I’ve been down in Berwick all week, so not far to travel today. It’s been a busy week catching up with family and friends. The highlight of the week was a phone call from Ruth’s dad. One of his kitchen cabinets had come off the wall! The kitchen was only fitted a few months ago! We went round to find a large double wall unit still attached at one corner and resting on a biscuit barrel keeping the whole thing up. It had also mashed the cooker hood too. 3hrs later I had managed to fix it all. The wall cabinet was originally put up with screws and rawl plugs that would barely take the weight of the cabinet empty, never mind full. The kitchen was fitted by a “professional”. That was New Year’s Eve’s excitement for us, a few broken glasses but no major damage.
So game day and I was on camera duty. I got up to Shielfield around 1:45pm, had a chat with a few folk (including Eric Tait) and set up the camera. I though about going back to the car for my gloves but decided not to. That was a mistake, it was cold on the hands as the temperature dipped. I couldn’t even put my hands in my pockets, the camera work prohibits that. I grabbed a cup of tea, chatted to a few more folk and then it was time for the game.
Berwick were playing a pressing game that saw them caught offside 3 times in the first half. Berwick were shaky at the back and Gala had most of the half and used this to their advantage as they scored the first and only goal of the half. Berwick unable to clear their lines saw the ball land at the feet of Gala player Galbraith who slotted it home to give Gala the lead. Darren Smith suffered a head injury that saw play stopped for some time and he was replaced with Euan Smith. Berwick were unable to take the few chances they had and the half ended 1-0 with Gala looking the team on top.
The second half started much in same way, Berwick struggling to read the game but they managed to adjust and create a few more chances. Waugh close with a free kick and Chalmers dragging a shot wide. Striker Yaw Osei-Opoku found himself on the edge of the box and slipped past the Gala defenders with a brilliant run and shot to level the game at 1-1 to the delight of the Berwick fans. Berwick were pressing again looking for the win when Gala had a shot to the top left corner that looked certain to put Gala in the lead saved by the Berwick keeper Brennan. The resulting corner however saw the Berwick defence unable to clear their lines again and the ball was pushed out to Galbraith who put it into the back of the net to give a Gala the lead again. 2-1. To the credit of Berwick they kept on the attack, something that has been missing in previous weeks and during one pressing move late in the game Gala were reduced to 10 as their player picked up a second yellow. Berwick were still on the attack and Euan Smith in the 89th minute burst through the middle and took a shot that levelled the game 2-2. With just a few added minutes to go both teams pressed for the win but the final whistle saw Berwick ending the game 2-2, the same scoreline as the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Berwick next game will be away to Vale of Leithen at Victoria park on Saturday the 11th of January. Kick off 2pm.
I travelled down on the Friday for this one, I’ll be down for the week so no dad with me. He’s had a pretty bad cold so he wouldn’t be allowed out anyway. He was really bad on Christmas Eve and we had to go down and sit with him fo a few hours until his fever broke. Ruth and I went down on Christmas Day and took him and my mum Christmas dinner, they were going to come to us but understandably they weren’t going to come. My dad was much much better, sat up for a couple of hours and managed his prawn cocktail and some Christmas dinner. He’s now locked up at home under my mother’s watchful eye.
I was unsure it the game would be on, the rain hammered down as we travelled from Fife, my windscreen wipers were at maximum from the Queensferry Crossing to just outside Berwick, quite a wind too. But the game was on.
A trust meeting first though. We will need to get some articles for the upcoming Trust magazine and a few thoughts on raising funds. All levels of funds from dinners to smaller regular events/activities.
I was in hospitality for this game, a booking for 20 people for a 60th birthday party. Followed by a surprise party. I baked a cake and some cupcakes for the party.
We met in the Blenheim in Spittal first, pie and chips organised, then to the game, pie agh halftime for those who wanted it then a pie and peas was arranged for after the game! A 3 pie day for some. I resisted the 3 pie affair though just the 1 for me!
Ive also found myself in the position of writing a match report. Something that can be used in the local paper. Apparently if something is submitted it will be printed. I wrote a few a couple of seasons ago but I think I’ll get away with shorter reports than before, I’ve seen the local paper. They lift “stories” and pictures from Facebook and Twitter and cobble them together.
Berwick were in need of the points as they faced Caledonian Braves at Shielfield park. The previous encounter with the Braves earlier in the season ended in a 2-2 draw. A late strike from the Braves securing a point in that encounter. Berwick sitting in the lower half of the table would welcome 3 points.
It’s been a tough season as Berwick adjust to life in the lowland league. Coming into the game Berwick had agreed the transfer of Daryl Healy and Ricky Miller to lowland league rivals East Kilbride.
Despite the player transfers Berwick played well and secured the vital 3 points required. Striker Yaw Osei-Opoku scoring the crucial goal in the first half, one on one with the keeper he slotted the ball home into the bottom right corner.
Caledonian Braves weren’t without threat and had a few good chances but the young Berwick defence who many though would be missing the support from recent transfer Ricky Miller handled it well. The Berwick midfield held up well and Lewis Barr was a constant threat to the Caledonian Braves throughout the afternoon.
Keeper Sean Brennan pulled off some good stops in goal to keep the Braves at bay as Berwick went on to end the game 1-0 victors.
Next up is another home game at Shielfield on Saturday the 4th of January as Berwick take on Gals Fairydean Rovers. Kickoff 3pm.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. It’s been a difficult time off and on the pitch but hopefully things can start to progress. Times ahead will be tough but there alway many worse off than most of us.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters have made several donations this festive period, Help the Homeless in Glasgow, Several shoeboxes for the Berwick shoebox appeal and a donation to the people’s kitchen in Newcastle to name a few. Thanks to all who have contributed and a Merry Christmas to you all.
A small donation from St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters to The people’s kitchen of £50 to help those less fortunate than ourself.
“The People's Kitchen support hundreds of friends across the city every day.
At Christmas, your fiver donation will mean that friends can enjoy their dinner in good company.
Back to Forthbank, the home of Stirling Albion and Stirling University and in the top few “coldest I’ve been” football grounds. I’ll be takin my friended Gordon and perhaps my dad if I can track him down. I wasn’t going to go to this one, Christmas party at work last night but I only had a couple of pints be fore the drowsy ness of a long day set in so I substituted beer for Spanish ham, pizza and waffles...... first thing to do today’s though is head off back to work to pick up the car. We got a taxi home last night, 6 mile trip and £25! (Well £23.45. But keep the change). I’m sure the last time I got a taxi it was about a tenner. That may have been about 15 years ago though....
A lift into work to collect the car and tidy up a bit before heading home and getting an all day breakfast at the cafe in the village starts the day off. I’ll meet Gordon at my folks about 1pm and head to Stirling. It should only take just over an hour so we should be there in plenty of time. There’s ample parking at Forthbank stadium and I would expect the crowd to be less than a Stirling Albion game.
So my dad wasn’t allowed out. Too cold for him so my mum said. To be fair it was cold and it got colder as the game went on. The rain was pretty torrential on the drive to and from the game, a bit of sleet on the way back too along with a mystery tour because I was following the Satnav and missed a few junctions......
we had the chances but again we failed to take them. It’s annoyingly frustrating. Take a bloody shot. Stop pissing about on the edge of the box or down by the corner flag. A bit of direct play is required. We need a striker. Yaw isn’t cutting it. I don’t like to criticise but he’s simply not good enough, his positioning is dreadful, his first touch isn’t improving and his shooting (when he dose) is pretty woeful. Why is he standing on the touch line inside his own half? Get up the bloody front. Why are you taking throw ins? Get up the bloody front. Why are you on the wing crossing a ball in? Get up the bloody front! I think you get the picture here. If you think you’ve been fouled but the ref doesn’t think so and play is not stopped get on your bloody feet and chase the game. Don’t sit on your ass on the grass looking around, nothing’s going to happen. I honestly could have played better at his age, I didn’t take football seriously but at least I could hit the ruddy goals. It’s too late now though, I’m too old and I’m still in recovery from my back injury so Berwick will never see the majesty of “the rubber hammer” as they used to call me.... oh and I could pass a ball too, something that I never though was actually a skill but it turns out it’s actually something that people struggle with. Yes I was playing at a lower level but putting the ball into the box doesn’t change, I always put it where it was to go, never hammered over the top past the opposite corner flag or hoofed upfront a like a cannonball that nobody had a chance to collect. I was predominantly a left back too!
The really frustrating thing is that we pretty much dominated but done nothing with it. Stirling won a free kick and slung it into the box and within the congestion at the rear post the ball was in the net. We have some decent players but I fear they will now start giving up, it must be frustrating for them too. Lewis Barr put in a great shift again. I think he should be given a chance upfront a striker. I think he would work well there given the chance, what we currently have isn’t working and I don’t think anybody would complain if he was moved upfront for a game or two. Another narrow defeat full of promise but no points.
Civil service strollers next week and I doubt I’ll go. It going to be cold and the prospect of navigating Edinburgh on the last weekend before Christmas doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not a city boy and hate driving in them. There are also very few seats (for my dad) and the seats often have an obstructed view because they are at ground level and people stand at the railing in front of them (from the internet). I also don’t expect Berwick to beat them. I will be at the following two games that are both at home though but my dad will be at home for these two. His next game (weather permitting) will probably be Berwick v East Kilbride on the 25th of January.
A short one this week, busy weekend wrapping up what seems like a million Christmas presents and all the running about that Christmas drops on the doorstep
It was a. trip down with my dad for this game with a boot full of Christmas presents for my wife’s family who are in Berwick. A Santa run for the day. Once that was sorted it was to Foulis in Tweedmouth for the all day breakfast before heading to Shielfield. Hospitality was booked for this game but I would also be cameraman too. Alan doesn’t get anywhere near enough credit for this. Recording the game takes you out of it somewhat, not able to interact with anybody really. Watching. The game on a tiny screen. He then does the editing too. So thanks Alan for all the effort. It’s very much appreciated.
Berwick are fielding a smaller pool of players at the moment due to various injuries but had the ex Berwick player Darren Smith was in the squad as a trialist. Manager Ian Little commented “We are delighted to have brought Darren back to Berwick. With his experience and calmness on the pitch we think he will be an outstanding addition to help our young squad. He will also play a big part in our backroom staff and will certainly bring a lot of qualities to the club”. Gretna took the lead in the first half after a defensive mixup saw Berwick’s keeper fumble the shot from the Gretna number 9 to make it 1-0. Berwick equalised in the first half when a penalty for handball was confidently dispatched by Ricky Miller to level the game. Halftime 1-1.
Berwick dominated the second half pushing for the win and creating many chances that they were unable to convert. Gretna threatened on occasion but the Berwick defence soaked up the pressure.
Darren Smiths introduction at halftime seemed to be the experience the young Berwick squad were needing and Smith scored the winner with a looping ball into the top corner after cutting inside and beating two players to secure 3 valuable points for Berwick. Smith signed for the club after the game to become a Berwick player once more having left Berwick in 2005.
Full time 2-1.
Berwick next opponents will be an away game to Stirling University.
It was a trip down of the Friday for this one. My dad tucked up at home. I was unsure if the game would go ahead anyway, it was so cold. My wife was due to be marshalling a race for Tweed striders on the Sunday morning so were we’re planning on staying over anyway. This was a fixture free Saturday but the BSC game was a midweek postponement. I had various things to do in Berwick, visit the foodbank to drop off some selection boxes (40 of them), visit B.A.R.K to drop stuff off there (they were shut but I’ll try next week) and also dropping off some money for Berwick Cancer cars. I also picked up a barrel of beer from Bear Claw brewery for a Christmas party at work. A busy weekend.
I was expecting a hiding, damage limitation but we actually put up a decent performance. Sadly we still lost though and we are hovering around the bottom of the table. A place we don’t need to be. The game started with the ref requesting a kit change. The BSC fan I was talking to couldn’t understand what the ref was doing requesting a change of kits. BSC playing in their home kit (yellow) and Berwick in their away kit (green) was requested. There would have been no clash with BSC in Blue (their away) or yellow (their home) and Berwick in Black and Gold as far as I could see.
Anyway, kickoff time and in the 13th minute we have a straight red card. Puzzled faces all round, even the BSC fans were left wondering what happened. The ref had been ok up to that point, missed a few things that others might have picked up but that’s the nature of the game. We held on to end the half 0-0 and we put in a reasonable show to be fair. We are not where we want to be, that’s a given but we looked better than last week.
So the next step after a red card is usually for Berwick to give away a penalty (not related to the red card I might add) and we did just that. BSC score and we were left chasing the game. The ref was losing it a bit now though, decisions sliding on both sides. The BSC manager having a screaming match about an offside decision. The ball hit the ref twice and he never halted play, once took a deflection that lead to a dangerous BSC attack. BSC had a man sent off for dissent with about 10 minutes to go. A double yellow. Quite harsh I felt (although happy to see it as a Berwick fan to perhaps give us a chance at an equaliser). The ref couldn’t get the second yellow out of his pocket quickly enough.
Again points dropped though, another week of almost but almost doesn’t put points on the board. Next up Gretna 2008 at Shielfield. Gretna are sitting below us on 6 points to our 12. Surely we must add another 3 point on Saturday. The game should go ahead as the temperature is rising throughout the coming week and no rain is forecast.
I’ll be in Hospitality for that game and also on cameraman duties, so it will be a quick cup of tea at halftime for me then.
Well I done my prep work for this one, contacted East Stirling to ask about disabled parking and got a swift reply. Turns out the reply was wrong though and we were parked at the wrong side. Luckily it wasn’t busy and we managed to get parked closer to the open turnstile. I did ask a guy who was shutting a gate where we should go and the turnstile we were waiting at was the one he said, eventually I even went to reception and was told the same. We saw people disappearing down the other end so I went to investigate and found the open turnstile. A bit of signage wouldn’t go amiss. Still we manage to get in and let’s face it, we weren’t going to be short of a place to sit.....
It was myself, my dad and my friend Gordon for this one. Raining and cold we settled down for the game armed with teas and bovril. I have no idea what arrangements East Stirling have with Falkirk regarding ground sharing but you wouldn’t know East Stirling played there, there was nothing that I saw to indicate it from the outside. Inside there was a stand for merchandise though and program sellers, halftime draw tickets etc and more of a feeling that East Stirling were represented.
I was thinking we would get stuffed here and well, we did. 3-1. We gave away a penalty (couldn’t really work out what happened) and we were chasing the game. A cracking Header from Miller saw us go in at halftime 1-1 and some optimism for the second half though. I though we could actually go on and get another goal. What happened in reality is we collapsed. Overplaying passes, good runs forward but with nobody in support was particularly frustrating to see. We had chances but we didn’t take them. We are still scared to shoot. It’s becoming insanely frustrating to watch passes around the edge of the box where we ultimately lose possession. When the 3rd goal went in late one we upped and left. There could only have been a minute to go but my dad said “right, that’s enough” so off we went home in the lashing rain and wind.
We have some reasonable players (Miller surely must have done enough already to win all the end of season awards) but there’s something obviously not right. 13 games played and 12 points. Next up BSC Glasgow at Shielfield and I can’t see us picking up 3 points against them. I would dearly like to though.
A cold and wet Tuesday night and I was in Kelty with my dad. It’s not too far away from us so I had to go but I wasn’t expecting much from the game. We arrived in plenty of time as usual but shunned the disabled parking bays for other ones that were much closer to the entrance. Parking is in the community centre so the bays are really designed for them. The rain was coming down and the temperature dropping. We had a chat with a couple of Kelty fans and bought some programs and halftime draw tickets. A Bovril for my dad and a cup of tea for me and then off to the stand for a seat. A charge of £1 to access the seated stand seems a bit odd, it was the same at Cove Rangers last year. I didn’t know what size of crowd would be there so early arrival is crucial to get a seat for my dad. He doesn’t look as bad as he actually is at walking, he hides a fair bit but he’s 82 and needs a seat.
Well it was a 4-0 loss in the end but it was a funny game. Kelty has us under pressure for most of the game and we did have a few breaks but nothing came of them. Kelty are a good team but they aren’t unbeatable. We needed more composure and we were very lucky not to have a bucketful of cards for the pulling, pushing and poor tackles that we put in. It wasn’t a “bad” match but we looked a little run off our feet and some poor passing saw us lose possession far too easily. The team held their shape much better than the Friday night Spartans game. I didn’t come away disappointed, there was some good work by the team but it now really needs to kick in. It’s been a bit too long now that we have been showing glimpses. We need to turn these glimpses into more.
Miller put in another good performance as did Balde but we came away out of the cup on a cold freezing night with the next game away to East Stirling looking like it will be pointless given their form.
A good striker who holds their position would make a massive difference (on everybody’s wish list I would imagine), a couple of wingers wouldn’t go amiss either. We are still afraid to take a shot and would rather put the ball wide for a high cross into the box. It’s not as if we are specialists in the crossing/heading a goal area so a shot would be just as effective and there’s a greater chance of a deflection, handball, keeper spilling it etc. I’m not suggesting that’s all we do but it’s frustrating when we have a player in a position to shoot and the ball goes wide nearly every time. We seem to be frustratingly close to pulling off a win but it’s just not happening. Hopefully soon it will though.
An early start for this one. A Supporters Trust meeting at 11am means leaving the house at around 7:30am and collecting my dad just before 8am before heading to Berwick. It would be myself, my dad, my brother and his wife at the game my wife and dog coming to Berwick with us but not attending the match. My brother and his wife having headed down to Berwick on Friday. I had hospitality booked and hoping that the game wouldn’t be off because of the rain. (It wasn’t.....).
Plenty of rain on the way down but the game was still on. Family dropped off in Spittal and off the Shielfield for the Trust meeting. A change of venue from the pilot inn but much easier to get parked. The meeting was a bit longer than expected but there were a few things to discuss. I’m the new membership secretary and still have a few things to sort out but I’m getting there. Bill the previous secretary had a comprehensive set of documents that I need to tweak (update addresses etc) and it looks like the bank have finally granted me access to the account to check payments (the biggest stumbling block).
Trust meeting finished it was off to collect the troops (dog included) and head to the leaping salmon for lunch. Cheap and cheerful but with the usual mixup (chicken sub ordered, chicken club arrives but obviously we say nothing because it’s not worth the hassle). Lunch finished and it’s off the Shielfield.
We arrive, usual stuff can of coke and watch the first half of the Scotland game on the tv, buy half time draw tickets etc. Then outside to watch the game.
I actually won the £200 Black and Gold bond prize at half time (money will be going to Berwick cancer cars).
Well it was a 4-0 victory to Berwick at the end of the game. The first half however was dreadful. Miller scored a penalty late in the first half to east the pressure but it was a pretty poor performance. The second half however saw a different team emerge scoring early in the half with a great cross into the box that Osei nodded in at the back post. Chalmers scored the third from close range, poking in the ball. Late on in the second half Miller scored the second penalty of the game (couldn’t tell why we got the penalty though). A crucial 3 points that we desperately need to build on. An interruption in the league next as it’s away to Kelty Hearts in the football nations cup on Tuesday night. (Kelty won 7-1 today).