Betfred Middle Phase Round Up
The Group Stage of the Betfred Cup reached it's midpoint this weekend and suffice to say we can safely rule out making the knock-phase. We followed up the opening 7 - 0 home defeat to Ayr with a 6 - 0 defeat away to Stranraer - the scoring started in the 19th minute through Cameron Elliott before we suffered another of those goal rushes in our net just before halftime. Jordan Allan, Connor McManus and a Mark Stewart penalty in a seven minute spell ensuring the game was effectively dead as a contest at half-time. Stranraer added another two goals in the 63rd and 75th minutes through James Hilton and and another Stewart penalty. With two games left in the group it would seem the best we can hope for is a goal, to keep the score down an for the team to start to gel. It's a pretty disastrous start but I'm not sure any of us expected much more from this group given the events of the past few months. It still feels very much part of the phoney war before the league season starts.
A couple of photo galleries here:
For those of a masochistic bent, highlights here
In the other game in group G Ayr beat Falkirk 2 - 1 at Somerset Park to move to the top. Goals from McCowan and Geggan either side of one from McManus. Falkirk also had Durnan sent off early in the second half.
Result of the day came at the K-Park where fellow Lowland League side East Kilbride faced SPL side St Mirren. The Buddies shambolic pre-season continuing as they were held to a goalless draw before losing 6 - 5 on penalties. Both sides missing one in the initial five before Brownlie sealed it for EK following Cooke's miss for The Buddies. A result causing a degree of consternation amongst Berwick fans regarding the forthcoming league season when compared to our performances in the cup. The other game in the group saw Edinburgh City grab a 1 - 0 win over Dunfermline through an 87th minute Danny Handling goal. Despite this Dunfermline lead the group on 6 points with St Mirren second on 4 points, both having played three games. Wins for Edinburgh City in their final two games against Albion Rovers and East Kilbride could still see them top the group.
Elsewhere shocks were hard to come by. East Fife seeing of Stenhousemuir 2 - 0 with an Agnew double including a penalty. In the same group on Friday night Dundee United had a comfortable 3 - 0 home win over Cowdenbeath. Forfar came away from Montrose with a 4 -1 win, falling behind to an early Skelly goal before two Hilson penalties saw them take the lead and a double from Travis wrapped up the victory.
Group C had wins for Hibs and Elgin at home, Hibees 2 - 0 over Alloa and Elgin 3 - 0 over Stirling. The group remains wide open with Arbroath leading the way on 6 points and Elgin and Hibs on 5. Arbroath travel to Easter Road on Tuesday night for what could be the crucial game.
In Group D Dundee had their second 0 - 0 draw against lower league opposition followed by their second penalty shoot out victory, beating Peterhead 4 - 2 in the shoot out. Inverness CT had a 4 - 1 win over Raith Rovers in the same group to keep the pressure on Dundee and assuming ICT see of Cove the top of the group will be decided next Sunday when the two go head to head.
The action at Dumbarton was done and dusted in the first 22 minutes, the Sons taking an 8th minute lead before 4 goals in 12 minutes saw the points going Queen of The South's way. The previous evening had seen Motherwell take control of the group with a 4 - 0 win over Morton.
In Group F Hamilton and Partick fought out a 2 - 2 draw with the Accies winning the shoot out 6 - 5 converting all their penalties.
Today's games saw away victories for Ross County and Airdrieonians. Ross winning 2 - 1 in Perth thanks to a Billy McKay double giving them three wins from three. A win over Forfar on Wednesday night will see them seal the group and void a nail biting final day watching from the sidelines and hoping Forfar stumble against St Johnstone. Airdrieonians survived a late Clyde fightback to win 3 - 2, Goodwillie pulling two goals back for Clyde in the last fifteen minutes.