St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters would like to offer their best wishes to Steven Notman and Jonny Fairbairn who are moving on from the club. Captain Steven Notman is leaving the club after 11 years, 13 goals and over 300 appearances and Jonny Fairbairn is off to Coldstream as player manager. We wish the guys all the best and thank them for their service to the club.
well it was off to Broadwood for myself, my dad and tom for the final game of the season. We were also meeting up with our friend John (Clyde fan) who was making his own way there. We arrived just before 2pm, nice and early as usual and headed to the bar in the ground. We bumped into See (our injured striker) in the bar and I approached him for a bit of a chat. He’s a nice guy and seemed happy to talk to us about his recovery and the impact it’s had on him working. Driving is off limits for now, he has a shot of his dad’s car because it’s an automatic but it’s a bit too much of a struggle for the time being. After my dad’s interrogations he hobbled off to the changing room to the rest of the squad. He did say that he’s finding being at Berwick to be good for him, a good group of lads friendly and welcoming. That’s a nice thing to hear. We hung around to watch the end of the Liverpool v Stoke game then headed to the stand. It was Tom’s first time at Broadwood so another ground to add to the list.
well I was tasked with writing the match report for this game so my synopsis is a bit different than usual.
Saturday, April 28th, 2018 SPFL 2
CLYDE 1 BERWICK RANGERS 2
It was a game Clyde were needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, it didn’t turn out the way they hoped.
Clyde started on the attack forcing a corner in the first minute and a shot on goal. It was looking like the start of an assault for Berwick as Clyde looked for the big win they might require to take a playoff spot from Stenhousemuir. But it was Berwick who struck first, Jordan Orru’s Cross found Jack Hamilton who slotted home neatly with a left footed shot in the 7th minute.
Clyde continued to press but were now on the back foot looking for an equaliser. A few minutes later Barry Cuddihy (Clyde) worked his way forward to have a shot from a difficult angle but the shot went wide to the right. Clyde continued to press and on the 22 minute mark Mark Lamont (Clyde) had shot from outside the box but Brennan saved it comfortably. This was the start of a surge for Clyde who had a further 4 shots on goal in the next 10 minutes.
Berwick handled the pressure, The defence holding up well to the Clyde attack. Notman then picked up a yellow in the 33rd minute for a clumsy challenge. A few moments later Paul Willis found the space to have a shot from outside the box narrowly missing the top left corner. Clyde pressed further with David Goodwillie (Clyde) having a shot on the 48 minute mark narrowly missing the target.
Berwick continued to soak up the pressure and Robert Wilson should have made it 2 for Berwick on the 40 minute mark but his header from very close range missed to the right following a well taken Willis corner. In the last few minute of the first half Jack Cook picked up a yellow card and Willis had a further shot on goal that was saved by the Clyde keeper.
The second half started with Clyde still pressing, Berwick conceding 3 corners in the first 12 minutes under the Clyde attack. The Berwick defence were holding under the pressure until the 57th minute when Clyde equalised. Jack Boyle (Clyde) with a shot from close range finding the bottom left corner of the Berwick net.
Clyde’s celebrations were to be short lived however. In the 62nd minute Jack Hamilton headed home from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. The ball supplied by Jordan Orru with a well placed and weighted cross to make it 2 for Berwick.
Notman was then shown a straight red in the 73rd minute for a lunging tackle, reducing Berwick to 10 men. Not the ending that Notman would have wanted for his final game, leaving the club after 11 years, 13 goals and over 300 appearances. Martin McNiff (Clyde) and Jordan Orr both picking up yellow cards in the minutes to come.
Clyde pressed on with the extra man advantage winning 4 corners in what remained of the half. Berwick defence coped well with the loss of Notman and Steven Thomson worked his way into a close shot from a difficult angle that missed to the right.
3 minutes of added time passed and the final whistle blew. A good win for Berwick who despite not having as much possession or shots on goal looked the better team and came away with the 3 points.
Starting XI: Brennan, Fleming, Wilson, Todd, Cook, Notman, Willis, Phillips, Orru, Murrell (Lavery 75), Hamilton (Thomson 83). Subs: McCrorie, Simpson, Fairbain.
Possession Clyde 62% Berwick 38%
Shots on goal Clyde 16 Berwick 6
Shots on target Clyde 4 Berwick 3
Corners Clyde 9 Berwick 4
Fouls Clyde 3 Berwick 9
well I didn’t think I would get to this one. But jury duty finished early and gave me a free afternoon so off to Berwick for the game. I picked up my dad along the way and headed down to Berwick about 3pm to avoid the traffic around Edinburgh that would build up later. We arrived in Berwick around 5pm and stopped off at the pet shop and then the petrol station before seeking out dinner. Dinner was to be had at Amrans on hide hill. A delicious curry was had for dinner, it’s well worth a visit. Tummies full we were off to Shielfield.
Arrival at Shielfield.
we arrived at Shielfield around 6:30pm and headed to the bar with no name. We we greeted with the usual warm welcome and had a drink and a chat. I was then asked if I could lend a hand in the shop so we went through and into the ground just before 7pm. I then headed to the shop to help for a bit. I met a few nice folk there, a ground hopper from Norway and a nice lad from Edinburgh who recognised me from my blogs ( if you are reading this contact me and I’ll send you some small gifts). My servitude at an end I returned to my dad waiting patiently in the stand ready for kick off.
well what a start! Stenhousemuir were looking for the win to seal their place in the playoffs but it didn’t work out for them. It was a battle of a game, scrappy for the most but we scored twice to go 2-0 up. I was sure we were on a winner here, perhaps Stenhousemuir would get 1 back in the second half but 2 before halftime was a kicker. At the start of the game I would have been happy with a draw but losing a 2 goal lead isn’t t ideal......
The second half was more back and forth, Stenhousemuir were clearly after a goal to secure their playoff spot but it wasn’t to be, they will have to wait for the last game of the season to see if they are in the playoffs.
Game finished and it was back in the car and off home, arriving back just before midnight.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters are delighted to be an a position to purchase a raffle ticket for the shirt sponsorship for season 2018/19. In addition to this purchase we shall also be maintaining our banner in the stadium and the advert in the program. We will also be continuing our player sponsor of Sean Brennan (if he decides to stay with the club) and will also be maintaining our black and gold bond number (77) for the coming season and continuing with our numbers in the weekly scheme.
In 2017 the competition was on the verge of folding, however an injection of effort and social media awareness saw it continue. The Just Giving page last season raised over £1500 towards the worthy causes.
Our award this season was for outstanding performance. Steven Thomson was given this award for his stunning goal against Cowdenbeath in January. It was an away game in the driving rain and a shot was unleashed from about 35-40 yards that rocketed into the net. An absolute cracker. Unfortunately it wasn’t captured on film but was witness by myself and my dad who felt it was a contender for the award.
The weekend started on Friday night. Gordon, Ruth, Pippa and I travelled down after work for this one. We were staying over so my dad wasn’t with us. we arrived around 9pm. Gordon and I then headed off to the Curfew for a pint. On Saturday we were expecting a friend (also called Ruth) who was coming down on the train from Edinburgh. This would be her first Berwick game and her first time in Berwick. We collected her from the station and went back to Spittal, a look at the beach and an ice cream then a walk into the town for lunch at the outlook down by the quayside. Lunch finished it was time for the walk to Shielfield.
We arrived just before 2pm and headed to the bar with no name. The bar is now looking good with the memorabilia from fans decorating the walls. We had a drink and a chat and I went through to hand over our award that I would be presenting later in the afternoon. Drinks finished it was into the ground to soak up the “atmosphere” before kick off. Ruth (my wife) wanted a hoodie so we popped into the club shop to barter with the shopkeeper... a deal was agreed and the hoodie was purchase. (At half time I went back to buy one for myself).
Finally a win! I think everybody was expecting a win here so the pressure was on. A win has been on the cards for a while. It was a decent first half from Berwick with Todd scoring the goal. The guy has done really well since coming to the club in January from the junior game. He should be really proud with his performances and progression in the team. The second half was a bit flatter. But Cowdenbeath didn’t give us much concern. A second goal would have been nice to take the pressure off but we won in the end and the team overall put in a good shift. we’ve had plenty of draws lately and were due a win, a narrow 1-0 victory will do! It also pushed up above Edinburgh City in the table so that should and another few thousand pounds to the coffers for next season if we can finish in that position. Edinburgh would need to win their last game away to Peterhead and we would need to lose our 2 games (Stenhousemuir on Tuesday at home, Clyde on Saturday away). So it’s looking good for 8th (out of 10). Still I have high hopes for next season. We look like having a decent core selection of player still on the books and some of the January signings seem to be bedding in well. I’m also hoping for a decent run in the betfred cup that starts in July. A decent run in this for Berwick would to not finish last in the group stage. It’s a cup designed for the small teams to never progress but it’s got a lot of money attached to it.
After the game it was off to the awards. Ruth and Ruth left with Pippa, heading for the train station. Gordon and I headed to the black and gold. The award ceremony is a nice end to the season and we had an award to present. Our award was for outstanding performance. Steven Thomson was given this award for his stunning goal against Cowdenbeath in January. It was an away game in the driving rain and a shot was unleashed from about 35-40 yards that rocketed into the net. An absolute cracker. Unfortunately it wasn’t captured on film but was witness by myself and my dad who felt it was a contender for the award.
It was a long day on this Saturday. My day started by leaving the house at 7:30am to take my car for a service in Dunfermline then collecting my dad and Gordon on the way up to Montrose. I was under no illusion that we would get the 3 points from this game but you never know. I had secretly hoped we would, all fans do don’t they? We had never been to Montrose before but it was a relatively easy drive and it was a nice sunny spring day. We arrived at around 2pm and got parked in the car park just next to the ground.
the game and a bad injury.
the game wasn’t a bad one, we were under pressure for sure but we had a few decent chances, unfortunately we never manage the final touch. We had a goal chopped off for offside but I was unsure if it was offside or not. It wasn’t the hammering by the league leaders that some had predicted. The stats on the BBC and SKY sports are off for this game. It claime Berwick had 1 shot on goal. This simply wasn’t true. The biggest incident of the game was the tackle on the Berwick striker Ousman See. I never fully saw the tackle from my vs rage point but it was soon apparent the striker was in tremendous pain. Shouts from the field to call an ambulance quickly confirmed this. It was an excruciating wait for the striker as the ambulance took almost an hour to arrive. See was traested on the pitch by paramedics and then was taken off and into the waiting ambulance. The game then restarted after a short warm up.
See injury update.
The club released an update on the injury later in the evening. The injury has been confirmed as a broken Tibia and dislocated ankle. Terrible news for the lad. As I have pointed out before these guys are part time so his work will be effected. I don’t know what his job is, I’m hoping it’s something sympathetic to his injury. Not a zero hours contract or any such thing. Our thought are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.
It’s Montrose away on Saturday and I’m under no illusion that we will get a win here. A draw here would be a great result. Montrose are sitting at the top of the table with Peterhead close behind. Montrose have just played Cowdenbeath on Tuesday night and comfortably taken the 3 points. It’s another game chalked off the list and helps keep the gap between us and them. We are also currently on the same points as Edinburgh City with 2 games in hand over them. Social media is awash (if the half dozen or so folk who seem to comment can be classed as “awash”) with the usual comments that surround Berwick at this time of year. Has the manger done enough etc. But Berwick is as Berwick is. It’s difficult to attract players to the club, the geographic location has it’s impact but the low wages don’t help either. There also seems to be the boardroom fighting that is mentioned on social media at this time of year, sad if true but nothing is going to change. No Russian billionaire is coming in. How much money would the club need? (we are £90k in debt). Would £100k be enough? Well that would just clear the debt. So £150k? To give an extra bit to build on? Who has that lying about. No businessman will invest that. You would need to have a lot of cash so that it’s nothing to you. That’s not going to happen to a small town football team. I guess that there is always going to be a team in this position and unfortunately it’s Berwick.
My tuppence worth on the manager.
IIn my opinion Robbie has done a good job as manager. The squad he inherited appeared out of balance. We seemed to have at least 2 squads worth of defenders and nearly all the midfielders seemed to be defensive. At one point last summer I wasn’t even confident Berwick would have enough player signed to field a full team! It will take time to adjust and there will be bumps along the way. Everybody is a critic but somehow they seem to lose sight of the fact that it’s a part time club with part time players and with a part time manager (the previous manager was full time don’t forget). Yes we need a couple of strikers for next season, I’m fairly sure Robbie is aware of that but it’s difficult to find them with wages comparable to some of the junior league teams. The major attraction I guess is that Berwick are in the “proper football league” but what do I know.
I have heard suggestions that we should be getting players from the leagues above. I would rather see younger lads or lads hungry to play at a higher level than the bench warmers coming from further up. I’m not saying they are all like that but I think a better drive and attitude will be gained from players “stepping up”. I suggested that Robbie’s experience in the lower leagues might give him some leads on decent lads wanting to prove themself. But again what do I know.
Robbie hasn’t had a full year to put his squad together and with the playing budget I don’t know what players will be coming. Loan players are always an option but they have to be decent. The problem with decent loan players is that they will generally be off again in January leaving a hole in the team to be filled and a squad to gel together.
and while I’m here.....
the ten team league is just a nightmare. In all leagues there are good teams, not so good and poor. In a ten team league it’s a stark contrast. Playing each other 4 times just means the strong teams get more points. There is no middle ground, no safe solid mid table. Yo can beat Montrose or Peterhead but that’s alright there’s another 3 goes for them to take the points off of you. There’s no teams at roughly the same level for you to battle with and have a comfortable season It’s either playoffs for promotion or playoffs for the drop. Constant pressure where mistakes are very costly. If the proposal to add 2 colt teams to the league goes ahead it will add a further headache to the whole setup.