Battling performance, but Rangers lose out to late goal

Motherwell 1-0 Berwick Rangers

Monday, 31st July 2017, 8:54 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 11:44 am

Berwick manager John Coughlin was a proud man after his team’s performance against SPL side Motherwell in their final League Cup section game on Saturday.

“I thought we defended very well,” said Coughlin, “but unfortunately we just couldn’t hang out to the end.

“Motherwell are a full-time side and we knew it would be a tough game, but we managed to hold out to the 82nd minute before they found a way through.”

The only goal of the game came when goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, who was kept busy throughout the afternoon, made another save, but the loose ball fell at the feet of Elliott Frear and he rifled it into the roof of the net from close range.

“It was disappointing to lose the game in that manner,” said Coughlin, “but I was pleased with the way to lads kept fighting to the end, that could serve us well in the league programme which lies ahead.”

The defeat meant Berwick ended the section winless and bottom of their group with only one point.

There wasn’t much between the sides in the opening exchanges with Cedric Kipre and Aaron Murrell both getting in shots which were saved by the respective keepers.

But the home side suffered a blow after only nine minutes when they were forced to make a change, with Frear replacing the injured Steven Hammell.

Motherwell were the stronger side and created the lion’s share of the chances with Louis Moult (twice), Andy Rose, Craig Tanner and Richard Tait all going close in the first half.

McCrorie, who had made several saves in the first 45, was called into action twice more early in the second half to deny Moult and Tanner before Berwick forced their way back into the game with Lavery, Kieran Stewart and Murrell all going close.

Frear headed over for Motherwell and then Rose had a shot saved by McCrorie before Chris Cadden had two attempts in quick succession, the first of which was saved, the second of which was blocked.

As the home side continued to press, McCrorie continued to be kept busy, saving from George Newell.

But in the 82nd minute Rangers’ luck eventually ran out when Motherwell found a breakthrough. McCrorie saved again, this time from Carl McHugh, but the ball spilled to the feet of Frear, who shot high into the net from close range.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to come here and win,” said Coughlin, “but we gave them something to think about.

“The team showed a lot of spirit, which I was pleased with, and I will be lookingnfor that to continue when we kick off our league programme at home to Clyde next Saturday.”

Motherwell: Carson, Tait,, Kipre, Dunne, Hammell (Freare 9), Cadden, Bigirimana, McHugh, Rose, Tanner (Newell 72), Moult (Fisher 60).

Berwick: McCrorie, Fleming, Waugh, Notman (Thomson 76), McDonald, Irving, Lavery, Stewart, Phillips (Donaldson 75), Murrell (McKenna 65), Rutherford.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Attendance: 2,524