booking for dissent with four minutes remaining. Rangers had the chance to take all three points in stoppage time, but Currie hit his shot straight at McNeil when it looked easier to score and Montrose hung on for a share of the spoils, which lifted them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season.

On the financial side, it was announced that Berwick Rangers made an operating loss of £3000 in the financial year ending 31st May 2009. This was opposed to a £20,000 profit the previous year, which in the main was due to a drop in income from transfer activity. Chairman Brian Porteous said in written report read out at the club's annual general meeting: "I'm pleased to announce that we hope to be running a reserve team next season playing within the East of Scotland League. "Hopefully, this will benefit the first team. "We are also in talks at present with certain coaches to have an U19 team within the SFL Youth League for the start of next season". Rangers previously had both reserve and youth sides, but they were scrapped as part of a cost-cutting exercise. The accounts for the year ending May 31st, 2009, showed that the club had lost just over £3000. Porteous said: "That was the amount of bank interest we paid for the 12-month period. Considering our income from transfer fees was only £957 compared with £49,000 the previous year, I am fairly pleased with the outcome." He added: "It has been hard work, and may I say still is, given the cost of running a professional football team, no matter which league we are in. "If it were not for the dedication of everyone here and the continued support of the Supporters' Club and Supporters' Trust monies, we would be in a no-win situation. "On the team front the early part of the 2009/10 season proved successful, reaching top of the league at one point. "Unfortunately, due to the bad weather, match call-offs, important player injuries and the condition of our pitch through old drainage, our league position has slipped as of late. "A play-off position is still our aim, and we will do our utmost to try and achieve that. "On behalf of the board of directors and everyone associated with Berwick Rangers I would like to congratulate the manager, Jimmy Crease, and his assistant Ian Little of what they have achieved so far. "We feel we have the base to build on for next season with several players already having agreed and signed new deals."

April

3. A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Forfar Athletic saw Rangers slip further in the race for the play-offs. The defeat, the second at Station Park in the space of a fortnight, left Berwick five points adrift of Queen's Park in the table, and on current form it was questionable whether it was a deficit that they were capable of closing. Forfar kept their own challenge firmly on track with their fourth win in four outings against the Rangers. Forfar took command from the start and grabbed a 9th minute lead when Sellars fired home a clever free kick from the edge of the 18-yard the box, which squeezed under the defensive wall and deceived Peat. Watson almost doubled the lead when his clever chip from 20 yards almost caught out Peat, but the keeper backpedalled to save on the line. McLaren went close after the break only to be denied by the joint efforts of Fotheringham and keeper McLean, but otherwise Rangers rarely threatened the home side who enjoyed a glut of chances. However, it was the 60th minute before Forfar finally extended their lead when Ross Campbell headed home a perfectly delivered free kick from his brother Iain. Matters got worse for Berwick in the 79th minute when McLean saw red for a professional foul on McCulloch. However, there was some reprieve when Harty blasted the spot kick against the crossbar. With nine minutes remaining Watson headed a Harty cross against the bar as Forfar squandered another chance to get a third goal. It mattered little, however, as Forfar virtually made certain of a play-off place, moving twelve points clear of fifth-placed Berwick with only five games remaining.

6. Rangers picked up three welcome points with a 1-0 win over Stranraer in a rearranged fixture at Shielfield Park. The win, with their first clean sheet in fifteen matches, lifted Rangers to within two points of fourth placed Queen's Park in the race for the play-offs. The game was far from pretty to watch and was littered with fouls, which did nothing to help the flow of the game, with the only difference between the teams being that Berwick took their chance. Rangers looked most threatening early on and deservedly took the lead on 12 minutes when Smith played a long diagonal ball to Notman at the back post. Notman controlled it well and shot low into the corner with Mitchell slow to react. It settled the nerves, but Stranraer regrouped and were unlucky not to level on 24 minutes. Cawley won a free kick 20 yards from goal, Agnew stepped forward and curled a dipping left foot strike over the wall that flew past Peat but crashed back off the woodwork. Later, Henderson hooked over a chance after the ball had been knocked down to him by Moore. One squandered a great chance to square matters on 51 minutes when he headed an Agnew free kick over from close range. In the next move Peat conceded a corner which Agnew delivered to the far post. Moore headed back into the middle in a carbon copy of his first half effort and Henderson again fired his effort over the Berwick goal. At the other end McLaren found a way through the Stranraer defence but his shot lacked any real conviction and Mitchell collected easily. In the final minute substitute Russell should have done better when he had a clear-cut chance to put the result beyond doubt, when he got on the end of a McMullan cross, but he directed the ball straight at Mitchell from inside the 6-yard box.

10. Two goals down after 12 minutes, Berwick Rangers came back from the dead with a spirited second-half performance to claim a share of the points against second placed East Stirlingshire at Shielfield Park. Goals from Donaldson and Dunn had Shire 2-0 up after 12 minutes and only Berwick keeper Mark Peat prevented his team from getting a first half hammering. Shire took only four minutes to find the target courtesy of a Donaldson shot which went in off an upright after Callaghan failed to clear Ure's cross. Lynch was guilty of missing a great chance when he tried to lob Peat from the edge of the box. Rodgers forced Peat to make a full-length save before Dunn notched the visitor's second on 12 minutes with a terrific 18-yard curling effort into the keeper's top left-hand corner off the underside of the bar. Rodgers should have made it 3-0 by half-time but his volley was well saved by Peat. Berwick could barely force Barclay into a save and Shire must have been kicking themselves after failing to build a bigger first-half advantage. A half-time roasting saw Rangers emerge a changed set of players. McLaren was a whisker away from reducing the deficit with a shot that grazed the upright, then substitute Gray steered wide as the home side raised their game. McMullan reduced the score on 66 minutes with Rangers' first real shot on target after Currie put through a long defence-splitting pass. Shire responded with Lynch sending Rodgers clear. The striker seemed odds on to make the scoreline 3-1, but he was again thwarted by a magnificent Peat save. Berwick kept up the pressure and were back on level terms on 79 minutes. Ure was judged to have handled Callaghan's corner kick and despite the Shire protests the referee awarded a penalty from which Callaghan sent Barclay the wrong way. The point kept the visitors bang on target for the play-offs and Rangers on the fringe.

13. A win at Shielfield Park would have seen Livingston crowned Third Division champions, but the league-leaders were forced to put the champagne on ice after an impressive Berwick Rangers held them to a 1-1 draw. A makeshift Berwick side made an encouraging start and Currie was only inches away with a 20-yard dipping volley before a goal-line clearance from Talbot denied Gray. At the other end, Barr went close for the visitors before Tosh fired a long-range effort just wide of the post. Rangers kept up their momentum and Currie shaved an upright with the Livingston defence stretched. In the second half Berwick picked up from where they left off with some fast-passing football. Greenhill almost broke the deadlock just after the hour mark with a 30-yard sizzler that came back off the bar with the keeper well beaten. Then Gray was a fraction away with a 20-yard free-kick. However, on 71 minutes, and against the run of play, Livingston edged in front courtesy of a Tosh penalty, awarded after Notman had needlessly handled, but the advantage lasted precisely five minutes. McMullan made a good run down the left and sent a neat cross into the box, which was nodded back for Gray to rifle home, under the diving McKenzie, from 12 yards out. Livingston came to life in the final quarter and poured forward in search of a winner to secure the league title. Talbot came close with a header that was inches away before Peat pulled off a fine double save with two minutes remaining. Fox then headed over from 4 yards out, but Rangers held out for a well-deserved point to keep their hopes of finishing in the fourth play-off spot still mathematically alive.

17. Livingston were finally crowned Third Division Champions after getting the point required to seal promotion at Almondvale, but the nervous Lions were pushed hard all the way by battling Berwick and needed a last-minute penalty save from Roddy McKenzie to stutter over the line. The home side had the first clear-cut chance after 10 minutes, with De Vita forcing an acrobatic save from Peat with a 25-yard volley. Livingston were caught napping on the half-hour mark and Rangers were quick to take advantage. Gray played Currie clean through on goal, but McKenzie produced a stunning fingertip save to keep the score level. McNulty had a great chance to edge Livingston in front, but he headed Fox's free kick just wide of the upright. Just before the interval Berwick should have gone ahead when a fierce shot by Currie was parried by McKenzie before Jacobs' last-gasp tackle denied Russell from the rebound. The second half was a tense affair with the only highlight coming at the death. The referee pointed to the spot after McMullan's cross was handled by Watson and Rangers looked to ruin the title party. However, McKenzie earned hero status when he dived to his left and stopped Stuart Callaghan's penalty with his feet.

24. Albion Rovers boosted their chances of reaching the play-offs with a 2-1 victory at Shielfield Park but Berwick's' hopes are still alive despite the defeat. Sluggish Rangers never really got out of the traps before Boyle put Rovers ahead after only seven minutes, cashing in on a poor Callaghan clearance, with a thundering left-footed strike from 35 yards which found the target via the underside of the bar. McFarlane had an opportunity to further the lead, but his 20-yard effort flew over the bar. Berwick replied with McMullan testing Ewings with a good effort before causing panic in the Albion defence with a terrific cross that Greenhill just failed to reach. Russell sent a drive just over Ewings' bar before Albion extended their advantage on 33 minutes when Michael O'Byrne provided the finishing touch after Mark Peat could only parry a free kick from Ciarian Donnelly. Albion threatened to run away with it as McFarlane passed up another chance. However, Berwick rallied after the interval and reduced the deficit on 56 minutes when Gray fired in superb 30-yard volley. Rangers continued to apply pressure but at the other end only a point-blank save by Peat prevented McCusker restoring the two-goal cushion after substitute McLaughlin had jinxed his way past four defenders.

May

1. Damon Gray's solitary goal was enough for 10-man Berwick to sign off the season with a 1-0 win at Annan Athletic, but not enough to force their way into the play-off places. In an even first half Berwick's Greenhill and Annan's Sloan had efforts that were comfortable for respective keepers, whilst McMullan squandered a good chance to give Rangers the lead on the half-hour mark. However, a minute before the interval the deadlock was broken when the home defence was exposed by a Russell long ball from which Gray fired under the diving Jamison from 12 yards out. McMullan should have doubled the tally after the break, but he fired wide with the target in his sights. Berwick were reduced to ten men just before the hour mark after Shields picked up two yellow cards in quick succession for unsporting behaviour. Despite their advantage Annan hardly threatened and could only force McCaldon to tip the ball over after Nathan Muir had tried his luck from fully 30 yards.

Boss Jimmy Crease admitted it was a case of "so close yet so far" after his side were pipped at the post in the race for the play-offs. As it happens even if we had won by a four or five goals margin it would not have made any difference because Queens Park and Albion Rovers both picked up draws" commented Crease. And he added "Naturally it is a bit disappointing to be only one point out of the frame, but overall, we have done well this season."