Updated: Aug 10, 2019
THE TUNNOCKS CARAMEL WAFER CHALLENGE CUP FIRST ROUND
TUESDAY 6 AUGUST 2019
BERWICK RANGERS 1 RANGERS COLTS (U21s?) 2
A wet Tuesday night saw the mighty Rangers of Berwick play host to their minor namesakes from Glasgow, albeit the Colts side or the U21s depending which fixture list you read. I believe that officially there are no longer Colts and that they are now more traditionally known as under 21s. Of course that's not the main issue around titles with the Challenge Cup in a social media sensation adopting the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer branding and to the delight of all right thinking fans handing out said product at the turnstiles.
The main surprise for Berwick fans on the arrival was news of a new signing in the the shape of Ricky Miller from BSC Glasgow (initial impressions of that shape being that he may have had a few too many of the sponsors product) who went straight into the team at the heart of the defence. 29 year old Miller has had a peripatetic career around the Lowland League and brings bags of experience to our young squad. The shocks continued when my pal on the terrace suddenly realised it was Miller who had painted his windows last year (the frames obviously). The match also saw Yaw Osei make his starting debut.
The other Rangers number 7 also raised a few eyebrows as he looked a bit older than the rest of the team and looked a player even just from the way he carried himself on the pitch. A quick bit of checking revealed that this was the Albanian international (he played three minutes against Italy, so that counts) and two million pound signing last summer Eros Grezda. Quite possibly making his final appearance as he heads to France, it's unclear if he insisted on playing as turning out at Shielfield on a Tuesday night had been a long held childhood dream in his home in Kosovo. It's a sobering thought to think that the money paid for him and to him in wages would fund our playing budget for many a season, nothing emphasises the gulf from the top of the SPFL to the Lowland League more than an expensive flop. A gulf further highlighted by a Rangers bench in pristine bright orange (no comment) and more coaching support staff than you would think necessary.
On the pitch I wasn't immediately certain what defensive formation we had settled for with Miller's introduction but it seemed to settle into a three man defence with Chalmers playing in a defensive midfield role. The other Rangers were to score twice in what was a more entertaining first half than I expected. A 23rd minute penalty from Mebude after he had gone down in the box - the general consensus being that it was a 'soft' penalty - opening the scoring. The lead was doubled by McPake on 31 minutes after he turned Cammy Lumsden on the wing and carried on into the box sending his shot past Brennan - with some in the home support appealing for offside, Brennan may also think he should have done better.
The youngsters from the West were pacy and certainly showed the benefit of young kids getting good full time coaching, Graeme Murty clearly does a decent job there it just seems a shame that for many any route to the top will be blocked by expensive buys, in fairness to the expensive buy on the pitch he didn't show any signs of sulking and had some decent moments of play. From our point of view Miller seemed to bring a bit more organisation and calmness to the defence, a bit of composure that has been missing at times so far this season. He also showed that he had decent passing ability and pinged a few decent balls around the park. Overall we competed well and there are definite signs of things slowly coming together.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first half with the pace of the youngsters at times fully testing our defensive abilities. The game looked over in 67 minutes when Osei's full debut was marred by a red card. Again opinion on the terraces was divided with a lot feeling it was a fifty fifty ball he was entitled to go for. Whilst agreeing with that I do think he was overstretched and the studs were up, having since seen the highlights I can still see why he was red carded but it does seem a little harsh. The tackle just before didn't look too clever though. Anyway the club clearly think it was harsh and have appealed the decision.
Strangely after the sending off we probably had our best spell of the game culminating in Dan Purves tuning the ball in after the keeper made a hash of dealing with a Lewis Barr cross. Sadly that was to be the end of the scoring and there will be no more free caramel wafers at the turnstiles this season.
All in all it wasn't that bad a performance in what was a surprisingly decent game. We showed some decent touches and some good movement. Lewis Barr had another good game but he really needs to stop picking up yellow cards, Miller looks like exactly what our young team need and don't be fooled by his bulk (think more Mark Cowan than John Clark), I like Cammy Lumsden going forward but less sure of him defensively and with a few more games under his belt Chalmers should really start to settle. On the other side looking for future stars I did like Mebude he had great pace and movement and a good touch and it's not hard to see him progress in the game.
BERWICK RANGERS: Sean Brennan, Kevin Waugh, Ciaren Chalmers, Jack Cook, Ricky Miller, Lewis Barr, Dan Purves (Kieran Jack 74m), Cammy Lumsden, Yaw Osei, Grant Rose (Gary Windram 72m), Ali Forster (Ali Smith 90+2m)
Subs not used: Ciaran Brian, Daryl Healy, Ryan Kidd
RANGERS U21s: Kieran Wright, Jordan Houston, James Maxwell, Lewis Mayo (Daniel Finlayson 45m), Rhys Breen (Cole McKinnon 90+1m), Jack Thomson (Nathan Patterson 81m), Eros Grezda, Jamie Barjonas, Adedapo Awokoya-Mebude, Josh McPake, Kai Kennedy
Subs not used: Aidan McAdams, Joao Balde, Murray Millar, Alex Lowry
GOALS: Adedapo Awokoya-Medube 24m (P) (RU21)
Josh McPake 31m (RU21)
Dan Purves 71m (BER)
BOOKING: Lewis Barr (BER)
Grant Rose (BER)
Jamie Barjonas (RU21)
SENT OFF: Yaw Osei (BER)
Referee: Colin Whyte
Assistant Referee: Craig Ferguson
Assistant Referee: Greig Haynes