It's a trip to Motherwell this Saturday for the final group game in the Betfred cup. I'm going with my dad and my brother will be joining us too. I've driven past Motherwell's ground (Fir park) many times but never actually been. I've also been asked to write the match report for this game so we'll see how that goes. I was looking for the squad numbers but the Berwick Rangers website lacks this information. Wikipedia seems to have it though and I've checked with the teamsheets I have from the previous games and they seem to mostly match. I'm hoping there will be a teamsheet at the game. I have my notepad ready to go, I don't fancy taking my iPad with me.
At the game.
We arrived at the game, my brother driving to the ground and dropping my Dad and i off at the away end before going to park. 10 minutes later he appears and it turns out we are sort of at the away end but we have to walk around the whole stadium to get to the stand. The section we need to access 100 yards away is no longer accessible from we are because new houses have been built there! It was a longer walk than anticipated, especially for my father who turns 80 in September. Finally settled in our seats my dad waits soaking up the atmosphere as my brother and i go off in search of pies and tea. We find said items although we weren't warned that the pies were forged in the heart of the sun. On the way home we stopped for a curry collecting my brothers wife Karen and my car on the way. After said curry is scoffed it's back up to Fife, dropping off my dad and then home to write the match report.
The match Report.
Saturday, July 29th, 2017
Betfred Cup Group 'F'
MOTHERWELL 1 BERWICK RANGERS 0
STEELMEN STEAL POINTS.
Motherwell having already qualified from group F were still looking for victory over Berwick to secure seeding in the next stage to avoid SPL clubs Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen. Betfred started Motherwell as the clear favourites at 1/7 with a draw at 7/1 and Berwick Rangers at 14/1.
The rain held off as Berwick took to the field in their new white away kit, the team setup in a classic 4-4-2 formation.
Motherwell had most of the possession in the first half but the Berwick defence held strong and some outstanding tackles and clearances from Fleming and some athletic shot stopping from McCrorie will no doubt see the young defender and goalkeeper battle it out for the Berwick man of the match award.
Within the first 15 minutes Motherwell had good chances, a corner that was handled well, a shot from Andy Rose that was well saved and a shot from Cedric Kipre in a dangerous position that sailed high and right. Murrell came close for Berwick during this spell with a left footed shot from a break down the left side forcing the Motherwell keeper into a save.
Motherwell continued to dominate with several more balls into the box from the wings that the Berwick defence manage to absorb. Fleming pulling off a great block in the 44th minute to give Motherwell a corner that resulted in a header from Motherwell which sailed high over the bar.
As the whistle blew for halftime there was no way anybody could tell that these 2 teams were 3 leagues apart.
The second half continued much as the first half had been, Motherwell winning 4 corners in the first 10 minutes. McCrorie pulling off a fantastic save to push a powerful shot beyond the post. Berwick then had a good spell of possession. Lavery had a right footed shot from outside the box blocked followed shortly by an attempt from Stewart that went high. Moments later Murrell found himself within range but his right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner was saved by the keeper.
The next few minutes saw the start of a few fouls for both teams. Notman winning a free kick but Rutherford and Stewart giving away minor fouls before Stewart was shown the yellow card for a bad foul in the 64th minute. Motherwell had a few more attempts at goal, the defence blocking shots and McCrorie pulling off a good save from Andy Rose in the 66th Minute.
Berwick were looking good and were looking likely to hold on for a draw if not manage a goal. With 10 minutes to go the ball was in the net but McCrorie was impeded as he leapt to save the spinning shot and it was disallowed. McCrorie then pulled off another great save, palming a powerful header over the bar.
Motherwell finally broke the deadlock 8 minutes from time. The ball was worked down the right and was put across to the middle of the area to Frear who struck the ball into the goal.
Berwick looked good throughout, certainly not a team that looked out of their depth against the premier league team looking for the win.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Fleming, Waugh, Notman (76 Thomson), McDonald, Lavery, Phillips (75 Donaldson), Irving, Stewart, Rutherford, Murrell (65McKenna).
Attendance 2525 (59 away Supporters).
im all set to travel back down to Berwick for the next game in the betfred cup. It's been up and down the road for me this week. I arrived in Berwick on Saturday for the Morton game, then left again on the Tuesday morning to get back to Fife to collect my dad and Gordon to head to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh City game, back to Fife and home for the night, leaving at 5:30am to get back to Berwick. I left Berwick on Sunday morning and now back down on Tuesday afternoon with my dad for the Queen's Park game. It will probably be after midnight when I get back home. Let's hope it's decent.
It's game day! My dad has called to say he wants to go with me, glutton for punishment I guess. He was at the Edinburgh City game and he'll be going to the Motherwell game with me too. We arrived in plenty of time, the carpark was rammed but not for the football, the circus was in town. Several clowns at Shielfield jokes later we were seated for the main event. No sooner than most fans bums hit the seats Berwick had scored! A good well worked goal. Of course in the 9th minute we gave away a penalty so 1-1. By half time it was 3-1 and full time 3-2. Most fans seemed pretty unhappy, it was another game we had the chance to win but lacking a striker upfront (despite scoring 2 goals) and the positioning of the team was awful in my opinion. Constant passing from midfield to defence even attracted a few boo's from some of the fans around me. Still the team shows some promise but tactics are suspect. I'm still not keen on the keeper McCrorie and would much rather see Sean Brennan in goal. He stepped up last season and should be rewarded for his loyalty rather than playing second fiddle to a keeper that will leave at Christmas.
A round trip of 300 odd miles to see Berwick in Edinburgh. I started in Berwick then off to Fife to get my dad and Gordon and take them to Edinburgh then back to Fife and then back to Berwick in the morning.
Edinburgh are playing at Spartans ground this season, it's a nice little stadium and the sun was shining. The drive down wasn't too bad and we found a parking space. I bought a program and 3 50/50 tickets (no luck). Gordon did get a free sausage roll during the second half though!
The game itself was rather frustrating, no players staying upfront and therefore no outlet for the keeper and defenders to offload the ball to. There was also the very odd way that the ball was never passed to the right wing, despite a player standing clear for several attacks. It's frustrating because it's a game that should have been won.. In the end it was 2-2. But as it's the betfred cup it went straight to penalties with no extra time. Berwick lost 4-2 on penalties and to be honest I was expecting this.
I'm still unsure about the keeper they have on a development loan, he had a few dodgy moments and definitely handled the ball outside the box but the ref was looking elsewhere. There was some promise in the team and a few good moves but for me it was frustrating to watch, it was a game that Berwick should have come away with 3 points. Everbody thinks they can be a football manager but the lack of a second striker is pretty obvious, as is being penned into you own half because nobody stays up top. Still it was an interesting game and nice to take in another football ground.
I turned up at about 1:45pm to lend a hand. I met Michael the chairman of the Supporters Trust just inside the main entrance of the building and had a quick chat. He gave me my Supporters Trust magazine and one for the St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters who have just joined the trust in their own right. I then met a few other familiar faces and then Graham Bell appeared. After a quick chat I was assigned the task of clicker, so every time somebody comes through the turnstile it's a click, simple enough.
I had a bit of a wander around and then to the away turnstiles for my clicking duties. Then back to the main turnstile as there was already somebody who would be a clicker but they were in need of 50/50 halftime draw tickets. So tickets in hand off i go to the away turnstile to greet the smiling Morton fans.
The away turnstile.
The 50/50 tickets.
I managed to sell a whopping 29 tickets for the 50/50 draw. I bought 5 of them! I gave 1 each to the two young lads selling programs. There was also a collection bucket for young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery. I was helping out so I didn't have to buy a ticket for the game so thought i would put the cash in the bucket instead. Gates shut at about 3:15pm and I wandered around to the main stand to have a seat.
After the final whistle.
after the final whistle help was required to move some of the advertising boards from behind the goal. The speedway is on in the evening and the boards on the outside edge have to be moved just in case a rider comes off and collides with one. Removal is a simple affair as they are slotted into holes in the ground. Next thing to do is remove the benches at the touch line and the dugouts. The dugouts are a bit cumbersome and require a few hands. They have wheels but you need to tip them up and flip the wheels down. They then get wheeled into the tunnel. Last thing is to lift up the rubber matting that is down on the speedway track. This was a messy affair and the mats are large and relatively heavy. They reach from the tunnel to the pitch and down the front of the dugouts. Once shifted that was that, a quick wash of the hands and off home.
The Supporters Trust have created a Facebook post to ask for volunteers for the Morton game. After an email or two I have found out what is actually required, I always like to know what I'll be getting into before I volunteer. I really didn't want to end up being the one that was allocated the task of giving Eric Tait his pre match bath.....
The club needs people to sell 50:50 tickets and for turnstile duty as again, they are opening the gates at both ends (as was the case for the Hibs game last week). Suggested arrival at 1:45pm so tasks can be allotted. I know the club are expecting 400-500 travelling support, usual league attendance is around the 400 mark for both sets of Supporters so another busy day.
After the game, it's a case of helping clear up any rubbish on the Ducket and helping move the advertising boards from behind the goals as the speedway races after the match.
So my name is on the list and I'll turn up tomorrow and find out what I'll be doing.