With the Berwick game cancelled it was an opportunity to catch the table topping Kelty v Second placed Bonnyrigg. Bonnyrigg sitting 6 points behind but with a game in hand. A really incredible season so far from Bonnyrigg having just gained promotion this season. I have a soft spot for Bonnyrigg, they are managed by Robbie Horn the ex Berwick manager (and player) and he’s a really nice guy. He came from Bonnyrigg to manage Berwick but the turmoil in the boardroom at the time was enough for him to walk away. Berwick fans fully understood his decision. He went back to Bonnyrigg after a short break and won them promotion into the lowland league as Berwick were relegated to the lowland league. Bonnyrigg were Berwick’s first opponents in the lowland league beating Berwick 5-3 at Shielfield.
It would be my second visit to New Central Park, my dad and I had already seen Berwick beaten 4-0 in a cup game earlier this season. We arrived early as per usual to get a parking spot close by so my dad can get in. We also wanted a seat in the stand. (£1 charge for this). But cheap entry anyway at £7/£4. And £1 for a tea/coffee.
A bumper crowd of over 1500 filled new Central Park for this one. Cold and a bit of snow in the air didn’t put off the fans. Kelty went 1 up with a bit of a scrambled goal, The Bonnyrigg keeper and defence should have done better to keep it out. Bonnyrigg equalised a few minutes later with a great free kick, top right corner and game back on. Kelty dominated the first half with Dylan Easton scoring a screamer to put the scoreline at 2-1, Austin added another with a good header to make it 3-1 to end the half.
Second half and Bonnyrigg came out fighting. They pulled a goal back when Kelty couldn’t clear properly and Hunter lobbed it over the keeper who was totally out of position. 3-2 and all set for a Bonnyrigg equaliser as the dominated the half. Kelty had the ball in the net again and we thought it was all over, a counter attack after heavy pressure from Bonnyrigg. Offside was called so not over yet. Bonnyrigg had several good chances, a shot off the crossbar, a decent penalty shout denied. In the last moments a clear chance as the ball came into the box, clear golden chance for an equaliser but it was blasted over the bar. The game ended 3-2 to Kelty. Still it’s not over yet for Bonnyrigg with the reverse fixture still to come. Kelty do have a massive goal difference though, but also have a bank balance the same.
A trip down on Friday afternoon in the wind and rain for this one. Dad at home and wife and doggie with me on this trip. I was unsure if the game would go ahead but we were down for the weekend so it wouldn’t matter. Too much, we could sit and watch a movie or two.
A trust meeting kicked off the Saturday. 11am at Shielfield, I headed up in the sunshine/rain/snow/sunshine.......
I’ve missed a couple of meetings due to various things so I really needed to make this one. Big news too, I’ve finally managed to gain access to the trust bank account. The many hurdles the bank of Scotland put up finally knocked down after a few months! I need access to check payments to keep the membership up to date. That’s now a job for next week along with printing off address labels for the trust magazine.
Trust discussions were based around joint in the Supporters trust and Supporters club together, the 1881 fund and the weather!
Meeting finished I pottered around for a bit before deciding to head off to Ruth’s dads or an hour or so, Ruth and the doggie were already there. Back to the club around 2pm and helping out with a few tasks. The guys form Northstar were there again this week, not in hospitality but in the stand. I met them at the front door by chance and rather than them walking back to the turnstile I lead them down the tunnel to the stand then popped off and bought them some tea/coffee and some halftime draw tickets. Snow/sun/rain/snow/sun.
Blizzard conditions 15 minutes before kickoff turned to a bit of sunshine, still freezing cold though as the teams came out. I was in the Ducket for the first half in the stand for the second half.
It was a poor show in the first half, the weather didn’t help but positioning was all over the place again. i don’t want to pick on individuals so I won’t but grumble grumble grumble. The second half wasn’t much better but substitutions late in the game changed the shape enough to see us score 2 (yes 2 goals). Smith scoring a header from a cross for his first goal since joining us last month and a bit of a scramble for the 2nd from Thomson secured the 3 points. Next up away to Dalbeattie star (assuming it’s on). Our next home game and last home game of the season is the 11th of April!
Assuming storm Dennis doesn’t scupper this one I’ll be heading to Broadwood stadium. I’m not sure if my dad will be with me if it’s cold and wet. I’ll still need to go see him and my mum to take care of a few jobs. Look at my mums printer, fit a new ceiling light in the kitchen and take a mattress to the tip (superking orthopaedic so that will be fun!). I’m not sure what to expect from the game. The reverse fixture was a 2-2 draw back in September. I’m not sure we are a better team than we were then. Colts are sitting in 9th on 32 points having played 24 games and we are sitting in 12th on 20 points having played 22 games. We have been thumped in the last 2 games and have recorded only 2 wins and 2 draws out of the last 10 to net 8 points from a possible 30. Still let’s hope for the best and 3 points.
Chores finished at my folks, mattress cut in half with a saw and disposed of, light fitted and a new printer bought and setup and we were on our way.
We made it through the driving rain to Broadwood. My dad was sure it would be called off but it was still on. The rain wasn’t so bad at the game as it was on the way there. Plenty of parking too and not a huge crowd. Perhaps 100? With at least 50 of them Berwick fans. Halftime draw tickets purchased and off to the stand.
There’s a fairly comprehensive match report on Facebook. But my tuppence worth is coming up here. We should have won this one but we came away with a goalless draw.
Overall it was a much better performance from the team but the lack of a viable goal threat still haunts us. Perhaps we need to change shape and stick a striker upfront and keep them there. We had much more of the possession and some good chances but Cumbernauld had a few chances and if one had gone in I couldn’t see us pulling it back. It’s just a case of surviving this season and seeing what next season brings but I would still like to see a victory between now and the end of the season. Perhaps a run in the Lowland a league cup?
Well I recovered just in time from my bug and my dad was feeling better after last weekend so we headed on down for this one. We were booked into the meal that was before the game and I had paid for some members the Northstar centre to attend so I didn’t want to miss it. I was on camera duty too for this game so off we trotted leaving about 9:30am hoping the weather wouldn’t cancel the game.
We arrived in plenty of time as usual, quite windy on the drive down but seems to calm as we approached Berwick. No rain so likely the game would be on. Lunch was at 12:30 so hoping that would still be on anyway! Steak pie for me followed by chocolate fudge cake and Macaroni for my dad followed by apple crumble. It was actually quite good, well worth £30. 2 courses, match ticket, program, team-sheet and halftime buffet for £30 is a great deal. I could only manage a cup of tea at half time though and that was to warm my hands rather than actually wanting a cup. Eric Tait was in full swing entertaining the room with his tales and the guests from the Northstar Center were enjoying themselves. Lunch finished we moved to the JB lounge and I sorted a few things and collected the camera to record the game.
Yay! We scored first, what could go wrong! It was a goal that looked like it took several deflections on the way in but it still went in. It’s hard to see when filming, all you are looking at is a tiny screen. Alan will edit the footage and put it online when he gets back. East Stirling pulled one back though and it was 1-1 at half time. Now the wheels came off and this is why my match report type section of my blog is so poor. It’s easy to write about a victory but we let 4 in to finish the game 5-1 down. Same criticisms as previous weeks, poor defending, passing, shooting, positioning. Our new striker looks non existent too so that’s pretty depressing. I doubt he will bag a goal before the season ends without some real improvement. The team do run, effort is there but it’s not happening. 22 games played, 20 points. The Lowland league cup is at the end of the season. Dare we dream we could actually muster some enthusiasm, some energy and get it together to make an actual push for a trophy?
Do we change manager? Is there any point? Who would we attract? We’ve had 6 mangers in 5 years and will soon become a toxic club who can’t attract anybody. Obviously questions are to be asked of the manager and his team but as long as we have reasonable answers there no point in change. Time will hopefully build consistency and stability in the squad. (I hope).
Mixed loyalties, upheaval, Berwick has delivered it all to me over the last few seasons. 6 managers in 5 years and god knows how many directors have passed through the doors at Shielfield. Over the last 3 seasons it’s been great taking my dad to the games (despite the results) and I try to support the club as best I can.
I wasn’t happy when the Chairman was voted out and the directors stepped down, it came as a real shock. But the club needs to move on, we all need to move forward and support the club as best we can. I don’t know the new directors but things seem to be happening, a few new advertising boards, game day sponsors sold out for the remaining games etc. Even the launch of the 1881 fund seems to have generated money and interest. Whether or not the £10k target is achieved it’s still (at the time of writing) generated £2370. Not an insubstantial amount. Supporting Berwick is a rollercoaster and does provide ample amounts of passion and division.....
Still we have to move on and i have donated £500 to the club 1881 fund in order to do so.
Not far to travel for this one, just over an hour away by car. I had contacted BSC Glasgow to ask about disabled parking and they were very prompt and said they would reserve a space near the entrance for me (taking my dad). My dads not going now though due to health issues but BSC and all the lower league teams should be commended for the accessibility they have offered. The worse experiences we have had is at bigger clubs who have policies etc in place but seem somewhat in able to act on them. The worst experience we had was at Motherwell (Berwick away in the Betfred cup) when the stewards wouldn’t let us in the home end after I had contacted the club to arrange parking and I was told we could enter there and go to the away stand. There was no reasoning with these guys. My dad had to walk around the stadium, uphill stopping several times. When we got to the away end we were faced with an empty car park! I asked the steward if I could bring the car round but no chance mate. I explained the circumstances but the attitude was appalling. Hired help that have no connection to the club and couldn’t give a monkeys. Only able to do the job they have been assigned with no emotion or understanding. He actually said the he was only hired to “mind the area” what ever that means....
Well I arrived in plenty of time and got parked easily in the car park and walked round to the entrance. I’ve never been there before but it’s a decent ground. A bit odd that you can’t actually see anybody at the turnstile. It’s a brick wall with a hole just above the turnstile that you have to bend down to look through to speak to anybody. Still once that was negotiated i was in and had a chat with one of the BSC guys. The usual stuff, difficulty of lowland league etc. Next it was stovies, a bargain at £1.50. A chit chat with some Berwick guys then a seat in the stand.
First strike to Berwick! A cracking free kick and we are in the lead, Happy days, can we actually do this. Well no we can’t..... 3-1 at halftime and 4-1 at the final whistle. Brought back down to earth with a thump. Yes BSC are higher in the league but we should be better, better passing, better possession, better shooting. Again many chances for a strike but we run it wide, take an extra touch and generally produce a frustrating performance. A red card towards the end adds to the overall disappointment. It’s unlikely we will go down, we are 12 points off the bottom spot with 9 games to play. But it’s a conversation that’s on the terraces. Memories of last seasons relegation still fresh when we were in above Albion Rovers and they turned it around. Like last season we aren’t picking up the points. Next week is Edinburgh University. They are second bottom but that doesn’t make, them a pushover. They will be looking for the points to secure their league status and could see Berwick as an opportunity to do so. Actually it not Edinburgh it’s East Stirling next. Not an easy game there either.
Well a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. A complete change at the top, Chairman and directors gone and replaced. http://berwickrangers.com/a-message-from-the-new-board-of-directors-of-berwick-rangers-fc-plc/
There are plenty of opinions flying about but I’ll leave that for others to dissect. It if anybody wanted to write a book on Berwick Rangers the last couple of seasons would have everything in it!
I’m match ball sponsor for this game against East Kilbride and it looks like a full house for hospitality too. Let’s hope we can get a result. I’ll be down with my dad as per usual, it’s been a while since he was at a game with me, a serious case of Flu saw him out of commission for a number of weeks. The last game he attended was Berwick v Gretna on the 7th of December. I did take him to an East Fife game on the 11th of January. He has a season ticket for East Fife. It’s £20 for over 80’s and at £13 for a concession it’s paid for itself after a couple of games. There a few game we can go to when Berwick have a few empty Saturdays.
We were at the East Kilbride v Berwick fixture in September where we were beaten 3 -2. Many ups and downs since then and a few Squad changes to add to the mix.
It seems like forever since we were last down in Berwick. I was down over the festive break but even that seems like a long time. (4th of Jan the last game looking at the calendar). The fixtures are a bit “all over the place” they alway have been a bit but the Lowland league season is especially difficult. I guess it’s because we are out of the various cups but we have 3 empty Saturdays between now and the end of the season. There are 2 postponed games that will hopefully fill those up but I don’t think it was planned as a buffer. We have a home game on the 22nd of February and the next one is the 11th of April with 2 away games scheduled in between. Edit here. I think there is a Lowland league cup at some point that we still have to play in. I’m not quite on top of the fixtures as you may have been able to guess. I’m too busy and tired at the moment. Life is getting in the way.
Still down to Berwick and off to Foulis to fill our bellies before heading to Shielfield.
Beaten 2-0 in the usual manner, taking the eye off the ball and some wayward passing. The frustration of almost as per usual. Almost a good pass, almost a decent shot. I’m really hoping that the team gets it together but the season is moving on. There are some decent players but somethings just not quite right. Here’s hoping for a better run for the remainder of the season, for the fans and for the players. The games are looking tougher. No chance of winning the league that’s for sure but a few wins wouldn’t be a bad thing. It wasn’t a bad performance and the ref was quite poor today. A couple of bad tackles and some blatant holding going unpunished.
The new striker missed a sitter in the first half, I’m sure he’ll be thinking about that tonight.
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.