2021/22 Eighth but Sixth

Results

Date C V Opposition Res Pos Att i
Jul 17 LL H Caledonian Braves W 1-0 6 407
24 LL H Gretna 2008 D 1-1 7 284
27 LL H East Stirlingshire W 2-1 5 335
31 LL A Gala Fairydean Rovers L 1-2 9 236
Aug 4 LL A Celtic B L 0-2 10 590
7 LL H Dalbeattie Star W 1-0 7 335
14 LL A University of Stirling W 3-1 7 120
18 LL A Broomhill W 2-1 6 88
21 LL H East Kilbride L 2-3 7 408
28 LL H Cumbernauld Colts W 5-1 4 331
31 LL H Bo'ness United L 0-1 6 361
Sep 4 LL A Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic L 0-3 7 714
11 EQC 2 A West Calder United W 3-2 160
20 SC 1 H Gretna 2008 W 2-1 625
25 LL A The Spartans L 1-2 8 219
Oct 2 LL H Rangers B L 1-6 11 555
5 LL A Edinburgh University W 4-1 8 147
9 LL H Vale of Leithen W 11-0 7 382
16 SRC 2 H Broxburn Athletic L 1-1 312
23 SC 2 H Stirling Albion L 1-2 519
30 LL A Rangers B L 0-1 9 510
Nov 6 LL H Celtic B L 0-2 10 459
9 LL H Edinburgh University W 3-0 9 256
13 LL A Civil Service Strollers L 0-2 10 130
Dec 4 LL A Gretna 2008 W 3-0 8 125
11 LL H Broomhill W 3-0 8 306
26 LL H Gala Fairydean Rovers W 4-2 7 331
Date C V Opposition Res Pos Att i
Jan 15 LL H Civil Service Strollers W 3-1 7 332
22 EQC 3 A Hill of Beath Hawthorn L 2-4 186
29 LL A Caledonian Braves L 1-3 7 103
Feb 5 LL A Vale of Leithen W 9-0 7 151
12 LL A Broxburn United W 4-1 7 240
19 LL H University of Stirling W 5-0 7 358
26 LL A Cumbernauld Colts L 0-1 7 137
Mar 5 LL A Dalbeattie Star W 2-1 7 131
12 LL H Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic L 1-4 7 621
19 LLC 1SE A Vale of Leithen W 1-0 145
26 LLC 1SE H Gala Fairydean Rovers W 1-0 352
Apr 5 LL A East Kilbride D 1-1 6 96
9 LL H The Spartans D 0-0 6 456
16 LL A East Stirlingshire L 1-2 8 188
23 LLC QF A East Kilbride L 0-4
Scottish Lowland Football League
Home Away
    Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic 34 14 2 1 51 16 14 1 2 41 12 64 87
2 Rangers B 34 13 0 4 66 23 11 1 5 39 19 63 73
3 Celtic B 34 11 2 4 33 13 12 2 3 49 17 52 73
4 East Kilbride 34 9 3 5 26 18 13 2 2 66 22 52 71
5 The Spartans 34 10 2 6 37 22 10 4 2 32 23 24 66
6 East Stirlingshire 34 6 4 6 23 18 9 7 2 38 18 25 56
7 Civil Service Strollers 34 9 3 5 36 21 8 2 7 30 32 13 56
8 Berwick Rangers 34 10 2 5 43 22 7 1 9 32 24 29 54
9 Caledonian Braves 34 6 6 5 30 25 9 2 6 37 23 19 53
10 University of Stirling 34 6 2 9 30 29 7 4 6 36 39 -2 45
11 Bo'ness United 34 5 3 9 25 34 8 3 6 29 26 -6 45
12 Dalbeattie Star 34 8 0 9 30 29 6 1 10 23 36 -12 43
13 Gala Fairydean Rovers 34 5 0 12 23 38 6 4 7 31 28 -12 37
14 Cumbernauld Colts 34 5 3 9 29 37 5 2 10 24 36 -20 35
15 Broomhill 34 4 3 10 21 31 6 1 10 21 35 -24 34
16 Edinburgh University 34 3 5 9 27 47 5 2 10 27 45 -38 31
17 Gretna 2008 34 1 3 13 18 56 1 2 14 18 51 -71 11
18 Vale of Leithen 34 0 0 17 6 98 1 2 14 4 68 -156 5
 
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic promoted to the SPFL2 as play-off winners. Vale of Leithen relegated to the East of Scotland League Premier Division with Tranent promoted as Lowland League Play-off winners.

Competition Results

Appearances & Goals

Manager: Stuart Malcolm
 
LL LLC SRC EQC SC
  A S G   A S G   A S G   A S G   A S G
Ally Adams 5
Lewis Allan 26 3 13 3 1
Lewis Baker 17 11 10 3 2 3 1
Conrad Balatoni 5
Lewis Barr 19 3 4 2 1 2 1
Jack Cook 16 1 1 1 1 1 1
Aidan Denholm 16 2 3 1 1 1 1
Cammy Dow 6 2 1 1
David Ferguson 31 1 2 1 1 2 2
Ryan Finnie 9 1 1 1 1
Alex Harris 26 1 3 3 1 2
Ciaran Heeps 15 3 2 1 1 1
Scott-Taylor Mackenzie 12 2 5 1 1
Kieran McGrath 8 9 2 3 1 1 2 1 2
Andy McNeil 22 2 1 2 2
Grant Nelson 22 5 3 3 1 1 2
Dan Purves 1
Jamie Pyper 29 1 2 3 1 1 2
Tam Scobbie 13 2 1 1 1 1
Jordon Sinclair 12 3 1 1 2
Calum Smith 8 9 1 1 1
Chris Smith 1
Graeme Smith 1
Kieran Somerville 1 1
Sean Stewart 18 5 11 1 2 1 2 1 1
Ben Swinton 6
Graham Taylor 33 13 1 1 1 2 2
Michael Travis 3 2
John Ward 7 4 1 1
Luke Williamson 4 1 2 1
Number of players used: 30

It goes without saying that the 2020/21 campaign had been one of the most unusual in the club's history. Confirmation of a planned start date for the 2021/22 Lowland League campaign was announced with Saturday 17th July pencilled in as the return of on-field competitive action. The inclusion of the Rangers and Celtic B teams as guests for one season only was controversial subject amongst clubs and supporters, but with neither team able to be promoted all was still to be played for.

On May 28th Berwick Rangers Football Club confirmed that it has parted company with manager Ian Little and his backroom staff. The club stated: Whilst always a difficult decision to change the club's manager, there are several factors which the board have reviewed before arriving at this conclusion. Amongst these includes the club's results throughout the past year and the overall progression of playing squad in the Lowland League since we were relegated. While these considerations always play a key part of any such decision at a football club, the Board of Directors would like to also stress that another key aspect in making this decision has been in enabling proactive change from a position of strength – as opposed to being forced into reactive change in a position of uncertainty, as is most often the case. In that regard, the club already has sixteen players signed up for the new campaign, while a budget remains for a new management team to put their own stamp on the squad with the addition of quality signings to further strengthen the side. A new manager will also benefit from a selection of the squad being tied down to two-year deals, providing a stable core to continue to progress with. The Board of Directors would like to place on record its thanks to Ian for his work over the past couple of years, which has included responding to relegation from the league by helping stabilise the club in a new environment and continuing this throughout the pandemic. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours and he will continue to be welcome at Shielfield Park. The process to find a new manager is already underway and no applications for the role will be accepted.

Two days later, the club confirm the appointment of Stuart Malcolm as first-team manager. Malcolm had most recently been with Forfar Athletic, but also had experience of successfully managing in the Lowland League having led East Kilbride to a title back in 2019. A defender during his playing days, Stuart enjoyed an esteemed career on the park which included spells at Ross County, Drogheda United, Dublin City, Alloa Athletic, Shelbourne, Finn Harps, Arbroath and Stenhousemuir amongst others. His tenure at Forfar represented a fourth spell at Station Park, having already been with the club as a player during three different spells and establishing himself as a fans favourite. Club chairman, Brian Porteous said: "Myself and the Board of Directors are delighted to welcome Stuart to the club. "When conducting the search for a new manager, we knew the importance of finding someone who could make the most of the support that we offer them as a board; a leader that would match the club's ambitions. "We were looking for someone well-respected in the game, and someone who can get the best out of the playing squad with plenty of contacts in the game to help further strengthen the playing squad, push us towards better performances and achieve progression on the park. "We were extremely impressed with Stuart's thoughts and ideas when speaking to him, and we're confident that he fits this bill. We believe he'll fit in brilliantly at Shielfield Park and are proud to have him lead the club."

New manager Stuart Malcolm.

Malcolm said: "I'm absolutely delighted for the opportunity to build, progress and evolve the club and cannot wait to get started. "Berwick should be and need to be fighting higher up the league table, which I have been brought in to do with my experiences of this league. "I'm looking forward to the league starting and getting time to work with the players through pre-season to implement my style of play." Malcolm was quick to appoint Dean Shanks as his assistant.

June

Goalkeeper Dougie Horne decided to call it a day on his playing career, hanging up his boots prior to the start of the new campaign. The imposing goalkeeper had agreed terms on one-year extension towards the back end of last season, but due to a mixture of work commitments and a desire to spend more time with his young family, has decided to call it a day. Andy McNeil, who ended last season out on loan with League One side Airdrieonians, returned to take Horne's place between the posts.

Ex-Cowdenbeath central defender Jamie Pyper became manager Stuart Malcolm's first signing for the club on a two-year deal. Defender Ryan Finnie put pen to paper on a new two-year deal after his loan spell at Cowdenbeath came to an end and Calum Smith did likewise with a one-year deal on his return from Arbroath. Malcolm strengthened his squad further with the signing of Jamie Pyper from Cowdenbeath along with former Hibernian winger Alex Harris, who has joined on a two-year deal – with the option of a third, and ex-Cowdenbeath midfielder Graham Taylor on a one-year deal – with the option of a second. The club added goalkeeper Ben Swinton to the squad after the young goalkeeper put pen to paper on a one-year deal after Dougie Horne announced his retirement.

July

Manager Stuart Malcolm completes backroom team, ahead of the new Lowland League season getting underway on July 17th, with Dean Shanks becoming Assistant Manager; Jonathan Craig – Goalkeeping Coach; Rhanna Misselbrook – Physiotherapist; Scott Mackenzie – Kit Assistant; Dan Crowe – Performance Analyst; Jonny Murray – Strength & Conditioning Coach, and Graciano Oliveira – Sport Scientist.

Berwick's pre-season started an impressive 1-1 draw in a behind closed doors friendly at Forthbank against Stirling Albion. Heart of Midlothian were to have visited Shielfield Park on Friday 25th June, but the match was cancelled at the last minute following several positive Covid-19 tests at the Edinburgh club's training base. Rangers took on East Fife at Methil to fill the void and won 2-0 behind closed doors. A mid-week friendly saw Rangers beat a Dundee United XI 3-1 and the following Saturday Rangers beat Northern League Division 1 side North Shields by the same score. Berwick rounded off their pre-season friendlies on July 10th when they played hosts to Cumbrian outfit Workington AFC of the Northern Premier League West Division, winning the match 2-0.

17. Rangers opened their Lowland League campaign against Caledonian Braves at a sun-drenched Shielfield Park with a deserved 1-0 win. With the temperature reaching 27 degrees Celsius, it was hard going for both teams. The visitors had most of the possession in the opening stages of the match, but no real chances were created by either side. Rangers were first to go close on 15 minutes when a corner ricocheted into the path of Pyper, who smashed the ball over the crossbar from six yards out. Three minutes later there was a huge let-off for the visitors. A long forward ball from Ward caused a defensive mix-up between keeper Henry and Walker; Smith successfully challenged the keeper on the edge of the box and the ball fell to Allan, who looked to have the easiest of chances with Henry out of position and the goal gaping, but he failed to get any real power behind his shot and McDowall prevented the ball crossing the line. Rangers kept up the pressure and the breakthrough came on 20 minutes when Taylor's corner to the back post found Mackenzie, whose downward header took a bounce before squeezing into the net between the keeper and the near post. The referee then stopped the game to allow the players a short drink break due to the heat. On resuming, good work from Ward and Harris on the left gave Smith a scoring chance on the edge of the area, but he shot straight at the keeper. After a Berwick mix-up in the middle of the park the visitors played the ball to the back post but thankfully Mackenzie was on hand to head the dangerous cross away for a corner. Just before half time, a brief switch-off by Berwick saw the Braves get in behind the defence but thankfully the offside flag was raised by the linesman. In the opening minute of the second half, the Braves were reduced to ten men when Main put a straight leg into Mackenzie and the referee was quick to brandish the red card. A few minutes later, Smith was hacked down from behind en route for goal, but Mackenzie curled the resultant 30-yard free kick well over the bar. On the hour mark, Allan's cross from the left found Smith on the edge of the box, who did brilliantly to bring it down and shimmy past a defender, but his left-footed shot rebounded off the post with the keeper well beaten. Although the Braves had plenty of possession, they rarely threatened McNeil in the Berwick goal. Late on, McKenzie went close with a shot from the left wing which just missed the far post with Smith in close attendance.

The club confirmed the addition of 26-year-old striker Lewis Baker, who joined after a successful trial with the club which also saw him feature from the bench in the opening day victory over Caledonian Braves.

24. Berwick Rangers had to settle for a share of the points with Gretna after being denied what would have been a deserved victory by the woodwork on three separate occasions. Berwick struggled to create chances from open play in the first half, with the visitors comfortable playing on the counter. However, in the second half it was one-way traffic with Rangers the dominant force and Gretna seldom in the picture. Rangers forced a couple of early corners in quick succession, the second of which was flicked on by Pyper to Mackenzie at the back post who slams off the upright only for the referee to blow up for an infringement. Gretna began to press and Kemoe burst down the left flank, but pressured by Finnie and Pyper, his effort cutting in from the edge of the box was tame and McNeil collected comfortably. A few minutes later, Kemoe threatened again, peeling off to the left once more and playing a quick one-two before firing across a ball into the six-yard box. However, there were no takers and Berwick cleared. Berwick played some neat football to switch play to Finnie, but his cross is poor and he's suddenly left chasing Kernoe, who sprints away on a counter down the left once more before cutting in and curling an effort just wide of McNeil's far post. Another warning for Berwick. Another Gretna counterattack produced another Gretna chance, this time Duffy cut in from the right and bent a shot into the clutches of McNeil. Rangers hit back when Ward burst down the left and fired a tasty ball across the box. It evades the inrushing Taylor who collects, turns back into the box and smashes the ball just over. Berwick continued to press, and Smith flicked a header on in the box and appeals for a penalty were waved aside by the referee as the ball bounced awkwardly and looked to hit Harvey's arm. Rangers took the lead on 32 minutes when Harris won a corner down the left; it was taken short, swung in and headed home emphatically by Cook. However, no sooner were Berwick in front they were back level when the ever-dangerous Kemoe equalised from inside the box following a neat cross from the left. The Shielfield crowd were then treated to some theatrics that would be more suited to The Maltings as a Gretna trialist takes a tumble inside the box and the referee booked him for the performance. Just before the interval, Kemoe stole the ball deep in the Berwick half and lined up a powerful effort, but he did not connect well, and McNeil saved easily. Early in the second half, Mackenzie curled an aerial ball forward, but Allan could not get it under control when 12 yards out. Another great chance came Berwick's way when Allan got the better of his man coming in off the right flank and laid it back for Smith, but the keeper tipped it round the post with his feet. Another big chance followed when Allan broke in behind the defence and found himself one-on-one with the keeper - he beats the keeper, but his left-footed shot strikes the base of the post and goes clear. Two minutes later Rangers struck the woodwork again. A long throw from Finnie found Allan, who held it up well and teed up Smith, who struck a fierce shot off the crossbar. Another massive chance came Berwick's way when Ward prodded the ball forward for Harris, who cut it back for Taylor, who was denied by a brilliant save from the keeper. On 75 minutes, Mackenzie attempted to deceive the keeper with a free kick, but Connelly got back just in time to claw the ball off the line. A Finnie cross was then controlled brilliant by Harris, and he turned and fired just over from 15 yards. A brief spell of pressure for the visitors saw Ward make a good defensive intervention before Kemoe turned inside and blasted just over. McNeil then failed to gather a superb in--swinging cross, but luckily the follow-up is struck over. With time fast running out, Mackenzie chested the ball down when 15 yards out and appeared to be tripped by a visiting defender, but the referee waved away extensive protests from players and supporters alike. Despite a hatful of second half chances, Rangers could not find the breakthrough and the match finished level.

Jamie Pyper in defensive action v Gretna 2008 24 Jul 2021

28. Berwick Rangers took all three points in a classic midweek encounter with East Stirlingshire at Shielfield Park. Graham Taylor's fine strike separated the sides at the interval, but Shire levelled the score through Fulton with seven minutes to go, however, substitute Lewis Baker put Rangers back in front just sixty seconds later. Rangers made three changes to the team with Swinton replacing McNeil, Ferguson for Finnie and Nelson for Allan. Shire started on the front foot and force a corner after just 15 seconds, which was cleared by the head of Smith. Rangers replied when a low ball in from the right found Harris on the edge of the box; he controlled the ball well and fired a powerful shot narrowly over the bar. Nelson then played a super dinked ball into Smith, but the ball gets trapped under his feet and he can't get the shot away. At the other end, Henderson whipped a fine ball in that is met with a head and Swinton did well to tip the ball over. A superb one-two between Mackenzie and Smith saw the former gather the ball 20 yards out, but his shot went just over. Rangers took the lead on 33 minutes with a brilliantly worked goal. Taylor picked the ball up in his own half and played another superb one-two with Smith before squaring it across the box to Harris 20 yards out; Harris played in Smith, who clips a ball over to Taylor and he smashed it past the keeper. Seven minutes before the interval, Taylor almost made it two when he hit the woodwork with a fierce low drive from 20 yards, which hits the base of the post, the back of the keeper then out for a corner. Rangers started the second half on the attack and a Mackenzie free kick forced a corner. Mackenzie took the kick, but the keeper punched clear. Three minutes later, Shire won a free kick 30 yards out, but it was curled well over the bar. The three involved in the goal combine well again on the hour when Taylor played a neat ball through to Smith, who tees up Harris on the edge of the area, but he shot over. Another big chance followed when a sustained Berwick attack, triggered by a Nelson breakaway. The chance saw Taylor pull back for Smith, who swivelled and clipped a left-footed shot inches over the bar. Mackenzie then played in Harris down the left. Harris got to the by-line before cutting the ball back for Baker who swept a shot goalward, which the keeper parried before gathering. Shire then made calls for a penalty following a challenge from Pyper, but the referee waved the appeals away and, shortly after, a well-worked move is well cut out by Ferguson. Shire began to press in the last ten minutes and forced numerous corners. At a third successive corner, Barr headed against his own bar and, thankfully for the Berwick defence, the referee gave a goal kick. On 83 minutes the pressure finally told, and Shire equalised when Fulton found space from another corner and his downward header found the net. However, just sixty seconds later Rangers went straight up the other end and Mackenzie played in Baker, who controlled well and drilled in a low shot past the keeper. Shire continued to attack relentlessly, forcing several more corners and deep into stoppage time the visitors appealed for another penalty, but the referee judged that the striker went down to easily from Ward's challenge and Rangers held on to their slender lead.

Lewis Baker scores a late winner v East Stirlingshire 28 July 2021

31. Scott-Taylor Mackenzie's superbly taken free kick was not enough as Gala Fairydean Rovers deservedly took all three points with a 2-1 win after a gritty defensive performance at Netherdale. Although the opening stages were even, Gala started on the attack and won a series of unproductive corners. Rangers replied with Ferguson working his way into a good position down the right, but his cross evaded everyone and went behind for a goal kick. At the other end, a drive from thirty yards flew inches past Swinton's right-hand post. Rangers began to gain the upper hand, winning a couple of corners. Taylor then broke forward and cut inside, but his left-footed effort was gathered by the keeper. Another chance fell Rangers' way when Nelson worked some space for himself and tried to chip a shot into the far corner, but his effort bounced off the top of the net. A neat move from Berwick saw Baker break away; he played Nelson through, who found Ferguson on the right-hand side of the box, but his shot was blocked and cleared. Rangers were forced to make an early change when Barr replaced Sinclair, who had been injured on the end of a heavy tackle, on 32 minutes. Gala broke downfield, but Swinton was alert and gathered the shot easily. At the other end, Baker has an effort blocked after good work from Harris. Gala had the ball in the back of the net, but the linesman's flag was up. However, two minutes from the break, Rangers conceded from a set piece on the right-hand side when Aitchison headed home from six yards. Gala started the second half on top, but Rangers always looked dangerous on the break. A short corner between Mackenzie and Nelson on 53 minutes ended with Barr being hacked down on the edge of the box. Mackenzie dispatched the resulting free kick and brought Berwick level with a superb strike into the top right-hand corner. However, just 4 minutes later, a misunderstanding between Swinton and Cook gave Chalmers space in front of goal to head home a cross from the left and put Gala back in front. Rangers forced Gala on the back foot with a series of corners, which came to nothing. Berwick made a double substitution with Smith and Allan replacing Nelson and Baker as they upped the pace. Mackenzie shot at goal from range, but the keeper gathered easily. Allan lashed a volley just wide of the keeper's left-hand post before the keeper pulled off a great save from Smith when he tipped the ball over the crossbar. With time fast running out, Taylor whipped in a corner; it was met by Cook, but the keeper took just enough off it, and it was scrambled off the line.

David Ferguson in action at Netherdale versus Gala Fairydean Rovers 31 Jul 2021

August

Ins and outs. Manager Stuart Malcolm completed the signing of defender Tam Scobbie on a short-term deal until the end of 2021. Scobbie brought a wealth of experience, having spent close to a decade in the Scottish Premier League with both Falkirk and St Johnstone before playing for Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Brechin City and recently with Kelty Hearts. Forward Dan Purves joined Dunbar United FC on loan until the end of 2021.

4. Berwick Rangers suffered a second defeat following a difficult game against Celtic B in which two first half goals were enough to win it for the home side at Airdrie. Berwick had chances but could not find the final touch, but after being out passed in the first half they held their own in the second. Celtic quickly piled on the pressure and the first chance came after just two minutes when Moffat cut inside from the left and fired off a right-footed shot from distance that flew a yard over the crossbar. Brooks passed up a wonderful opportunity in the eighth minute when he ran onto a through ball on the edge of the box which he sliced just wide of the post as the Celtic front carved openings in the Berwick defence with slick passing and well-timed runs. Vata and Brooks almost broke the deadlock 15 minutes in with a well-worked one-two, but Brooks was unable to connect properly with his shot across goal and McNeil was able to get down to make a comfortable save. Celtic took the lead on 18 minutes when Moffat chipped a perfectly weighted pass over the Rangers defence which Vata ran on to and smashed into the top corner with a half-volley. Celtic had to sustain a brief period of pressure midway through the first half when Rangers nearly snatched an equaliser with a deflected shot that rolled just wide of the post. Hjelde made an important block shortly afterwards to deny Harris a goal. However, Celtic soon had Berwick pinned inside their own half as they worked to increase their lead before half-time. Vata almost doubled the lead when he forced a good save McNeil with a flick-on at the near post from Carse's cutback. Moffat created space for himself around the edge of the penalty area, but his drilled shot was deflected into the arms of McNeil. However, the second goal came on 36 minutes when Brooks capitalised on a loose ball in the box and sent McNeil the wrong way with a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner. Berwick started the second better than they had the first as they searched for a route back into the game, but they could not penetrate the Celtic backline. Luyeye made a well-timed block to stop a Smith shot from the edge of the area. Vata created a chance from himself in the 53rd minute when he cut in from the right before shooting from the edge of the six-yard box, but he was quickly surrounded by three Berwick defenders, who blocked his effort. Lawal's header from the resulting corner wasn't far off from going in as it skimmed the roof of the net. The Berwick defence were more organised and did well to prevent Celtic from upping their tally as both sides fought to assert control of the game.

7. Berwick Rangers got back to winning ways with a deserved 1-0 victory over Dalbeattie Star, who were sitting top of the table with five straight wins, at Shielfield Park. Rangers showed only one change from the side with Nelson replacing Ward, who had taken a heavy knock against Celtic B in midweek. The visitors started brightly, looking to get in behind the Berwick defence, but Rangers had the first scoring chance when Nelson dug out a cross and Smith headed just over. A few minutes later, a long throw from Nelson found Smith, but he headed straight at the keeper. A big chance fell Dalbeattie's way when a free kick was whipped in from the right but Brotherston, with a free header, glanced wide of the post. McNeil did well to anticipate a through ball, but his low clearance went straight to Dunn, who tried his luck from the halfway line but was way off target. Rangers took the lead on 35 minutes when a Star clearance deflected into the path of Allan. His initial tame effort was stopped by Martin's legs but fortunately it rebound back to him, and he rounded the keeper before slotted in. Cook was booked for a late challenge just outside the box and from the free kick Todd headed the ball off the outside of the post. The game then saw some hefty challenges from the visitors with Barr taken out on the edge of the box and Mackenzie fizzed the resultant free kick just past the post. Just before the interval, Mackenzie appeared to be kicked while on the deck following a long throw in, but the officials did not seem to see the incident in question. A skirmish followed and the referee brandishes yellow cards to both sides. Rangers began the second half on the attack. Allan played a cross into the path of Taylor, who struck just wide from 20 yards. A few minutes later, an aerial ball is brilliantly flicked on by Smith into the path of Allan, who found himself in a one-on-one with Martin, but he scuffed his effort wide of the post. Good pace from Allan saw him get behind the defence and to the by-line. Allan crossed for Taylor, but he was off balance and headed wide of goal. More good link-up work between Allan and Taylor saw the latter place a shot into the arms of the keeper. A high ball was nodded down by Allan to Harris, who strode forward before shooting from 20 yards, but he could not quite get hold of it, and he dragged it wide. A brilliant through ball from Harris to Taylor saw the winger get his toe to the ball but the keeper does superbly to get out and get a toe to it. With time fast running out, Nelson was dispossessed on the halfway line and Currie ran forward before taking a shot from 30 yards, but it skewed wide, and Rangers held on comfortably to take all three points.

14. A second half brace from Graham Taylor at University of Stirling helped Berwick Rangers to their first away win of the season. Rangers made one change to the team with Finnie replacing Nelson at right back. It was a game of two halves with Stirling bossing the first and Berwick the second. Barr had the ball in the back of the net on three minutes after a slick move but was correctly flagged for offside. Good play from Ferguson and Allan down the left gave Smith an opportunity, but his shot was just wide of the post. Stirling began to press, and the ball fell kindly for Stokes in the penalty area, but he skewed his shot over the crossbar under pressure from Pyper. Mackenzie was then dispossessed, and McGill was played in, but luckily his shot was weak and gathered easily by McNeil. Rangers replied. Allan got in behind the home defence and cut back for Harris, but his shot is deflected narrowly wide of the post for a corner from which Harris sliced over. However, the Students took the lead on the half-hour when Mackenzie lost the ball in midfield; it was played out to Kennedy who reached the by-line on the right and his low cross was slotted home from close range by Stokes. Taylor had ball in the net for Berwick shortly after, but again it was correctly ruled out for offside. A few minutes later, a good move saw Ferguson play in Allan, who fed Taylor, but his shot was well saved by the keeper. With pressure mounting on the home goal, Mackenzie levelled the score on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot after Ferguson had been brought down in the area following a neat move involving Taylor. Two minutes into the second half, a long throw from Finnie was nodded down into the path of Barr, but his left footed volley went just past the post. Mackenzie then whipped in a free kick from the left and Smith connected but directed his header narrowly wide. Rangers began to make changers with Baker replacing Smith and shortly after Nelson replaced Mackenzie. As Berwick upped the tempo, a great chance fell for Harris, but his effort from 15 yards was clawed away for a corner. Berwick's third substitution on 75 minutes was a masterstroke. Stewart made his first start for the club when he replaced Allan and, within three minutes, he played a beautiful, flicked ball through to Taylor, who finished the move well with a well-struck shot into the far corner of the net. With four minutes remaining, the home side lost the ball in their half; Stewart collected the ball and played it into the path of Nelson, who instead of opting to shoot, he passed for Taylor to make it 3-1 with his second of the match.

18. Berwick Rangers made it back-to-back wins on the road with a 2-1 victory against Broomhill at Alloa thanks to a late goal from Graham Taylor. It was a case of Déjà Vu with another goal on the stroke of half-time, this time from Barr, putting Berwick on level terms at the interval. Prior to the match, Rangers confirmed the addition of Kieran McGrath on loan from Clyde, who was named as a substitute. Two team changes saw Nelson replace Finnie and Baker in for Smith. Rangers created the first opening of the game after good passing move saw Mackenzie blaze over from 25 yards. Good chance for the home side followed when a corner was swung into the near post, but the header was wide of the target. Allan did well to rob a home defender of possession before crossing to Harris at the far post, who volleyed narrowly wide. A superb through pass from Harris then found Taylor, who chested down well but sliced the ball just over. Rangers kept up the pressure and Barr's cross was deflected to the back post where Baker connected well but was denied by a brilliantly save at point blank range by the keeper. Broomhill then took the lead against the run of play after Baker handled in the box and Sinnamon scored with the resultant spot kick on 21 minutes. A quick response from Berwick saw Allan and Baker combine well to release Harris, who plays in the overlapping Ferguson, but he fired over. Play then became scrappy until the stroke of half time when Barr picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the box before cutting inside and placing a superb shot into the top corner. New signing Kieran McGrath replaced Baker at the start of the second half. A strike from the edge of the area from the home side was well blocked by the head of Cook. McGrath then got in behind the home defence, but he dragged his shot wide from an acute angle. On the hour mark, Mackenzie struck a brilliant free kick from the side of the 18-yard box after a foul, but it was tipped over by the keeper. McGrath stretched to head across for Allan, who flicked goalward but was denied by another great fingertip save by the keeper. The hosts went close when a header from a corner was directed goalward but eventually hooked clear by Mackenzie. Rangers upped the pace in the final ten. Barr collected the ball 20 yards out before turning on the spot and curling a shot just past the post. The pressure finally told when a cross was brought down brilliantly by McGrath and prodded into the path of Taylor, who places his effort into the corner of the net to give Rangers full points.

21. Berwick Rangers put East Kilbride under immense late pressure while down to ten men but still fell to defeat for the first time at home this season in a thrilling match at Shielfield Park by the odd goal in five. Rangers had an early chance when Barr sent in a low cross, but Allan could only find the side netting. However, East Kilbride took the lead on nine minutes when Erskine skipped his way past Cook and got to the by-line before squaring for Vitoria to slot the ball home from two yards. Erskine then played a neat ball through for McManus, but Ferguson got across from the left to make a great last-ditch challenge. Rangers replied with Nelson putting in a great cross for McGrath, but he headed just wide. There was another let-off for Berwick when Erskine again got to the by-line, but his low cross was cleared just past the post by Pyper. The visitors then piled on the pressure with a series of corners which McNeil, Pyper and Ferguson did well to deal with. Rangers levelled the score on 26 minutes when Allan capped off a brilliant move. Harris played the ball out wide to Nelson, who drove forward and played back into Harris. Harris then played it back out wide to Taylor, who fizzes it across goal and Allan took a touch before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner. Stevenson spotted McNeil off his line following a deep free kick and the keeper had to back-pedal to tip the ball over the crossbar. East Kilbride got back in front a minute before the break when Cook's back-pass to McNeil was short, and Malcolm took advantage when he latched onto ball and finished past the keeper after a one-on-one. Short corner at the start of the second half was played into Taylor, who crossed to Cook, but his glancing header was straight at the keeper. The visitors extended their lead on 55 minutes when a long ball was brought down and laid into the path of substitute Finlay, who curled a superb shot into the top corner from 25 yards. Under little pressure, East Kilbride keeper Brennan slid out of his box while trying to gather the ball and appeared to handle, but no decision was made. The visitors almost added a fourth when the ball was passed out to the left flank and McManus curled a right-footed shot just past the far post. On the hour mark, Stewart replaced goalscorer Lewis Allan and Berwick began to press. A drilled pass from McGrath found the onrushing Barr, but his shot was well saved by the keeper. A double substitution saw Smith and Baker replace McGrath and Harris after which a fantastic 25-yard free-kick from Mackenzie struck the post and Barr misjudged the follow-up and directed his effort over the bar. Another great chance fell for Berwick when Smith dug out a left-footed cross, but Stewart put his diving header wide. With seven minutes remaining, Stewart was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a mistimed tackle. Two minutes later, Mackenzie pulled a goal back when he bent a truly stunning free kick into the top corner from 25 yards. With time fast running out, Baker crossed for Mackenzie who shoots, but the keeper blocks with legs. The last action saw a Smith cut-back fall to Taylor, but he fired his shot straight at the keeper as East Kilbride held on to take the points.

David Ferguson in action versus East Kilbride 21 Aug 2021

28. Berwick Rangers recorded their biggest home win in seven years with a deserved 5-1 victory over Cumbernauld Colts at Shielfield Park. After a first half of missed opportunities, they ran riot in the second. Rangers had an early chance when Barr prodded the ball through to McGrath, but he side-footed his shot just past the far post. Mackenzie then played in Taylor on the right flank, who whipped in a cross for McGrath, but he headed over. There was a dangerous moment for Berwick on the quarter-hour when Macpherson got to the by-line and squared across the face of goal but luckily there was no one there to apply the finish. The Colts went close when a 30-yard chipped effort from Slattery found the head of McNeill in the six-yard box, but under pressure from Taylor he headed just over. Rangers were creating plenty of chances without result. A teasing free kick from the right flank by Mackenzie was headed over for a corner. That was cleared but only as far as Mackenzie, whose 30-yard return was comfortable for the keeper. Great move by Taylor released Nelson, who made a driving run and crossed for Barr, but his first-time effort went well over. Allan then nodded down for Taylor, who cut the ball back for McGrath; his touch was deflected to Allan on the edge of the box, but he blazed over. Rangers took the lead from the penalty spot five minutes before the break when Barr, trying to get on the end of a lofted ball into the box, was brought down by McLaughlin, who got caught wrong side. Mackenzie stepped up and fired the spot kick into the bottom right-hand corner. First chance of the second half for Berwick fell to Ward, who tried to play in Mackenzie, but his pass was deflected goalward and blocked by the keeper's legs. A free kick on the hour for the visitors saw a low cross sent in from the right, but Ferguson made an excellent intervention under pressure. Rangers doubled their lead on 64 minutes when Allan chased a Mackenzie clearance down the flank behind McLaughlin, who was trying to shepherd the ball back to the keeper, however, under pressure the defender did not get enough on his back pass and Allan toed around Murdoch before tapping home into an empty net. A few minutes later, Taylor was dispossessed while on a breakaway. The Colts drove forward, and Winter put a terrific headed effort narrowly over the bar. Rangers replied when a breakaway up the middle saw the ball fed to McGrath, who flicked it forward for Taylor, closely guarded by two defenders, but he still managed to find enough space to shoot under the keeper to make it 3-0 on 69 minutes. Rangers were now in rampant form and following a brilliant tackle from substitute Finnie on the halfway line, he played a perfectly weighted through pass for Allan to run through and score his second of the afternoon with a low shot past the advancing keeper on 77 minutes. The Colts scored a consolation goal with five minutes remaining when a simple aerial ball saw Macpherson get in behind Ferguson and finished past Swinton with a low shot to the far post. Rangers made it five straight from kick-off, when Allan got to the by-line and squared for the unmarked Harris to side foot the ball past the keeper.

31. Berwick Rangers were beaten 1-0 by Bo'ness United at Shielfield Park in a hard-fought midweek match. It was a tough night for Berwick, who played half of the match with just ten men after Scott-Taylor Mackenzie was sent off just before half-time and lost to a late Bo'ness goal. Rangers made two changes to their team with new signing Tam Scobbie and Ryan Finnie replacing John Ward and Grant Nelson in defence. Berwick started brightest, and an early free kick saw Mackenzie fire into the wall. It rebounded out to Harris, he sent a deep cross to Barr, but he headed straight at the keeper. However, Bo'ness began to press. Swinton blocked well following a free kick which arrived low at the near post before Gemmell blazed over from the edge of the box. Swinton did well to scoop a low Miller shot away for a corner before McCormack curled a shot onto the roof of the net after winning a challenge with the keeper. Rangers replied when Taylor drove towards goal from the halfway line before putting a low shot narrowly wide of the post from 20 yards. The visitors then hemmed Berwick back in their own half. A cross from Galbraith was headed away by Pyper but only as far Stevenson, who controlled the ball well before shooting into the side netting. Galbraith volleyed over the bar and McCormick sent a powerful header just past the post. Galbraith tries his luck from 25 yards with a powerful strike, but Swinton parried the ball and did well to gather at the second attempt. A minute before the break, Rangers were reduced to ten men when Mackenzie was shown a straight red following a sliding challenge on Gemmell in the Bo'ness half. Rangers reshuffled the pack at the start of the second half with substitute Ward replaced McGrath; Ferguson switched from left back to right with Ward in on the left; Finnie moved into centre midfield alongside Barr, leaving Allan up front by himself. It was backs to the wall for Berwick with Pyper outstanding in defence as Bo'ness continued to press, but Rangers restricted the visitors to shooting mainly from range. Stevenson fired wide before a corner to the back post was headed straight at Swinton, who palmed it away and gathered the rebound off a defender. Swinton saved well to prevent a driving run and 25-yard shot by Galbraith from entering the net. However, Rangers failed to clear from a corner and McCormack squeezed a left-footed half volley under Swinton and over the line with seven minutes remaining. Berwick tried hard to level in the time remaining. Taylor fired a last-minute corner into the near post, but Baker headed just over.

September

Ins and outs. Highly rated winger Cammy Dow joined in a loan deal from SPFL League One side East Fife. Dow was previously in the youth system of Dundee United, before picking up some match experience with Carnoustie Panmure prior to his move to East Fife. Rangers brought in midfielder Aidan Denholm on a loan deal from Heart of Midlothian until January. Aidan was handed his first professional deal at the age of sixteen at Tynecastle Park having progressed through the youth system and made his first-team debut in July 2020 as a substitute in a Scottish League Cup fixture against Cove Rangers. Kieran Somerville departed the club having agreed terms with Tranent Juniors.

4. Berwick Rangers made their first visit to New Dundas Park to play Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the Lowland League under dreich and drizzly conditions. Rangers controlled the first half but could not score. Whilst the hosts controlled the second half and overall deserved to win; however, the 3-0 scoreline did not truly reflect the run of the game. Berwick knocked the ball about well at times until final third, but Bonnyrigg were too strong at the back. Berwick made three changes from the defeat against Bo'ness with McNeil in for Swinton, Sinclair in for the suspended Mackenzie, and new signing Cammy Dow in for the injured Taylor. Rangers started brightest and Sinclair struck a third minute free kick from 25 yards inches high of the crossbar. The home side replied when a back post header from a Currie corner was well saved by McNeil. Rangers kept up the pressure and brilliant work from McGrath saw him fire a teasing ball across the face of goal from the by-line, but there were no takers. A few minutes later Scobbie, came within a whisker scoring when his headed attempt flew over just the bar. A Brilliant one-two between Ferguson and Allan saw the former prod his effort agonisingly past the far post. It took fully 30 minutes for the hosts to control the game in any manner. Currie went close with a free kick, after Pyper fouled McGachie on the edge of the box, before he played a neat cross to Brett on the right, who in turn played the ball to the near post where a tussle between Gray and Scobbie saw Gray come out on top when he got the vital touch and the ball trickle over the line from two yards out. Berwick went in search of a quick response and Allan hit a powerful effort on goal, but Andrews got down well and pulled off a superb to deny him and the opening half ended with Rangers a goal in arrears despite their domination. The first half was a frenzied affair but the second did not hit those heights. An early strike from Martyniuk's was comfortably held by McNeil. However, Martynuik paved the way for Bonnyrigg's second when he made a strong run down to the by-line after intercepting a clearance from Scobbie and pulled back the perfect pass for Connolly to slot home on 57 minutes. Bonnyrigg began to control possession and showered the Berwick box with crosses. A turn and strike from Connolly went inches past the post before Currie delivered a free kick into the Berwick box, which was played back for the inrushing Young, who caught the ball on the volley to make it game over on 70 minutes. Rangers upped their game in the last ten minutes as the home side began to sit back. Harris saw his free kick palmed by Andrews but there was on one there to pick up the pieces and the ball was cleared. Barr then had Berwick's best chance of the half when Smith played him in, but Andrews did well to turn his shot away for a corner. Some neat play from Dow played Ferguson in, but his cross was deflected into the hands of Andrews and the home side kept their clean sheet.

11. A late goal from Lewis Barr against West Calder United saw Berwick Rangers progress to the third round of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup at Hermand Park in a physical match that was at times grim viewing. West Calder of the East of Scotland League Conference played more than half the game with ten men, but Berwick all the way. Rangers made a few changes to the side beaten by Bonnyrigg Rose the previous week with Somerville making his first start of the season, while Taylor and Nelson were straight back into the action following injury. The home took the lead on 22 minutes from a well-struck free kick taken by Miller. However, Rangers were back on level terms seven minutes later when an equally well-struck free kick by McGrath flew just under the crossbar and into the top right-hand corner. Rangers took the lead three minutes before the break when West Calder's Taylor was harshly sent off for what was deemed a last-man challenge on Baker, who sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot with a shot high to the left. A goal up and a man up at the break, Rangers pressed at the start of the second half, but the home side drew level against the run of play on 61 minutes when Shanks this time beat McNeil with another well-struck free kick. However, with ten minutes remaining a good finish by Barr put Berwick back into the lead, which they held until the final whistle.

Scott-Taylor Mackenzie in action versus Cumbernauld Colts 28 Aug 2021

20. In a Monday night match televised live by BBC Scotland and watched by 69,800 viewers, Berwick Rangers beat Gretna 2008 2-1 in the first round of the Scottish Cup at Shielfield Park. Berwick dominated in the early stages and had Gretna on the ropes with Connelly making a string of good saves. Gretna made more of a game of it in the second half, but Berwick manged the game out well to reach the second round. The game started at a blistering pace. Gretna were attacked from the kick-off and Finnie was called in to action to make an all-important defensive intervention to stop Cooper from scoring. The ball was cleared upfield from the resulting corner by Harris for McGrath to run in on goal, but he was thwarted by an excellent block by Connelly. The ball was cleared for a throw-in from which McGrath headed on for Harris to take a touch before spinning on the spot to put Berwick ahead inside two minutes with a low shot into the far corner of the net. Rangers kept up the pressure and following neat cross from the right by Taylor, McGrath sent in a powerful header, but Connolly saved comfortably. A few minutes later a superb crossfield ball from deep by Finnie found Ferguson, who at the second attempt shot straight at the keeper's legs. The visitors then began to get a foothold in the game. Hale was played in on goal and he fizzed a low ball across the box, which Scobbie defended well at the front post and on 26 minutes only a last-ditch tackle by Sinclair prevented Kemoe from scoring after a couple of neat one-twos had played him in on goal. Rangers replied two minutes later when Harris received the ball out wide after a great pass from Sinclair and cut inside his man before aiming for the far corner; the ball took a wicked deflection off Martins and hit the back of the net after totally wrong-footing Connelly. On 36 minutes Gretna pulled a goal back. Scobbie played the ball against Cooper out on the wing, and Cooper ran in on goal to score with a low, close range past McNeil, who managed to get a hand to the ball but could not prevent it from entering the net. Five minutes before the interval, Harris went close to a hat trick when Taylor headed a throw-in into his path, but Connelly pulled off an excellent save and turned it round the post. After a scrappy start to the second half, a great interception from Finnie freed Taylor and after a blistering run down the right he crossed to McGrath, who spun and unleashed a fierce strike that the keeper did well to palm clear. Gretna had a good chance to level when they won a free kick on the edge of the box, but Cameron struck his shot straight at the Berwick wall and the rebound was scrambled clear. A cross from Finnie on the hour found McGrath, whose shot was blocked; the ball then fell to Mackenzie, who placed an effort that the keeper did well to turn away for a corner. Two minutes later Mackenzie went close again. A long throw from Finnie was cleared into Mackenzie's path and he volleys into the ground but again the Connelly was equal to it, pushing it onto the post before gathering at the second attempt. Gretna had a good chance when a cross from the left was played in, but Cooper could not quite get on the end of it. Berwick managed the game out well in the last ten. Nelson robbed a defender and played in Harris, who got to the by-line before sending the ball across the face of the goal, but no one was there to apply the finish. Taylor then cut the ball back for Denholm, who fired just wide. Neat interplay saw Baker collect the ball and strike from 20 yards, but Connelly gathered easily before the keeper punched clear a Mackenzie corner in the last of the match action.

25. Rangers had the better of the first half against The Spartans at Ainslie Park but could not make the breakthrough before two goals in 12 second half minutes saw the home side pull clear. Substitute Baker pulled a goal back, but it was too little too late. Berwick fielded an unchanged side and were looking to get their third win in a row in all competitions. However, it was the Spartans who were quickest out of the blocks, with the lively Russell involved in two early moves within the opening two minutes. Rangers soon settled and carved out an opportunity of their own when Nelson almost got on the end of a left-wing cross. From this point on, Berwick were very much on top. Spartans had the best opportunity of the half when Sam Jones made some space for himself in the area but saw his side footed effort curl wide of McNeil's post. Rangers went close when McGrath dispossessed Waugh on halfway and ran in on goal, but his fierce parting effort whistled over the top of the crossbar. McGrath was involved again minutes later, when he latched on the end of a Ferguson cross, but Newman saved with his legs. The rebound fell to Taylor, who made some space and fired towards goal, but his effort also went over the top, as did McGrath's next effort a few minutes later. Finnie fired an excellent ball into the area which was cleared behind for a corner by the Spartans defence, just as McGrath was ready to pounce. From the resulting corner came one of Berwick's best opportunities of the half as Scobbie leapt to meet the cross but could only head wide from close range. Mackenzie attempted to catch the home keeper out at his near post with a freekick just outside the area, but there was not much pace on the ball and the keeper gathered easily. The second half started with Spartans front men playing a prominent role and five minutes into the half, two of them combined to devastating effect. Dishington picked the ball up in the wide area and fired a low cross into the six-yard box, which Blair Henderson met and slid home to open the scoring. Spartans were on top and whilst not creating much in terms of clear-cut opportunities, Berwick were struggling to deal with the excellent Russell who was at the core of every Spartans attacking move. He went close following a good turn on the edge of the box, but his effort went over the top. However, Russell hammered the ball past McNeil after breaking free in the area six minutes later. Rangers reshuffled the pack with three substitutions, but Spartans again went close with Russell firing another effort over the top. From the resulting goal kick, Berwick were loose in possession and gave it straight back to the opposition who worked in a cross from the right-hand side only for Scobbie to head against his own post and behind for a corner. Russell went close again, as Spartans remained on top approaching the last 15 minutes, seeing his effort deflected behind for a corner. Against the run of play, Berwick grabbed themselves a lifeline when Stewart ran at the Spartans back line before Baker took over the ball as Stewart approached the box and continued his run with the ball into the area before slotting past Newman to make it 2-1 with 11 minutes remaining. Rangers pushed extra men forward as Spartans dropped deeper looking to defend their lead but there was to be no addition to the scoring. McGrath had a late effort charged down after a lovely lay off from Mackenzie, and Baker had a shot from the edge of the area which was tame and gathered by Newman. Manager Stuart Malcolm lamented his side's lack of conviction in front of goal and individual defensive errors after the game and he cut a frustrated figure as the full-time whistle went.

October

2. Berwick Rangers were hit for six by Rangers B in a match played at lightening pace at Shielfield Park. The visitors were very aggressive with their possession and scored some terrific goals with six different names appearing on the scoresheet. The only difference in the first half was that Rangers B took their chances, whereas Berwick did not. The second half did not live up to the first, but overall, the 6-1 scoreline did not truly reflect the game. Berwick were without the services of Mackenzie who began serving the first of a five-match ban, with an additional two games suspended, following a disciplinary hearing in relation to his red card against Bo'ness United, along with Harris and Scobbie, who were both out through injury. Ward, Denholm and Stewart made the starting eleven, with Baker replacing Nelson up front. An early chance for the visitors saw Lindsay played in but Ferguson made a fantastic last-ditch challenge to clear the danger. Berwick replied with McGrath winning the ball and playing in Finnie on the right, who drove the ball across the goal for Baker to shoot, but Hogarth made a good reaction stop from point-blank range. Rangers B opened the scoring on 9 minutes when the ball was played to Fraser on the edge of the box, and he shimmied one way and then the other before placing a shot into the far corner. McGrath set Taylor free with a superb through ball but as he was about to shoot, the recovering defender did well to knock him off balance and he could not get the shot away. Baker went close following a corner kick by Sinclair, but his header went inches wide. Rangers B doubled their lead on 21 minutes when a corner was whipped in, and King glanced the ball into the far corner. A great response by Berwick saw Baker uses his strength to intercept the ball on the by-line and he played it across the goalmouth for Stewart to slot home underneath the keeper to reduce the deficit just a minute later. The visitors kept up the pressure and Lindsay unleashed a fierce 30-yard drive that went narrowly over the bar. On 29 minutes, Denholm went into the book for a cynical trip on Lowry, who picked himself up off the deck and curled a stunning free kick into the top corner to make it 3-1. Sinclair found Baker again from a corner, but his header is directed narrowly over the bar. At the other end, McCausland was played through one-on-one with McNeil, but the keeper stood firm and makes a fantastic stop. Rangers B made it 4-1 on 39 minutes when Berwick lost the ball while trying to clear and McCausland cut in from the right and curled a brilliant effort into the top corner. McGrath hit a powerful shot, but his effort was straight at Hogarth, who gathered at the second attempt. Just before the break, Lowry almost produces the goods again from a free kick, but this time his effort went just over the crossbar. Four minutes into the second half, Rangers B made it 5-1 when McClelland headed in a corner. Berwick then had a few chances to redress the balance. Some neat work by Taylor saw him play the ball across the goal, but somehow the inrushing Stewart turned the ball over from just a couple of yards out. Taylor did well to get a low cross into the box a few minutes later which McGrath touched into the path of Smith, and he fired into the side netting from an acute angle. McGrath got himself into a great position, but his shot from 20 yards was well saved by Hogarth. However, the visitors hit six on 74 minutes when a clipped ball over the top found Devine on the right, who played the ball in for Weston to slot past McNeil. A late rally by Berwick saw a superbly struck 25-yard free kick from Sinclair strike the inside of the post before rebounding out from behind the keeper, and McGrath squandered a massive chance when he was blocked by a last gasp tackle.

Andy McNeil in action at Shielfield Park.

5. Berwick Rangers bounced back from their heavy defeat against Rangers B with a 4-1 win against Edinburgh University at East Peffermill. Heavy storms during the afternoon had put the match in doubt, but the pitch past an inspection before kick-off and credit was due to the home side for providing such a perfect playing surface under the conditions. Cook returned at the heart of the Berwick defence and Allan likewise up front, there were also starts for Nelson and Dow. Rangers played some decent football but gave the Students a lifeline just on half time before turning the screw again for the second forty-five. An early chance fell Rangers' way when Dow broke upfield and played in Ferguson, who crossed for Taylor, but he headed into keeper's hands. At the other end, McNeil pulled off a terrific save, stretching out to the top corner, after a short corner was played to Lawson on the edge of the box on 14 minutes. Rangers replied when Stewart did well to shield a cross from the right before teeing up Nelson, whose placed effort hit the crossbar. Berwick deservedly took the lead on 25 minutes. After winning the ball in the middle of the park, Stewart played in Dow, who made a brilliant run through the middle and smashed the ball into the roof of the net from 15 yards. Two minutes later, Finnie dug out a fantastic cross from the right and Dow stretched but just failed to reach it. Allan made it 2-0 on 40 minutes when the Uni failed to clear from a corner and Pyper hooks the ball back in from the right-hand side of the box; Cook nodded it down to Allan, who backed into a defender before turning on the spot and hammering home from six yards out. However, Berwick let the home side back into the game a minute before half-time when Finnie gave the ball away from which Lawson curled the ball beautifully into the top corner. With their tails now up, the Students had another big chance when McNeil failed to gather an effort from the edge of the box; he got down well to block the follow-up before stopping another shot and finally gathering to keep Berwick in the lead at half time. Rangers continued to press from the start of the second half. Following move started by Taylor, Denholm and Stewart played a neat one-two down the right; Denholm controlled the return ball well but placed his shot narrowly wide. On the hour mark, Stewart was played through one-on-one. He composed himself but the keeper makes himself big and made a fine save by tipping the ball onto the crossbar. Three minutes later, Sinclair spotted the run of Nelson and played a sublime reverse pass through the lines, which Nelson slotted home first time. Nelson was unlucky not to add to his tally when Smith curled a stunning cross to the back post, and he busts a gut to reach it but could not quite divert it home. In the latter stages, Rangers began to allow Uni back into the game a little, but thankfully the hosts were restricted to a couple of wayward efforts from distance. However, Rangers made sure of the points on 81 minutes when Smith collected the ball on the edge of the box and unselfishly crossed for Nelson to shoot left footed past the keeper.

Aidan Denholm gets in a shot versus Rangers B 2 Oct 2021

9. Berwick Rangers equalled their third highest goal tally when they scored eleven without return against struggling Vale of Leithen at Shielfield Park. Berwick were unchanged following an impressive 4-1 midweek victory away to Edinburgh University after Sean Stewart passed a late fitness test to take his place in the team. Rangers were relentless throughout and were well worthy of the score line as they made it six points from the two games in a week with fifteen goals scored. If it had not been for the performance of Peden in the Vale of Leithen goal, the scoreline could have been much wider. It took Rangers just three minutes to open the scoring when Stewart met a clipped ball from Taylor on the right to head into the bottom corner. Berwick continued to press and set a high tempo. Within 10 minutes, the home side were two up. Pyper broke forward from defence and played in Allan, who settled himself in front of goal before firing into the far corner. Peden, in the Vale goal saved well from Allan and Taylor as Berwick continued to create chances in abundance. However, there was nothing that he could do about Berwick's third. Taylor dug out a cross on the right-hand side which Stewart met with an acrobatic bicycle kick from six yards out. Taylor was next to get in on the rout as he beat the offside trap and went through one-on-one with the keeper. Taylor kept his nerve, feinted to shoot and placed the ball beyond the diving Peden to make the score 4-0 with 40 minutes on the clock. Peden made another excellent save shortly after when Finnie's cross to the back post found Dow, who nodded back across goal; the ball was scrambled clear and fell to Allan on the edge of the box, but the keeper got down well to save. The half time whistle followed with Rangers well on top after seventeen attempts on goal, eleven on target and four goals to the good. The second half started much in the same vein as the first, with Berwick keen to add to their tally. Peden was called into action a minute into the half when Taylor played in Allan who fired towards goal, but his effort was thwarted away by the Vale keeper. It was Allan's last main contribution to the game as he was replaced by McGrath on 50 minutes after picking up a slight knock. Three minutes later and it was 5-0 to Berwick as Pyper rose above everyone else to head home from a well-placed corner by Taylor. One minute later it was six when Stewart completed his hat-trick with a diving header from a Finnie cross. It was to be Stewart's last piece of action as Heeps came on to replace him. It took Heeps just four minutes after coming on to grab his first goal for Berwick when he collected the ball from Taylor and drilled it, left-footed, into the bottom corner to make the score 7-0. Heeps went close again with a ferocious effort from range which narrowly went over the crossbar following a driving run. Heeps was involved in much of what Berwick were creating but it was fellow substitute McGrath who was next to get on the score sheet when he rifled a close-range shot into the roof of the net. Heeps carried the ball forward before pulling the ball back, causing somewhat of a melee in the Vale box and it was McGrath who collected the loose ball before hammering it home to make it eight without return. Three minutes later Rangers were nine up. Heeps won the ball in midfield and fed it into Taylor, who in turn played in Finnie down the right-hand side. Finnie fired a low cross into the area which was met by Heeps who turned the ball in, grabbing his second of the game. Vale continued to work hard, but Berwick were dominant and kept up their intensity as they went in search of further goals. As the game approached the final ten minutes, Heeps sealed his hat-trick following a tremendous piece of play between himself and Taylor. The duo played a brilliant one-two which culminated in Taylor firing at goal. Peden kept the effort out, but the rebound fell to Taylor who, unselfishly, laid the ball to Heeps, who tapped home from close range to put Berwick into double figures. Taylor completed the scoring on 81 minutes. Taylor gathered a loose ball after it bounced through to the back post, he got the ball out of his feet and placed it into the back of the net to make it Berwick Rangers 11-0 Vale of Leithen.

16. Berwick Rangers gave a poor performance in the second round of the South Region Challenge Cup against East of Scotland League Premier Division side Broxburn Athletic at Shielfield Park. Once again, woeful passing, spurned chances and a lack of ideas let them down. Having said that, they played a very good side in Broxburn and for the most game Rangers held them in their own half. Rangers could have won it in normal time; they could have won it in extra time and could have won the shoot-out. Sinclair, Heeps and Smith came into the starting eleven, replacing Dow, Taylor and the injured Allan. First note of action was after two minutes when a throw from Finnie fell nicely for Sinclair but he snatched at his shot and dragged it wide. On the quarter-hour mark, a free kick from the visitors on the right flank was swung over but McNeil climbed well to win the ball. Rangers went close on 25 minutes when Stewart was fouled 20 yards out, with Sinclair striking the resulting free kick a matter of inches over the bar. Donaldson and Harrison both ended up in the referee's book for the visitors as the game started to get a little heated. Another great chance fell Berwick's way when a terrific one-two between Nelson and Heeps saw Nelson cross the ball for Smith, who headed narrowly wide. Brilliant play by Stewart on the half-hour saw him nick the ball before then takes on his man to get to the by-line. He crossed the ball to back post, but Smith was challenged by Wright in the air. Rangers continued to press but it remained goalless at the break. With the teams still deadlocked, Rangers shuffled the pack four minutes into the second half when substitute Ward replaced Finnie. Cook went to right-back, Ferguson slotted in alongside Pyper at centre-back, with Ward going to left-back. However, it was the visitors who were first to score when just five minutes later a superb ball up the right touchline by Greenhill let Allum beat the offside trap to get to the by-line and fire across the face of goal from where Mair applied the finishing touch from just two yards out. An almost immediate response from Rangers saw Stewart find an opening, but he fired over from 20 yards. A second substitution saw Taylor on for Stewart and another formation change again with Ward and Ferguson as full-backs, Denholm and Sinclair in centre midfield, Heeps, Nelson and Taylor as attacking midfield and Smith up top. In a Broxburn attack, Allum did well down the right and crossed to the back post for Tait, who takes on his man before shooting over. Speculative effort from Sinclair from 30 yards went wide before Rangers levelled matters on 73 minutes. A cross into the box found Smith and he juggled with it for about three of four touches with his back to the goal before turning and hitting a low shot into the far corner. Rangers looked to take the lead in the final ten. Taylor played a one-two with Smith before taking a shot which the keeper did well to tip past the post. However, a huge chance fell for the visitors when a long ball was flicked on by Allum and Barker strode onto the ball, took a touch and hit the top of the crossbar. The two sides could not be separated after 90 minutes, and extra-time followed. Broxburn went close when Mair played in a teasing low cross to the back post and Cook did very well to intervene for a corner. The resulting corner was whipped in well and Nelson was forced to concede another flag kick which Allum headed way over the bar. A brilliant run from Ward ended with a powerful shot from ten yards which Donoghue parried well. A few minutes later, Dow sent a low cross into McGrath, who turned and shot goalward, but his effort is well saved by the feet of the keeper. After the final change of ends, a quickly taken free kick found Taylor who crossed the ball in, and McGrath teed up Pyper who struck the post from ten yards. Two minutes later it was the post again which thwarted Berwick. A blocked effort from Sinclair fell to McGrath and, on the half volley, he struck a powerful effort off the base of the post. With no further scoring the tie was to be decided on penalties. At three goals each from five it went to sudden death. Nicol hit the bar and went over; Taylor then had his penalty saved before Barker scored to take the visitors into the third round.

23. Despite a good performance and an Aidan Denholm wonder-goal, Berwick Rangers were beaten 2-1 by Stirling Albion in the second round of the Scottish Cup at Shielfield Park. A late goal sealed it for the visitors, but few would argue that Berwick did not deserve another bite of the cherry back at Forthbank. Stirling started brightest and a free kick from Leitch was met with a header at the back post, but Pyper did well to head clear the goal bound effort. The match developed into a scrappy affair with the wind preventing the sides from getting the ball down. The 20-minute mark saw a good little spell for Berwick with a couple of openings following good runs into the channels from Taylor and Stewart. A corner was whipped in by Sinclair to the back post where McGrath leapt well, but his downward header was saved comfortably by Currie. However, Stirling took the lead on 26 minutes when, following great cross into the box from Bikey, Ferguson cleared with an excellent defensive intervention. Leitch took the resulting corner, and McGregor headed it back across the goal for Mackin to score with a header off the post from two yards out. A few minutes later, Bikey got to the by-line and crossed for Moore in a good position, but he headed straight at McNeil. Rangers levelled matters in style on 33 minutes when McGrath played the ball to Denholm who, from 20 yards, fired a ferocious shot that flew into the far corner of the net. Just before the interval a powerful snapshot from Leitch on the turn was well saved by McNeil and the teams changed ends level after an evenly matched first half. Berwick were presented with a scoring opportunity straight from the restart when Smith nodded down for Taylor, who played Stewart in on goal, but he sliced over the bar from 20 yards. Massive chance then fell for the visitors when the ball dropped dangerously in the six-yard box following a corner, but no one was there to apply the finishing touch and Rangers managed to scramble the ball clear. Another golden chance fell the visitor's way on 55 minutes with Bikey the architect, but with the goal gaping, Moore put his header into the side netting. Just past the hour-mark, Rangers had a brilliant chance to take the lead when Stewart made a terrific run to beat the offside trap following a well-timed pass from McGrath, but in a one-on-one with the keeper he placed his shot just past the post. Another good chance for Berwick saw Denholm curl an aerial ball over to McGrath, who took the ball into the box before striking an effort straight at the keeper. With five minutes left, the ball broke to Banner in the box following a corner; his half volley went past McNeil's outstretched arm, but Sinclair was there to head off the line with a brilliant piece of defending. With time fast running out, Stirling began to press in search of the winner. Mackin lined up a free kick, but his effort was blocked by the wall and out for a corner. However, two minutes into injury time, McGregor headed down a corner; the ball rebounded off Bikey inside the six-yard box and the inrushing McGregor stabbed the loose ball home from close range in a goalmouth scramble.

Sean Stewart in Scottish Cup action v Stirling Albion 23 Nov 2021

30. Rangers B took all three points against Berwick Rangers at Dumbarton with a slender 1-0 win. The only goal of the game was scored from the penalty spot with 12 minutes remaining. The home side applied lots of pressure throughout, but Berwick defended resolutely, with McNeil a match for anything thrown at him. Rangers B started with purpose, holding most of the possession and driving frequently into the Berwick penalty area. A slip by Nelson let Rangers B in, but McNeil saved the shot across goal. More good work on the right by Rangers B saw then carve out a chance at the near post, but McNeil did well again to turn it out for a corner. Devine nearly found the opener shortly after when he picked up the ball close to the halfway line, running through the backline to have a shot, but it fell just wide of the post. On 41 minutes, a freekick from Sinclair flew just over the head of Smith at the back post and Berwick forced a corner. Two minutes later, another Berwick corner was delivered into the area by Taylor, but the keeper tipped it clear. Just on the break, Pyper prevented a certain goal for Rangers B with a well-timed block and McNeil cleared the danger. Berwick started the second half brightest, winning a series of corners, but Rangers B soon began to press, holding possession and pushing Berwick back into their own half. MacKinnon went close ten minutes in when Fraser delivered a dangerous corner into the box, and MacKinnon met it with a header at the back post, but McNeil saved his shot. Rangers B continued to pile the pressure, but the final ball is eluding them in the face of disciplined Berwick defending, marshalled by the skipper Pyper. Lindsay took a powerful strike from outside the busy box, but his shot was inches wide of the post. However, Rangers were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute when Ferguson was judged to have tripped Weston in the box. Referee was unmoved by Ferguson's protestations and Weston calmly slotted it into the back of the net, sending McNeil in the other direction. Berwick had a great chance to equalise on 79 minutes when Smith flicked the ball on and Heeps found himself in the box with space; he took the ball around the keeper but could not sort his feet out from a tight angle and chance was gone. Berwick were sent down to 10 men after Grant Nelson was given a straight red on 87 minutes after the referee decided that he brought down Ure as he bore down on goal and denied him a clear goal scoring opportunity. McCann took the kick but sent it over the crossbar. A minute from time, Berwick won a free kick 30 yards out; the ball was floated into the goalmouth by Taylor and Heeps was bundled over in the box before being taken out in an aerial challenge by the keeper but appeals for a penalty were waved aside by the referee.

November

Ins and outs. Rangers signed defender Michael Travis from Forfar Athletic on a loan deal until 6th January.

6. A depleted Berwick Rangers team fell to back-to-back Lowland League defeats after two first half goals saw Celtic B take all three points in a hard-fought match played in tough conditions at Shielfield Park. A host of injuries meant only three outfield substitutes could be fielded, with many players playing out of position: Denholm at right-back, Dow at left-back, Taylor in central midfield and strikers Baker and McGrath on opposite wings. After a poor first half in which two defensive errors saw Celtic score twice through Moffat and Carse, a much-improved second half performance saw Rangers more than hold their own. Berwick made good start, considering the windy conditions combined with the odd shower of rain, with a couple of teasing crosses into the box. It took Celtic the opening ten minutes to find their feet, their first half chance was a tame header from Murphy which McNeil gathered easily. However, Celtic B took the lead on 20 minutes. A mix-up at the back saw a free kick conceded on the edge of the box which rebounded off McNeil's chest as he slightly mistimed the kick and Moffat was first to react and slotted the ball home with the keeper rooted on the goal-line. Rangers had a good chance to hit back when a looped cross from Denholm was touched by Stewart back to Smith, but his shot was blocked by Luyeye. Celtic had a scare on the half-hour when keeper Oluwayemi cleared the ball against his centre-back, but he did well to put Stewart off as he looked to bring the ball down in the box and scramble back to clear the danger. Celtic doubled their lead on 33 minutes. Ferguson made an inch-perfect tackle but, as the ball came across the box around 15 yards out, Pyper lost his footing at a crucial time and the ball fell into the path of Carse who finished past McNeil. A few minutes later, a short back pass from Celtic saw Oluwayemi move out very sharply to intervene with Smith about to get his toe to the ball. On 38 minutes, Dow did well to get to the by-line and cross to the back post, where McGrath just missed the target with a header going back across the goal. Rangers made a purposeful start to the second half. Just two minutes in, Stewart took on a defender and crossed from the by-line, but Oluwayemi gathered with Baker closing in. Dow then skinned his man on the left and cut the ball back for Baker, who swept a low effort into the hands of the keeper. On 53 minutes, another good chance fell for Berwick when Smith nudge the ball to Sinclair, who drove forward before unleashing a low strike from 25 yards that Oluwayemi gathered at the second attempt. Rangers were having by far the better chances, but Celtic were defending well. A brilliant chance on the hour-mark saw Sinclair sweep the ball across for Dow, who headed it into the goalmouth, but Baker just missed getting contact. Sinclair then played a neat pass to Stewart, who cut back for Smith, but his fierce strike was well blocked by the keeper. Oluwayemi made two important saves in the last fifteen. First, Dow beat his man and swept the ball goalward from the by-line, but the keeper made a fine save with a host of Berwick players waiting to apply the finish. Then a deflected effort from Heeps was clawed away by the keeper for a corner as Berwick were having plenty of pressure but unable to convert. With time running out, Celtic began to press and on 89 minutes, Vata cut the ball back for Letsosa, but his effort was well saved by McNeil, who tipped the ball over the crossbar with an acrobatic save.

Sean Stewart breaks forward against Celtic B 6 Nov 2021

9. Three goals, three points and a clean sheet was the summary of a comfortable win under the floodlights at Shielfield Park against Edinburgh University. In the first five minutes, Rangers were a little shaky, and twice Nelson sold a pass short, both from which the visitors caught the ball and put the defence under pressure. Pyper, gave a firm message to his team mates to wake up. Afterwards, Berwick grew into the game and a corner, swung in by Sinclair, was hooked clear by the visitors but landed at the feet of Baker who just shot wide. For the next ten minutes, Berwick passed the ball around well with Allan regularly dropping in to get the ball from the midfield before releasing the wide men. From one of these moves, Taylor hit a shot on the bounce from fully 35 yards which whizzed inches over the bar. On the half-hour mark, a 25-yard shot from Stewart was deflected out for a corner, which Baker headed just over. Later, Baker drove down the left-hand side of the box before playing the ball into the middle where Allan connected with a back heel, but keeper Heraghty did well to save. Frustration began to grow amongst the visiting players and with it a few late tackles. Pyper and Sinclair both received a booking during this spell for remonstrating to the referee after his somewhat lenient approach to dealing with the frequent late and increasingly strong challenges. The pattern of fouls continued, and Edinburgh University paid the price just on half-time. Sinclair whipped in a free kick from 35 yards out on the right touchline, which found Pyper at the back post, and he half volleyed it past Heraghty who was rooted to the spot. Berwick started the second half where they left the first, on top and in control. Rangers doubled their lead on 51 minutes when Baker collected the ball at the left-hand corner of the 18-yard box and produced two or three step overs before unleashing a powerful shot to the near post; Heraghty got down to it but with the pace on the shot the ball slipped under him and into the net. Berwick continued to apply pressure with Swinton having a very quiet evening in goal. A great strike from Taylor saw the Heraghty make a good save before Allan turned a defender just inside the box and let go with a powerful shot which was deflected out for a corner. Taylor then hit the post from 25 yards with Heraghty well beaten and on the floor. Berwick score their third on 73 minutes, when Hamilton, under pressured form Allan, played a short back pass to Heraghty; Allan pounced on the ball and calmly finished with a low shot though the advancing keeper's legs. Rangers played out the last 20 minutes with real comfort. Denholm looking for a goal fired a shot at the keeper who did well to parry it away and, in the final minute, a flick on from Allan put Stewart through on goal but he was just beaten to the ball by Heraghty.

13. Berwick Rangers came second in a bruising and at times ill-tempered encounter against Civil Service Strollers at Christie Gillies Park. In a game of two penalties saved, and two late goals in the space of four minutes from Cole and Faye, the home side took all three points. The opening minutes saw action at both ends as both Berwick and the Strollers earned a corner apiece. On 4 minutes, the home side were awarded a penalty when Dow brought down Balde from behind in the area after a bit of a goalmouth scramble. However, Swinton easily saved number nine's poorly taken penalty straight down the middle. Three minutes later, the Strollers beat the offside trap when a long kick from the keeper dropped kindly for Cole, who was 25 yards from goal and one-on-one with Swinton, but his lofted shot over the keeper bounced out of play off the top of crossbar. The Strollers might have threatened a few times, but Berwick then enjoyed their best spell of the game so far, working a few crosses from out wide with Sinclair put in a few excellent balls from set pieces. Berwick's best chance of the game came two minutes from half-time when Taylor sent a corner into the heart of the six-yard box; Ferguson got to the ball first, but under pressure he put his header just over the bar. Another Berwick chance from a Taylor corner quickly followed; this time Baker brought the ball under control but hooked his effort just over as Rangers ended the half the stronger. Berwick started the second half on top but without really testing the home keeper. From a well-placed free kick from Sinclair, Taylor went close with a diving header, but it was straight at the keeper. A cross over the shoulder of Nelson on the hour-mark was volleyed towards the bottom corner by the Cole, but Swinton got a strong hand to it and cleared at the expense of a corner. The resulting flag-kick was cleared off the line by Allan after Swinton missed a punch at the near post. As the half progressed, the game got a bit gritty with fouls from both sides and Berwick got increasingly frustrated with the referee. Strong Berwick shouts for a penalty were waved away by the referee on 63 minutes when Allan went down under a challenge from Clapperton just inside the box following a throw-in from Nelson on the left. The deadlock was broken on 78 minutes when, following a throw-in from the right, followed by some head tennis between McConnell and Clapperton, Swinton jumped to catch the ball but missed, and the header from the second ball found Cole whose looping header found the empty net. Four minutes later, Swinton saved his second spot kick of the match after Balde was fouled in the area by Nelson, but the rebound from Young's kick was tapped in by the in-rushing and quick thinking Faye with the Berwick players stood watching. Game over.

Sean Stewart in action at Shielfield Park versus Edinburgh University 9 Nov 2021

December

Ins and outs. Stuart Malcolm added former Berwick Rangers goalkeeper Ali Adams to his playing squad on a six-month deal.

4. After two weeks without a match, Berwick Rangers travelled to Gretna on Lowland League business. In a high-energy first half, played in Baltic conditions with rain steadily falling, good pressing and some sharp interplay saw Berwick well worth their 3-0 interval lead. The second half was less high tempo with few chances for either side, but the damage had been done in the first half with a Nelson header, helped in by the keeper, a Stewart stunner, and a deflected Taylor strike. Manager Stuart Malcolm handed a debut to Forfar Athletic loanee Michael Travis in defence, and Alex Harris returned from injury with a place on the bench. Rangers took the lead on seven minutes following excellent work form Taylor, whose cross was headed onto the post by Nelson and knocked into the net by keeper Henderson trying to save the rebound. It was all Berwick in the opening stages, and it looked only a matter of time until a second goal was scored. It came on 21 minutes when an excellent long ball from Pyper was taken down by Stewart out on the left; he worked his way to left centre of the goal and fired a superbly struck 18-yarder into the top right-hand corner. Two minutes later, Gretna had the ball in the Berwick net, but the goal from a corner was correctly disallowed for a foul on McNeil. Berwick continue to apply pressure, looking for a third. Superb work from Allan in the box gave Taylor an excellent opportunity but his mishit shot went wide. However, Taylor had better luck on 42 minutes. Stewart played the ball up the right and cross to Allan, who tumbled on the edge of the box; the ball broke to Taylor, whose shot took a deflection off defender Karamoko and beat the Henderson high to the left-hand corner. Harris replaced Sinclair at the start of the second half. Two minutes in, it was very nearly a debut goal for Travis, as his header from a corner went just wide. Gretna enjoyed a slightly better spell without really troubling the Berwick goal. Heeps replaced Taylor on 65 minutes, who took a knock following a full-blooded tackle as the game turned a bit ugly. There was little more of note until stoppage time when Heeps almost nabbed a goal, the keeper doing well to block his effort. However, at full time it was a case of 3 goals, 3 points and job done.

11. Berwick Rangers took the points with a 3-0 home win against Broomhill. Rangers, who dominated throughout the match, missed a host of chances in the first half and were disappointed to be going in level at half-time. However, second half goals from Travis, Taylor and Stewart sealed Broomhill's fate. Berwick first chance fell to Stewart after five minutes' play when he got behind the defence to shoot on goal, but the flag went up for offside. A few minutes later, Stewart got through again, but this time his shot was deflected out for a corner. Allan then collected a loose ball in the box, but his shot hit the keeper from a tight angle. Midway through the half, Stewart crossed into the 6-yard box; Taylor had a swipe, as did Allan, but Broomhill managed to clear. Taylor had a go from 25 yards, but his shot went narrowly wide before a great knock down from Travis just evaded Allan. Broomhill were continually on the back foot and Barr did well to save a powerful header from Travis following a corner. Taylor got the ball a great position after a neat flick-on from Allan but could not get his shot away. Just before the interval, Rangers went close following great link-up play between Allan and Stewart, but the former tried an extra pass when he could have taken a shot. Another chance went by, but they kept coming. Rangers took the lead seven minutes into the second half. A corner from the left was swung in, Travis got a run on his marker and buried a header high into the net, giving Barr no chance to save. Taylor then played a wonderful ball across the 6-yard line, but no one was there to get on the end of it. Rangers doubled their lead on 57 minutes when, following some neat play down the left, Allan cut the ball back to Taylor, who unleased a superbly struck shot from the edge of the box into the top right-hand corner. Berwick kept up the pressure. Denholm picked up the ball on the right of the box but shot just wide. A side footed shot by Allan from just outside the box went narrowly wide before Baker broke through but hit his shot over the crossbar in a one-on-one with the keeper. With five minutes remaining, Rangers won a free kick 20-yards out. Baker took the kick, which was spilled by Barr into the path of the inrushing Stewart, who smashed it into the net to make it 3-0 to Berwick. The last action of the match saw Heeps hit a wonderful volley just wide of the post. Great technique, very unlucky, as Rangers pressed until the end.

Alex Harris in action versus Broomhill 11 Dec 2021

26. Two goals down after just 15 minutes, Berwick Rangers staged a remarkable fightback to win 4-2 against Gala Fairydean Rovers at a rain drenched Shielfield Park. Rain had fallen before and during the match, making the pitch slippery with the players struggling to keep their feet. It was certainly a game of two halves with Gala commanding the first and Berwick the second. The game opened robustly with some agricultural fouls dished out by both teams. Rangers had the first shot on goal when the ball was played through to Allan on the edge of the box, but his shot went narrowly wide. However, Gala took a surprise early lead when Darge scored direct from a corner from the left with just six minutes on the clock, his high kick into the box curling in at the far post with the defence and keeper Adams well beaten. Gala kept up the pressure and Murray got into a shooting position inside the box but fired his shot into the side netting. The visitors doubled their lead on 15 minutes when a low corner from the right hit Murray in the midriff and dropped over the line. It was another poor goal to concede. Two minutes later, a hard tackle by Travis saw Campbell kick out at him as the Berwick defender lay on the grass in front of the referee. The referee showed a yellow card to both players when really it should have been red to Campbell. In a Rangers attack, Harris found Ferguson and he crossed to Allan in a front of goal, but his touch was too heavy, giving Darge time to clear. At the other end Darge tried his luck from 35 yards out, but the ball whistled past Adams' post. Rangers got back in the game four minutes before the interval when a corner was cleared to the halfway line; Nelson played it wide to the right for Stewart, who skinned a defender before crossing high for Travis to power a header into the net. However, there was much work to do in the second half. It was a fantastic start to the second half. Two minutes in, a corner from the right was played in; Spratt failed to catch it, leaving the ball to drop, and Ferguson reacted first to poke the ball over the line. Five minutes later, Berwick were awarded a penalty when a defensive back-header played Stewart through on goal and in a one-on-one with the keeper he was brought down in the box. Harris stepped up to the spot and put Rangers into the lead after sending Spratt the wrong way. A minute later, Harris played in Taylor, who slid a left-footed shot just past the far post. Rangers went further ahead on 57 minutes when, following a fine move, Taylor cut in from the left to the centre-edge of the 18-yard box before shooting on goal; his shot took a huge deflection and looped over the keeper and in. Gala upped their attacked. Murray got in behind the Berwick defence and launched a fierce strike which Adams did well to tip past the post. Rangers replied with Pyper going close with a high shot which landed on the roof of the net. The game ended with Gala pressed hard and forcing several corners, but they could not break through the solid Berwick defence.

January

Ins and outs. Defender Tam Scobbie has penned a contract extension at Shielfield Park, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2021/22 season. Winger Cammy Dow was recalled by East Fife bringing his loan spell at Shielfield Park to an end. Craig Reid left after his loan deal with Newtongrange Star was made permanent for an undisclosed fee. Striker Calum Smith joined East of a Scotland Premier Division side Crossgates Primrose on loan until end of the season. Michael Travis returned to Forfar Athletic at the end of his loan deal and joined Edinburgh City. Aidan Denholm's loan deal with Heart of Midlothian was extended until the end of the season. Dan Purves returned from his loan deal at Dunbar United but then left to pursue other activities outside football.

15. Berwick Rangers made it four straight League wins with a deserved 3-1 victory over Civil Service Strollers at Shielfield Park. The game was fast and entertaining from the start, on such a heavy-going pitch, with both sides putting in some agricultural challenges. The visitors opened strongly and after taking the lead bossed the game for the opening twenty minutes, but Rangers eventually took control, especially in the second half, to win comfortably. In an early Berwick attack, some neat play down the right wing between Stewart and Barr saw the latter send in high cross from the bi-line which Baker just missed. Faye put the Strollers ahead on 7 minutes when he headed down a corner from the left inside the six-yard box; the ball was blocked on the line by Ferguson but rebounded to Faye, who blasted home. Balde won a challenge on the corner of the 18-yard box and crossed to Shaw in the centre, but McNeil made a brilliant save down to his left. McNeil made several good saves as the visitors sent some dangerous cross into the Berwick goalmouth. Faye was always dangerous, but Scobbie did well to contain him. At the other end, Ferguson had the ball in the net on 22 minutes, but his calmly converted effort was dubiously ruled out for offside. However, Rangers levelled legally on 37 minutes when Barr beat the offside trap and laid it down the left flank for Ferguson, who whipped a delightful ball into the box for Stewart to head home. Rangers continued to press at the start of the second half. Taylor sent a high cross into the box which Scobbie just missed at the far post. The visitors replied with Valentine send an inviting diagonal ball across the face of the Berwick goal. Just past the hour mark, Stewart put a bicycle kick just wide. However, Rangers took the lead on 74 minutes, when Baker, with a perfectly timed dink from the left, set Barr through on a 40-yard run and he slotted neatly past the advancing keeper in a one-on-one from the edge of the box. With ten minutes to go, Pyper had an excellent chance when he latched onto the end of a Taylor set piece, but somehow the keeper managed to collect down low. With the crowd right behind them, Rangers kept pushing. Baker failed to capitalise on a good opening, but it looked only a matter of time until Berwick increased their lead. Following a short corner from Taylor on the left, Harris played a low cross into the six-yard box which Scobbie hit high into the roof of the net to make it game over with seven minutes remaining.

Graham Taylor shoots on goal versus Civil Service Strollers 15 Jan 2022

22. Berwick Rangers made their exit from the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup at the third-round stage with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hill of Beath Hawthorn at Keir's Park. A wild first half saw Berwick conceded three and score two and a goal midway through the second half put the game out of reach. It was familiar territory as the Rangers found themselves trailing early for the third straight game, but just like those games there looked plenty of time for a fightback. Berwick started on the front foot, but the first ten minutes were to prove their only dominant spell in the match. Taylor worked some room for himself on the edge of the box but drove just wide of the post with five minutes on the clock. Three minutes later Mitchell had to deal smartly with a Ferguson cross under the presence of Baker, who proved to be a handful all game. McKenzie and Barr moved quickly through the midfield, but the Haws' defence stood up to their searching passes. The home side began to press and took the lead on 13 minutes. After a neat move down the right, Leishman sent over a high-looping cross which landed kindly for Kellichan in the six-yard box, who turned it into the net. Matters got worse for Berwick two minutes later when the Haws doubled their lead. A corner was cleared, but the ball was played back into the box. Pyper misjudged a clearing header, which presented Watt with a shooting chance in the box. McNeil did well to save Watt's powerful shot low to his left, but the loose ball fell to the feet of Connelly, who coolly slotted home. At this point the Haws were in complete control. Kellichan again went close with a free kick, whilst Connelly was denied by McNeil this time gathering at his feet. However, Rangers got themselves back in the game on 32 minutes courtesy of a freak goal. There appeared to be little danger when the ball was played back Hall but as he attempted to clear upfield the ball rebounded off Baker and despite scrambling back the keeper was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line. Any doubts that the home team would be unsettled by this setback were soon put to one side as another flowing move on 40 minutes restored their two-goal cushion. Connelly broke into the Berwick half with real purpose and sent a defence-splitting through ball to Adamson, who had plenty of time to pick out the bottom corner. Berwick struck back just two minutes later with Baker again proving a thorn in the Haws defence. After beating several defenders down the right wing, Baker played the ball into the box and slid his shot under Hall at the near post. There was less incident in the second period, but with the Haws still the dominant force. The home side almost made the perfect start to the half when Kellichan's excellent cross fizzed across the face of the Rangers goal with nobody on hand to apply a finish. Connelly went close with a well struck effort in the 53rd minute, while the same player was fed by Elder three minutes later, but this time he drove straight at McNeil. The game was finally over as a contest in the 68th minute. Grierson's cross was headed back across goal by Daniel Watt to Connelly, who body-bundled the ball into the net on the line.

29. Berwick Rangers gave a disappointing performance for the second week running when they were beaten 3-1 by Caledonian Braves at Alliance Park. After a strong start from Berwick, in which they took the lead through Taylor, the Braves began to dominate, and the first half ended level. An own goal followed by a late penalty in the second half sealed Berwick's fate. The game kicked off 30 minutes late due to storm Malik causing delays. Rangers started strongly in the face of the wind. Harris had an early chance on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked before Taylor flashed a shot just wide after good build up play. However, Berwick were living dangerously at the back with some mistimed back passes. A back pass across the face of the goal by Pyper was poorly controlled by McNeil, who was lucky to scramble the ball away under the close attention of Lindsay, and the danger was eventually cleared after Rangers had conceded a corner. Berwick took the lead in the next attack. McNeil hit a long goal kick down the left wing. The ball was played into the box by Stewart who crossed for Taylor, 12-yards out and in a central position, to slot the ball under Kelly with eight minutes played. A few minutes later, Rangers and an excellent chance when Baker played the ball across the face of the goal from the right, but no one was there to tap it in. The home side then began to take control and it came as no surprise when they levelled on 22 minutes. A long clearance by the keeper fell to Watson, who shrugged off the challenge of Cook before hitting a powerful 35-yard volley which rebounded back into play off the post. The ball was cleared for a Berwick throw-in from which the Braves regained possession and following a neat cut-back from the bi-line Watson tapped the ball into the net. McNeil kept Berwick in the game on the half-hour mark with an acrobatic save following a close-range header across the face of the goal by Kelly. Rangers fought back were unlucky a minute before the break when Harris floated in a free kick from the right and Williamson ran in unmarked from the edge of box to head against the crossbar with Duffy beaten. Three minutes into the second half, Duffy made an excellent save to keep the score at 1-1 when Barr hit fast rising shot from the edge of the box following a cleared corner. The Braves began to press and took the lead on 51 minutes from an own goal scored by Denholm when he deflected the ball past McNeil following another neat cut-back into the box. Rangers had a chance to level midway through the half, but a brilliant run from Nelson ended with Duffy conceding a corner with an equal save low to his left. The home side had more possession in the last twenty and secured the points with five minutes remaining when another long goal kick by Duffy fell kindly to Kelly 25 yards from goal and with Pyper as his marker. Kelly rounded Pyper and made his way just inside the box before being fouled and the referee pointed to the spot. Pyper was shown red for the offence before Kelly sent McNeil the wrong way to make it game over.

February

Ins and outs. Due to a change in his personal circumstances, midfielder Scott-Taylor Mackenzie departed the club and joined East of Scotland Premier League side Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale for an undisclosed fee.

5. After two successive defeats on the road, a long list of injuries, doubts about the game going ahead, Pyper suspended and Vale of Leithen's improved form, this rearranged game at Victoria Park was not expected to be a walk in the park. Vale had recently drawn with East Kilbride and beaten Bo'ness United. However, a superb performance under atrocious conditions saw Rangers win 9-0. Berwick were three ahead at half time and followed up with some clinical finishing in the second half despite playing against the elements. Rangers reshuffled the team with McNeil returning in goal, Scobbie and Ferguson at centre half, Williamson left back and Nelson right back. A midfield trio of Barr, Taylor and Harris and Stewart, Allan and Baker in attack. Berwick started the game with a gusting wind behind them. They opted to play the ball on the deck on the tricky surface and deservedly went in front when a low Harris shot on 17 minutes caught the home keeper sleeping and it somehow made its way over the line. Barr was having an outstanding half with a relentless work rate and sliding tackles in the mud. This left Harris to orchestrate most of Berwick's best play from his unfamiliar central role spraying the ball around the field. Two further first half goals came courtesy of Stewart seven minutes later and Allan on the half-hour. The biggest worry for the second half was playing into the strong wind and the possibility of abandonment in the now monsoon conditions. The second half turned into the Lewis Allan show as the big striker added to his first half goal with three more as he added Berwick's fourth, fifth and sixth goal in under half an hour in a clinical display of finishing. He had been playing well with his hold up play, and his clever distribution was bringing others into the game, but he was deadly when given a glimpse of goal. All his goals were low and seemed to find the bottom corner of the net. After Allan bagged his fourth, Heeps, McGrath and Ward were all brought on and any thoughts we were going to see out the match were quickly dispelled when Baker tucked away Berwick's seventh. McGrath who hadn't been on the pitch long pounced to take the tally to eight and Baker helped himself to his second and Berwick's ninth goal. Any hopes of double figures were dashed when the ref decided to skip injury time in the worsening conditions, but this could easily have been 15. Rangers easily had 80% of possession over the full 90 minutes; hit the crossbar twice, had a shot cleared off the line, and a few other close shaves.

12. Berwick Rangers made it six league wins in the last seven with an impressive 4-1 win over Bo'ness United at Newtown Park. Both teams made two changes from their previous games. Berwick welcomed back Jamie Pyper and goalkeeper Ali Adams. With the hosts missing experienced playmaker Danny Galbraith and their top scorer Zander Miller, Berwick manager Stuart Malcolm went straight for the jugular with three strikers and a three-man midfield packed with attacking options. Berwick kicked off with the wind behind them. Keeper Adams made full use of the conditions on seven minutes when his precise low diagonal kick found Baker who expertly brought it down and forced a great block from a lunging defender. Bo'ness had a couple of efforts from distance from Jacobs and Grant but nothing to worry Adams in the Berwick goal. Allan was bristling with confidence and had three good chances in the first half hour. Stewart looked to be in the clear when he knocked the ball around the last man, but Murphy read the danger well and raced off his line to thwart the danger. Bo'ness enjoyed a good spell of pressure around the half hour mark and spurned two glorious headed chances directed straight at a relieved Adams. Berwick then took the lead with a fantastic counterattacking goal. Barr and Stewart linked up on the right, Allan timed his run superbly to get behind the defence and play the ball along the ground into goalmouth, where Baker beat the defender to a tap it into the net. Things went from bad to worse for the home side. Two minutes later, when an attempted header back to the keeper was pounced on by Barr, Murphy rushed out to block Barr's initial shot, but the keeper failed to hold the ball and Allan was on hand to tap in the rebound. With five minutes of the half remaining, Berwick added a third when Ferguson dropped a perfect angled ball over the static Bo'ness backline and Taylor, all alone at the back post, took his time to volley home and kill the game off as a contest. Bo'ness made a change at the interval with McLeod on for Jacobs and looked a more useful side early in the second half. They almost got on the scoresheet when a powerful low drive by Grant missed the far post by inches. A few minutes later, a corner at the back post found Skinner, who had a free header 5 yards out, but he had to stoop for it, and it went just wide of the goal. However, the more Bo'ness attacked the more Berwick looked like they would pick them off on the break. A long ball over the top on 57 minutes split the Bo'ness defence in two. Allan raced through, but he opted for power his shot rattled the crossbar. Rangers went further ahead on 61 minutes when Harris weaved his way between several defenders to break clear and shoot. Murphy blocked the shot, but Allan picked up the loose ball and scuffed his shot into the net through the legs of Baker. Bo'ness claimed offside but the referee was not listening. Ferguson thought he had scored Berwick's fifth ten minutes later when he flew down the wing and cut the ball back to Baker, whose shot was parried by Murphy, and Ferguson pounced to stab the ball home, but the offside flag was raised, and the Berwick defender was less than pleased. With five minutes to go and Berwick looking good for a clean sheet, Bo'ness were awarded a penalty after Pyper mistimed a clearance and fouled Grant in the box. Stevenson's initial penalty was saved by Adams, but he poked in the rebound to give the home side a late consolation goal. Bo'ness pressed hard in the remaining minutes and were unlucky not to add to their tally in a goalmouth scramble before Hawkins somehow headed over from 2 yards following a corner with Adams beaten by the cross.

19. After five weeks on the road, a superb second half display against University of Stirling at Shielfield Park saw Berwick Rangers end the game with an emphatic 5-0 win. Rangers started well and, after taking an early lead following a wonderful strike from Sean Stewart, they could have scored two or three as they had the visitors on the ropes, but as time went on the Uni fought their way back into the game and were unlucky not to score themselves as they kept Berwick on the back foot for the remainder of the opening half. A tremendous first-time volley from on five minutes by Sean Stewart from a high looping cross into the goalmouth by Baker put Rangers ahead. A minute later, Allan saw his shot bounce back into play off the inside of the far post after he had fought his way into the box following a neat Harris through ball. A long clearance by keeper Adams found Barr on the edge of the 18-yard box, but he could not get enough power behind his shot and visiting keeper Godik did enough to clear the danger. Stirling then upped their game and pressed Rangers back into their own half. Penker sent a low cross from the left across the face of the goal and McArthur just failed to connect at the back post. A deflected ball in midfield let McGale through on goal, but his parting shot was luckily blocked by Scobbie, and Adams cleared. In a now rare breakaway, Allan closed in on the Godik, who spilt a shot, but the keeper collected at a second attempt. A few minutes later Adams did well to deflect a 25-yard free kick from Jarvis past his right-hand post for a corner before doing likewise with a similar shot to his left with a from another Jarvis kick shortly after. A cross from the left from Stokes found Jarvis running in down the right; his powerful shot was blocked, and a goalmouth scramble took place. The Berwick goal was peppered with shots with blocks from Baker, Scobbie and others keeping the score at 1-0. McArthur was finding space with his pace down the right and sent several dangerous crosses into the Berwick goalmouth as the Uni kept pressing up to the interval. Stirling had recovered well, but no one foresaw what came in the second half. On 50 minutes Baker was ruled offside, in what was a close call, as had he been allowed to play on, he was through one-on-one with the keeper. Some excellent work from Stewart to hold the ball under pressure, and a neat interchange with Taylor, saw Stewart shoot just over. Rangers doubled their lead on 58 minutes after some good work down the left by Allan and Barr. Barr drove the ball into the box, Stewart laid it off to Baker, who hit a shot which the keeper had covered but let slip between his legs. Baker had the ball in the net again a few minutes later, but the flag was up for offside. The pace of the game then dropped, but Rangers brought Heeps and Ward on to replace Williamson and Baker on 74 minutes and changed shape with Allan and Stewart up top. Within two minutes it paid dividends. A clearance from Scobbie was flicked on from Allan to Stewart who ran in one-on-one with the keeper and pushed it past him for his second of the game. Three minutes later, some superb play from Stewart saw him skin his defender on the by-line with a little flick, before skipping past two more defenders and chipping the keeper from five yards. His shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down and back into play where Barr was on hand make sure it hit the back of the net. It was three goals in seven minutes when a high cross was sent in from the right; Taylor headed it on, and the second ball was hammered home on the volley by Allan. Godik denied Allan with a superb save a few minutes layer before Allan turned provider when he cut the ball across the goalmouth, but Heeps headed against the crossbar with Godik beaten.

Lewis Allan goes close against University of Stirling 19 Feb 2022.

26. Free scoring and in form Berwick Rangers travelled to Broadwood full of confidence against a side struggling at the lower end of the table, but an out of sorts performance, with two blatant penalty decisions going against them, saw Cumbernauld Colts take the points with a 1-0 win. Berwick showed plenty of endeavour but were second best in most areas. Rangers made only one change with experienced new signing Conrad Balatoni replacing Scobbie at centre half. The first ten minutes were tight with little of note footballing wise, but Berwick were gradually feeling their way into the game on Broadwood's expansive playing surface. First chance of note fell Berwick's way on 11 minutes when Taylor found himself in sight of goal, but his firm strike was a yard over the crossbar. From the early exchanges it was clear Berwick were in for a physical test and the persistent holding and shirt pulling that went unpunished did little for the footballing spectacle. Williamson was finding lots of space on the left touchline, and had a couple of notable runs, one of which ended with him being crudely scythed down. Harris took the resulting free kick, which was half cleared back to him, but his return shot was comfortably saved by Erskine. Berwick were on top and enjoying some decent possession and on 16 minutes should have opened the scoring when Allan got half a yard on his marker on the right wing and whipped over a perfect in swinging cross, but Baker somehow missed the target with his header from ten yards. As the game neared the half hour mark the Colts were gradually pressing Berwick deep. Rangers were fortunate when Balatoni's careless pass across the edge of his own box was intercepted and only some last gasp tackling, and a lunging block, stopped the Colts taking a surprise lead. Allan had the ball in the net on the half hour mark, but the offside flag was rightly raised early, and the decision was not really contested. The Colts responded a minute later with a long-floated ball that caught out Balatoni and played their striker in the clear, but Cook did amazingly well to respond and flung himself in front of the goal bound shot. The Colts were by now the better team. The home side continued to press Berwick on the back foot as half-time approached and were unlucky in a one on one with Adams, who kept his nerve and saved the danger with an outstretched leg. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Taylor who volleyed a thunderous strike that struck the bar, bounced down onto the goal line and back into play with huge appeals from the home side that the ball had crossed the line. Ferguson then went down injured, and play was stopped for a lengthy spell, but he was able to continue the last couple of minutes until the break. The second half started where the first left off for Berwick and matters were further compounded when Ferguson was forced off with less than five minutes of the half played. Chances for the Colts continued to come their way and Forrest was guilty of spurning a great chance when he shot wide with Berwick all at sea. On 55 minutes Stewart angled a looping ball that bounced past everyone and fell to Barr at the far post and just as he was about to head it, he was blatantly pushed in the back and fell to the ground, but the referee unbelievably waved play on to the astonishment of both sets of fans, players and officials. On 64 minutes Berwick had another good move when Stewart evaded the arms of Dickson to play in Allan, who squared it to Barr who skewed his effort just wide. A minute later, Dickson showed he can play football as well as wrestle by sending over an inch perfect cross that was met by a perfectly placed Forrest header that gave Adams no chance in goal. With fifteen minutes to go, Berwick were denied a second stonewall penalty when Baker had his legs cynically taken away from him at the far post. The ref again ran away; a melee ensued in which Baker and Erskine squared up to each other. The keeper pretended he had been headbutted, but the ref saw it and booked the keeper for trying to get Baker sent off. The referee and stand side linesman were having a nightmare and incredibly denied the Colts a penalty a minute later when they seemed to have a valid case. A player was booked for protesting and the game turned into a farce when four players were booked in the space of just five minutes. With eight minutes remaining McGrath replaced Baker and he was presented with a glorious chance when Taylor's cross picked him out unmarked, but the ball somehow went clean through his legs with the goal at his mercy and the game ended in a disappointing defeat.

March

Ins and outs. Goalkeeper Ben Swinton departed the club after being released from his contract due to limited game time following the signing of Ali Adams.

5. Berwick Rangers made three changes to the team at Dalbeattie Star following the shock defeat by Cumbernauld Colts. With Adams still out, McNeil stayed in goal. Scobbie replaced Cook, while Ferguson shifted over to the left of defence to accommodate Nelson replacing Williamson. Berwick started the brighter of the two sides and had two headed chances within the first ten minutes. First, Allan glanced a header just wide from a Harris free kick on three minutes and then Balatoni headed narrowly wide from a Harris cross. The pitch looked immaculate to begin with, but it quickly became apparent it was sodden underneath. Berwick's goal came out of nothing on 14 minutes when Sean Stewart reached the bi-line, and his cross took a slight deflection before Lewis Baker stopped low to head the ball home at the near post. Dalbeattie fought back and drew level ten minutes later when Dickinson reacted first with a low shot from a corner on the left. Star had a chance to take the lead soon after with a rocket of a shot but luckily it was straight at McNeil who managed to block the effort. Berwick's front three were causing far more problems than Stars long balls to Currie and on 37 minutes Baker grabbed his and Berwick's second with a low strike from an acute angle, which might have taken a deflection on the way, as it seemed to catch the keeper out. Star had the last chance of the first half when Muir forced a good save out of McNeil with a fine curling effort. Rangers were quick out of the traps in the second half and Allan tried his luck with a speculative effort from distance. Holt fluffed his save but got away with it. Star were very fortunate not to go down to ten men when Dickinson committed a professional foul after already receiving a caution. Currie had a great chance to level the score on the hour mark when he raced clear, but Ferguson somehow got back to clear just as Currie was about to shoot. Four minutes later Currie was surprisingly subbed. Berwick made their own substitution with half an hour to go when Baker made way for Denholm. Lewis Allan was at times unplayable; his touch was sublime all afternoon and he was at the heart of all Berwick's best efforts. However, Rangers could not find the elusive third goal to kill the game off and Star almost took a share of the points deep into injury time when McNeil looked to have turned a deflected cross into his own net but the ball somehow trickled inches wide of his near post and Berwick deservedly left with all three points.

12. Bonnyrigg Rose knew that a win would secure the Lowland League Championship when they visited Shielfield Park. Rangers were without key defenders Pyper, Ferguson and Scobbie for the clash, The importance of these absences were made clear when the makeshift defence leaked the opening goal of the match within two minutes of kick-off. Bonnyrigg attacked en mass from the start. Brown went close with an angled shot across the face of the goal before the visitors forced a corner from which they took the lead. Currie swung in the corner which McGachie headed down; it landed at the feet of Martynuik, who struck the ball goalward; the ball rebounded off McGachie but fell to the feet of Brown, who made no mistake from close range after thrashing at the ball before hit the back of the net through several defenders on the line. A cross from the left saw McGachie headed straight at Adams when well placed. Keeping up the pressure, the visitors doubled their lead on 11 minutes when McGachie latched onto a searching through ball from Stewart, before bearing down on goal, while simultaneously throwing the persistent attentions of Balatoni and Nelson off his back, before coolly finishing past Adams into the bottom left corner. With a two-goal cushion and Bonnyrigg in command, the pace of the game slowed. After Bonnyrigg went close from another break-away, a cutting counter from the home side saw Allan tee up Taylor, whose deflected effort forced Weir into a quick reaction stop at the expense of a corner. A long ball from Balatoni found the head of Baker, but his header was saved easily by Weir. At the other end, Brett set up a gilt-edged chance at the back post for Barrett, but his free header flew over the crossbar. A 20-yard snapshot from Allan was saved comfortably by the Rose keeper before Taylor sent a brilliant teasing cross into the box just before half-time, but no one could get onto the end of it and the danger was cleared. Bonnyrigg kept up the pressure at the start of the second half. Currie lofted a ball forward for Brown, who faces up Cook, but the defender made a good intervention. However, the visitors increase their lead on 61 minutes when Balatoni was dispossessed by Connolly in midfield. Connolly ran through to the edge of the box before trying to dink the ball over the advancing Adams. The keeper made a fingertip save, but the ball landed kindly into the path of McGachie, who knocked the ball into the empty net. Three goals to the good, Rose started to leak chances. A fantastic cross from Taylor just evaded the head of Baker. Baker then teed up Harris, who jinked his way in the box before firing an effort at the keeper. Harris picked up an injury while forcing the save and his replacement McGrath threatening not long after his introduction, firing just wide from close range. With ten minutes remaining, Rangers subbed Baker and Cook with Heeps and Pyper. It made a difference. Rangers pulled a goal back just two minutes later when Barr peeled away from his marker in the centre of the box to volley Nelson's well-taken free kick from deep on the right past the helpless Weir. However, Bonnyrigg made it 4-1 on 88 minutes when a bobbling pass back from Balatoni evaded Adams' swinging foot. The ball looked to be going out of play, but Evans managed to keep the ball in play before it crossed the touchline, and calmly blasted it past Adams from a tight angle to finish the game off.

19. Berwick Rangers secured their secure their place in the knock-out rounds of the Lowland League Cup with one game to spare after beating Vale of Leithen 1-0 at Victoria Park, thanks to a stunning 41st minute free kick by Kieran McGrath. With the top two in each group qualifying, and Bonnyrigg Rose exercising their right to pull out of the competition without sanction due to being Lowland League Champions and preparing for the upcoming play-offs, the win was enough to guarantee a top two finish. Rangers made several team and positional changes to their previous line up. McNeil was back in goal with Williamson, Pyper and Heeps also in the starting eleven. Allan and Stewart were on the bench. Vale were under new management with Michael Wilson in only his second game in charge after an impressive 0-0 draw against Gala Fairydean Rovers in their other League Cup match. It was not one-way traffic for Berwick as in the previous matches between the teams earlier this season. Wilson had set up Vale to be more defensive as the match at Gala showed. With both teams finding their feet, it took just over twenty minutes before there was a real shot on goal. Denholm found the target, but the Vale keeper easily gathered. Rangers started to create more chances and Heeps curled an effort just over the bar from 20 yards. Another chance fell Berwick's way shortly after when Harris slipped in McGrath, but he blazed the ball into the nearby park. Rangers appealed for a stonewall penalty on 40 minutes when the ball hit a Vale defender's arm, but the referee was giving nothing. A minute later, Berwick took the lead when McGrath put a 25-yard free kick into the top left-hand corner of the net beyond the fingertips of the Vale keeper. McGrath then tried his luck from even further out than the goal, but his shot this time flashed past left hand post. A minute before the interval, Denholm hit the crossbar and Barr just fails to turn the rebound in. From resulting corner McGrath, who was unmarked, headed just over. Just on the whistle, Baker headed over after rising above a defender from a Nelson cross. It was a slow first half, but Rangers turned up the pressure as the half went on and went in at the break a goal up. The second half started as did the first – slow. The home side had a couple of chances with Dyet shooting on the turn, but the ball trickled wide of McNeil's right-hand post. A shot from Stephen Anderson looked to be going in but it was headed it away by Pyper from three yards out. With 15 minutes remaining, Berwick brough on Allan and Stewart for Heeps and McGrath. A Baker free kick from the edge of the box was well saved by Mothersole, while at the other end McNeil saved down low to his left after Berwick fail to clear their lines. Ferguson replaced Harris for the last ten minutes during which Stewart was hauled down in the box, and it was by now was obvious that the referee was not keen on giving penalties.

Lewis Barr shoots on goal versus Gala Fairydean Rovers 26 Mar 2022

26. Late goal by Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park denied Gala Fairydean Rovers automatic progress into the of knock-out stages the Lowland League Cup. A solitary Lewis Allan goal just seven minutes from full time meant Gala faced a play-off with Vale of Leithen after finishing in the South East group stage with an identical record. Rangers on the other hand finished group winners with two wins out of two. Gala were unlucky not to take something from the game as they were the better team for large spells of the game. The game was certainly not a classic. Berwick gave a performance that was times painful to watch and did not look like scoring at all until the final 20 minutes. Rangers made just one change to the team which narrowly defeated Vale of Leithen with Ferguson replacing Cook. Gala were missing player/boss Martin Scott, who was injured. Berwick started well enough but there were no real opportunities to go for. After 15 minutes the game starting to even up, but there was still no real action to get fans off their seats. A few minutes later, however, Heeps made a wonderful turn loose his man and threaded a great ball through to McGrath who could not quite get on the end of it. Heeps was again in action, this time in defence, when a corner for the visitors was flicked on at the near post and he cleared off the line. Another good chance for Gala saw Murray turn in the box and shoot across goal, but the ball went just wide of the far post. Rangers replied with Barr driving forward and setting Baker free. Baker had the freedom of Shielfield Park but opted to play McGrath in rather than go for goal and the opportunity was wasted. On 41 minutes, Berwick won a free kick 25 yards out. McGrath grabbed the ball with intent after his superb strike against Vale of Leithen, but this week his shot hit the wall. A minute from the break, an excellent cross from Williamson laid it on a plate for McGrath, who just failed to send his header into the net from 3 yards out. Overall, it was an uneventful first half which saw the teams change ends level. Both teams had chances early in the second half. A corner was spilled by McNeil, but the ball was hooked clear by Baker before Gala could pounce. A few minutes later, a Gala back pass was short; Barr put McRitchie under pressure, but the keeper bounced it off him for a goal kick. Chalmers was lucky to get away with a yellow card on 67 minutes after smashing Ferguson in the face with a forearm. Rangers made a triple substitution on 70 minutes with McGrath, Baker and Heeps replaced by Allan, Stewart and Taylor. It had an immediate impact as Rangers began to press Gala back into their own half. However, Berwick had a lucky escape when a poor clearance let the visitors in on goal and Darge hit the crossbar with a vicious 25-yard shot. Into the last ten, Shiavone's name went in the referee's book after he chopped Denholm down as Berwick kept pressing, but the resultant free kick came to nothing but a corner. However, two minutes later, Rangers took the lead. Williamson sent in a deep cross to the back post. Steward headed back into the six-yard box and Allan flicked it into the net. The result was harsh on Gala, but it was a case of job done, and Rangers were through to the next round as group winners.

April

6. Berwick Rangers left K Park with a well-deserved point in a 1-1 draw with East Kilbride which saw Rangers miss late chances to take full points. It was a fantastic team performance played under horrendous conditions. East Kilbride took the lead through Old early in the first half, but after going close numerous times, Rangers deservedly equalised after the break before Taylor, Barr and McGrath missed chances to win it. The home side opened strongly, and Stevenson skimmed the outside of the post with a 30-yard free kick. Berwick the cut the home defence wide open and Allan was unlucky to see his shot shave the top of the crossbar. Denholm was chopped down on the edge of the box before Balatoni laid a neat ball into the path of Taylor, who fired just wide. East Kilbride took the lead on 18 minutes when Old gave McNeil no chance with a great downwards header following a well-taken free kick from wide by Stevenson. Five minutes later, the hosts had a huge shout for a penalty when Elliot was bundled in the box; the referee thought about it, but waved play on. In a near identical situation to the first goal, Old somehow put his effort agonisingly wide of the post. Each end was then visited in turn as both sides played fast attacking football. On 25 minutes, Baker flashed a powerful shot at goal after a great Denholm run, but Brennan made an excellent save. Two minutes later, Elliot went close with a spectacular left footed effort which curls just too high over McNeil's bar. Just before the interval, Taylor raced through to the touch line and cut the ball back to Baker, who could only put his first-timed effort over the bar. Berwick increased the tempo in the second half and threated more than East Kilbride. Brennan was tested from distance, but the keeper saved well, and the danger was cleared by Old. Neil McLaughlin missed a good opportunity for the home side when he found space in the box, but his shot was just wide. Barr went close from distance with a shot just past the post as Berwick pressed before a ball over the top on 73 minutes beat the offside trap and Taylor finished well to level the score. A minute later, Balatoni missed a sitter, as Rangers went within inches of taking the lead, and then he had a great header stopped by a last-ditch clearance on the line by Stevenson. Berwick then hit the side netting as they piled on the pressure. Taylor cut a neat ball back from the touchline, from which Nelson shot just wide. McGrath then put an acrobatic overhead kick just over the bar. The home side had a great chance to nick it with two minutes remaining, but they were foiled by a superb clearing header at the back post by Pyper. Rangers replied with a great chance of their own in the final minute when McGrath, through one on one with the keeper, somehow placed it wide. He broke clear of the home defence, but a last-ditch tackle seemed to deflect the ball agonisingly past the right-hand post and the game ended all square.

Stand-in keeper Lewis Baker in action versus Spartans 9 Apr 2022 (Photo Ian Runciman)

9. Berwick Rangers played without a recognised goalkeeper and only ten men for 52 minutes against The Spartans at Shielfield Park after Andy McNeil was red carded for a high blocking tackle well outside the box. Lewis Baker took McNeil's place between the posts and kept a clean sheet as a well-organised defensive display limited the visitors' chances. Berwick started brightly with Baker hitting the side netting with a powerful shot. However, little else of note happened until the twenty-minute mark when a superb 30-yard strike by Harris sailed just over. Good link-up play from Taylor and Allan saw Berwick press, but the danger was cleared by Spartans defence. Scobbie then slipped up in defence and let Smith play Russell through on goal, but McNeil produced an excellent save to keep the score level. On 38 minutes, Russell broke through on goal again; McNeil rushed out of his goal to clear but hesitated before the two players collided in a clumsy high challenge by the keeper. McNeil was shown a straight red and with no substitute keeper on the bench Baker took his gloves. From the resulting free kick Jones put the ball just wide of the post. Despite trying to play on Russell was clearly dazed and was replaced by top scorer Blair Henderson just before half-time as Spartans tried to cash in on Berwick's weakness. An Interesting second half was in prospect as the visitors pressed the ten-man Berwick defence hard from the restart, but Rangers held firm and Scobbie put a header just over following a floated Harris corner. With Spartans unable to break through the Berwick defence they twice made double substitutions looking for a way through. Rangers were working hard to keep the ball out of shooting range and a speculative free kick from near the halfway line by Burns almost caught Baker out as it bounced off the top of the crossbar. With ten minutes to go, Spartans finally got a shot on target, but Foster headed straight at the keeper and the game ended goalless after a great double save by Baker in the final minute denied Henderson and Newman.

16. Berwick Rangers travelled to the Falkirk Stadium for their final Lowland League match against East Stirlingshire, knowing they had to beat the Shire and hope Civil Service Strollers lose against University of Stirling in north Edinburgh to claim sixth spot and qualify for a place in next seasons SPFL Challenge Cup. Rangers played ex-Dumbarton keeper Chris Smith in goal for the suspended Andy McNeil. Pyper took over from Nelson and Balatoni filled the void. A speculative shot from distance by the hosts in the opening minute bobbled harmlessly wide as Shire tried to test the Berwick defence with balls over the top. Rangers replied with Taylor firing narrowly wide following a long throw into the box by Pyper. Offord got a shot on target for the Shire when a long ball played him behind the defence, but under heavy pressure from Scobbie his shot was blocked by Smith. Rangers began to press, and Ferguson put a dangerous cross in from the left, but Baker could not direct it towards goal, with two Shire players challenging. Berwick were having the better of territory and possession without any clear-cut chances, but Shire carried a real threat on the counter. Twenty-eight minutes saw a decent chance for the home side, but Offord lashed his parting shot into the side netting. Offord had better luck five minutes later when he met a ball over the top and held off the challenge of Scobbie and chipped it over Smith, who got a hand to it but could not prevent it entering the net. Play then became fragmented with niggly fouls in midfield as both teams battled hard and the half ended with the home side a goal ahead and Offord's pace the difference. Stewart replaced Barr for the second half and Berwick attacked from the start. Taylor evaded his marker on the right and crossed to Baker, whose flicked effort was just off target. Rangers were applying far more pressure in this half than the first, but the ball was just not dropping in the final third. Berwick then had two half chances in quick succession as they looked for an equaliser. First, Stewart got behind the defence, but his low cross evaded everyone, then Baker shot low from the edge of the box, forcing Connelly into a good save. A jinking run by Ferguson teed up Baker just outside the box, but he pulled his shot wide. Rangers finally got the goal their play deserved on 76 minutes when Stewart got behind the defence and kept his composure to slot the ball under the keeper. Offord had a huge chance to put the Shire back in the lead on 79 minutes when one-on-one with Smith, but he chipped the ball wide. The last ten saw end-to-end play. Taylor fired just wide from 20 yards, before Shire had a penalty claim turned away when Rodden made a theatrical dive in the box and was subsequently booked for his performance. With a minute of normal time remaining, East Stirling took the lead when a goal kick from Smith was head back by Greene from just inside the home half and Offord was quick to beat the offside trap and score his second of the match after rounding the keeper. Rangers kept fighting in added time and a brilliant Harris free kick was saved by the fingertips of the Shire keeper. However, Berwick came up short in a gripping final ten minutes and East Stirlingshire claimed sixth spot with the 2-1 win and Civil Service Strollers losing.

Lewis Baker in action versus East Stirlingshire 16 Apr 2022 (Photo Ian Runciman)

23. For the second time in three weeks, Berwick Rangers made the trip to K-Park to face East Kilbride, this time in Lowland League Cup Quarter Final. After a quiet but even first half, which ended goalless, East Kilbride gave a stunning second half performance to win 4-0. Berwick added goalkeeper Graeme Smith, on loan from Stenhousemuir, to their much-changed team for the match as Andy McNeil was still suspended. Nelson returned in defence with Pyper moving back to central role in place of Balatoni, who had returned to Clyde at the end of his loan spell. McGrath and Stewart started the match up front in place of Allan and Barr. The home side were quick off the mark with Victoria turning nicely inside the box and releasing a powerful shot after just 35 seconds with Smith saving well at the near post. Neil McLaughlin threaded a superb through ball to Elliott on 19 minutes with Smith rushing off his line to clear the danger. Berwick were under pressure but defended well and the last real action of the first half saw Owens hit a powerful volley just wide on 27 minutes. The second half started in the same manner as the first. East Kilbride were quick to throw an attack together, catching Berwick Rangers flatfooted. Elliott headed the ball down to Neil McLaughlin, who saw his effort finish high into the net just 28 seconds after the restart. East Kilbride doubled their lead on 51 minutes when Watt whipping in a stunning cross from the right for Neil McLaughlin to nod his second goal into the top corner. McLaughlin had the chance to grab himself a hat trick on 71 minutes, but his volley went wide of the post. It was 3-0 on 74 minutes when Stewart found himself completely unmarked in the Berwick box and had the simplest of tap-ins to score. McGuire completed the scoring when he broke through the Berwick backline with ten minutes remaining and coolly slotted the ball home in a one-on-one with Smith.

The defeat in the Lowland League Cup at East Kilbride brought the season to a premature close. Rangers had finished in eight place in the league, but achieved their target of a top six place when excluding the Celtic and Rangers B teams. A dip in form in the last few matches prevented them from finishing in the top four. However, progress was being made both on and off the pitch at Shielfield Park and work started immediately to strengthen the squad in the known areas of weakness for the 2022/23 season.