Berwick Rangers Reserves 0, Peebles Rovers 2
Goalkeeper Youssef Bejaoui, who lost his first-team place after the recent Scottish Cup defeat by Stenhousemuir, was sent off in the 63rd minute of this game for bringing down Peebles striker Craig Edgar as he was on his way to a certain goal.
But the incident was not a turning point for by this stage, the league’s bottom club had their tails up and looked increasingly likely to register their first win of the season.
Peebles have not had to seek their troubles this campaign. They leaked ten goals in their previous two outings and with their Whitstone Park ground still unplayable, have hosted only one game in their home town.
It was the Reserves’ misfortune to meet them on a day when boss Jason Girdwood, already their third manager this term, was able to field his strongest team to date. This match also highlighted the need, as last season, for the Reserves to play a couple of experienced men to balance a young side. Grant McNicoll was re-signed by Rangers for this purpose but has yet to play after knee trouble.
Peter Conaghan gave an early warning of what might be to come when he skilfully put Nicky Cairns through only to fire wide. Soon after, Rangers missed a glorious chance. Greig Smith prised open the Rovers’ defence leaving Dean Carse looking sure to score but his shot squirmed just outside Scott Gordon’s outside post.
Gordon was by far the busier keeper in the first half and if points were awarded for corners, Berwick would have amassed a barrowload. However, it was Peebles who went ahead in the 19th minute. Jamie Adamson created the momentum for Edgar to set up Peter Conaghan for a low strike beyond Bejaoui. Seconds later, Josh Morris was denied an equaliser when a deflection took his well aimed shot over the bar.
Morris then beat Gordon to a rolling ball but posted it wide and had no luck either when, after Carse continued a defence splitting move started by Ben Miller, James McQinnie blocked his shot.
Peebles weathered the storm as Berwick opened part two at breakneck speed. Centre backs Greg Young and Andrew Williamson were outstanding. In midfield, John Manson stroked the ball about with a polish that Berwick didn’t possess. Bejaoui’s dismissal occurred after Adamson found Edgar with only the big man to beat. As the Peebles player went past him, Bejaoui brought him down and was shown the red card. Edgar got on the scoresheet anyway, easily beating replacement goalkeeper Grant Sandison from the spot.
Several times, Rovers stopped Carse in full flight down the right as they sensed a famous victory. Gordon punched away Miller’s dangerous free kick, the Reserves’ last serious threat leaving coach Mark Lamb to acknowledge that his former club were worthy winners.
Berwick Res: Bejaoui, Finlayson, Gill (Sandison 63), Ford, Fairbairn, Carse, Ramsay (Robinson 78 , Miller, Smith, Morris, O’Brien.