Updated: Sep 17, 2019
SOUTH REGION CHALLENGE CUP SECOND ROUND
SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2019
TRANENT JUNIORS 2 BERWICK RANGERS 1
The Dream Team left Foresters Park with another cup exit following defeat to East of Scotland Premier Division leaders Tranent after what was by far their wort performance of the season in a poor match.
Once again Little had changed the team around, partly I assume to give some players a rest after what had been a busy few weeks. Dropping to the bench were Sean Brennan, Lewis Barr and Yaw Osei with Ricky Miller otherwise engaged on a family thing. Mark Walters was to make his proper debut as a Berwick player, whilst Euan Smith and Ciaran Chalmers returned to the starting line up with Dan Purves getting his first start following some decent performances as substitute.
I nearly missed the entrance to Foresters Park as it was tucked down a side street just off the High Street which initially only seemed to led to a shed company. The ground itself is a tidy enough non-league ground hemmed in by houses on one side behind the covered terrace and behind one goal. With other ends being uncovered standing areas. On entering it was clear that the wind could have an effect on the game.
Foresters Park - wind not shown
Berwick started the first half with the string wind behind them and had plenty of possession early on without giving ex-Shielfielder Ally Adams in the Tranent goal anything to really deal with. On pretty much their first foray Tranent were awarded a penalty, their left back cutting in to the box and being allowed to run across it looking for an opening before a unnecessary challenge from Waugh brought him down. Some thought it was outside the box but it looked in to me. The penalty wasn't the best but good enough and we were chasing the game. Not that you would really notice. We continued to have the bulk of the possession but continued to create very little. We got a break when awarded a penalty for handball in the box - very much a new rules handball as well. A little surprisingly Grant Rose stepped up to take, a bold decision given how much he had continued to frustrate supporters with his first half performance. What followed was quite possibly the worst penalty I have ever seen, I wasn't absolutely sure it had crossed the line. I'm not sure if he scuffed it or had tried to do a Panenka. Anyway we found ourselves level at half time and expecting to build on this having got back into it.
The main entertainment in the first half really came from the Tranent bench. Shand getting sent off after a lengthy confrontation with the referee and assistant on the touchline following a decision going against Tranent. It seems that the whole bench got involved with Ally Adams, by now substituted due to a shoulder injury, appearing to be giving Sean Brennan a fair degree of abuse. Berwick fans were certain Shand simply changed jumpers and returned to the touchline, denied by Tranent who say it was his brother Jimmy. The situation continued in the second half when there was a lengthy delay while the referee insisted Calvin/Calvin's brother or both of them left the side of the pitch.
The second half was appalling, we surrendered possession easily failed to string decent moves together and were beaten to the ball. Tranent came more and more into the game and looked far more of a threat. Eventually taking the lead with a shot from distance that may have moved a bit in the wind to deceive Walters but not that much. It was unfortunately a piece of poor goalkeeping which was a bit symptomatic of the overall performance. He seemed a little uncertain coming for the ball and this helped to create uncertainty in the defence which Tranent were only to keen to try and exploit. Their pacy number 11 caused us problems throughout the second half. We clearly missed Ricky Miller but I still think we would have struggled in this game even with him on the pitch. We tried to exert pressure in the last fifteen to ten minutes but only had a couple of genuine goalscoring chances. The substitute keeper would have been busier if he'd stayed on the bench and only really had one save to make and they cleared one of the line but it was all too little far too late.
Resting some players made sense, we need Lewis Barr fresh and fit for the upcoming league games and we can't keep going to Ricky Miller to save the day. While Dan Purves deserved his starting place and did his best in a poor performance from the team. Healy worked hard with little reward or support and really there was nothing else to report. I'm not sure Chalmers is quite at full fitness yet but he's bringing a bit of grit to the team. Euan Smith does it in flashes but needs to stop arguing with the referee over every decision that goes against us. Forster, Waugh and Brian are steady. There's also a lack of creativity when the chips are down. Saturday was easily the poorest performance of the season with no real redeeming factors, the other games we have had periods where we have shown promise and you can see what we are trying to do, Saturday had none of that. The wind didn't effect the game that much and we should have been able to use it to our benefit in the first half as Tranent did in the second (even though it had dropped a little).
We now enter a difficult run of four fixtures, I don't even want to look beyond that at this stage, and it's difficult to see where the league points are going to come from in these games.
TEAMS:BERWICK RANGERS: Mark Walters, Ciaran Brian, Kevin Waugh, Jack Cook, Euan Smith (C) (Lewis Barr), Cammy Lumsden, Ali Forster, Daryl Healy, Grant Rose (Yaw Osei), Dan Purves, Ciaren Chalmers (Ali Smith)
Subs not used: Gary Windram, Jack Wright, Ali Smith, Yaw Osei, Lewis Barr, Kieran Jack
GOALS: Stephen McDonald (13m P) (TJ)
Grant Rose (33m P) (BRFC)
Andy Jones (55m) (TJ)
SENT OFF: Calvin Shand (Manager) (TJ)
Referee: Gavin Ross