A THORN FROM A ROSE
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
SCOTTISH LOWLAND LEAGUE TUESDAY 30 JULY 2019
BERWICK RANGERS 3 BONNYRIGG ROSE 5
Shielfield Park on a summer Tuesday night with ominous grey skies threatening rain and a decent away support in the ground was the setting for our debut in the Lowland League. Our opponents Bonnyrigg are of course also new to the league but coming at it in a different direction. With Robbie Horn in the dugout and ex-players on the pitch to gave the game some added spice if it was needed.
We entered the game on the back of a set of Betfred games that taught us very little about our team and could have resulted in a damaging loss of confidence for a young group of players just getting to know each other and the pressure of not having scored a goal for what seemed an eternity ( 19 March for the pedants). Rose arrived almost as a mirror image - a settled, experienced team used to winning - and on the back of a 6-0 weekend win to start their season. Shielfield wasn't brimming with optimism from the home support prior to kick off and I'm not sure any of us really knew what to expect from the game. What we got was a thrilling end to end goal fest.
Both teams started brightly as the game swung from one end to the other. Healy hitting two half chances high wide and and handsome and Bonnyrigg already creating chances down their right flank with the two Jonathans - Brown and Stewart - linking up well and getting down the wing. Lewis Barr had a chance after being played through and running straight at goal but never really got the ball under control. Then it happened, it really happened, we scored. Grant Rose was played through in the seventh minute and as Rose defenders appealed for offside he slid the ball past the on rushing keeper. Bemused Berwick fans momentarily stood looking at each other as we tried to remember what to do when a goal went in.
Things almost got better when Rose keeper Weir failed to deal with a corner almost punching it into the back of his own net but it was scrambled away. Rose continued to create chances down their right flank as well as imposing themselves on us physically, Martynuik in particular winding up the home support with his challenges and sharp elbows. Rose were gradually creating more chances as Lee Currie started to have a greater influence on the game. The equaliser arrived in the 26th minute after more good work from Brown down the right. His shot on goal getting deflected and McGachie pouncing on it forcing it over the line despite Waugh's challenge.
That was the signal for the roof to cave in as Hunter swept the ball in the 29th minute following a quick one two with McGachie after another sharp break down the right. A further two minutes later and after a failure to properly clear a corner we were 3-1 down, Lee Currie sweeping in a lovely cross to find McGachie unmarked in the box who rose to head the ball powerfully past Brennan. To cap a miserable 8 minutes Rose were awarded a penalty after a tussle in the box - from where I was standing it looked soft, the Rose player going down under minimal contact, seeing the highlights I can see why it was given but still think it was soft. Lee Currie, who else, stepped up and it was 4-1.
We were handed a lifeline in injury time as Healy rose and squeezed a header in.
Second Half started with Rose continuing to create chances, Hunter looked dangerous and McGachie a constant menace either with the ball, with his powerful runs of the ball and with his remarkable inability to stay upright. Berwick kept going, creating chances but remaining vulnerable to the fast breaks of Rose. On the 60th minute with big appeals for a penalty from the home support the ref awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. As I wondered how anyone would get the ball over the giants in the wall Kevin Waugh stepped up and solved the conundrum by rolling it round the wall for 3-4. Now it looked like the game was really on.
The end to end action continued and in the 69th minute disaster struck. Brenann was adjudged to have picked up a pass back, a debatable decision as it wasn't immediately obvious that it was a back pass. However, the keeper had time to clear the ball and not take the risk. The resultant free kick was tapped to Currie and we all know what he can do with his left peg - 3-5.
We continued to press and home fans got their first glimpse of Yaw Osei. Gary Windrum and Kieran Jack came on and caused some problems with the odd half chance all to no avail.
It was a decent performance from a young team but we clearly need some more nous and experience on the pitch. Bonnyrigg used all their experience and physicality and bullied us of the ball,they are a big powerful team who work right to the edges of the rules but also play good, fast football. Brown, Stewart and Hunter impressed me especially and McGachie is one of those players who opposition fans hate but you wouldn't mind having in your team and Lee Currie still has the ability to pick the right ball at the right time.
For Berwick I thought Lumsden, Barr and Waugh all had good games. Healy and Rose worked hard but I'm still a little unconvinced. It was a decent performance and a cracking game which gives hope not only for where we are going but also for the entertainment we might see in this league. It needs to be a quick learning experience for the team as the games come thick and fast in the next month.
BERWICK RANGERS: Sean Brennan, Ali Forster, Chris Gray (Keiran Jack), Jack Cook, Kevin Waugh, Lewis Barr (Yaw Osei), Ciaran Brian, Cammy Lumsden, Daryl Healy, Grant Rose (Gary Windrum), Ali Smith
BONNYRIGG ROSE: Mark Weir, Daniel Baur, Jonthsn Brown, Lee Currie, Scott Gray (Lewis Turner 70m), Alan Horne, George Hunter, Neil Martyniuk, Keiran McGachie (Ross Gray 86m), Jonathan Stewart, Kerr Young
GOALS: Grant Rose 7m (BER)
Keiran McGachie 26m (BON)
George Hunter 29m (BON)
Keiran McGachie 31m (BON)
Lee Currie 34m (P) (BON)
Daryl Healy 45m +1 (BER)
Kevin Waugh 60m (BER)
Lee Currie 69m (BON)
BOOKINGS: Lewis Barr
Referee: Simon MacLean
Assistant Referee: Iain Gallacher
Assistant Referee: Warren Chadwick