Berwick secure first win despite Fairbairn red card
Ten-man Berwick Rangers secured their first league win of the season when they beat Annan at Shielfield on Saturday.
Rangers had to play almost all of the second half a man down after skipper Jonny Fairbairn was shown a straight red card by referee Colin Steven after 55 minutes for a challenge 25 yards out.
Steven Thomson, with his second goal in successive games, gave Berwick a half-time lead, with Michael McKenna doubling the advantage midway through the second half when he showed determination to prod the ball home after a surging run into the box.
The three points lifted Rangers to third place in the second division table, and manager John Coughlin admitted afterwards that it was a “justifiable reward” for his players’ efforts.
Berwick opened the scoring after only four minutes when Thomson found the net from close range after Annan failed to clear a mis-hit effort by Allan Walker.
And with his confidence growing, Thomson was unlucky with a low shot from distance, which keeper Blair Currie parried before collecting.
Ben Stirling also blasted over when the ball fell for him on the right side of the box, but at the other end Annan seldom threatened in the opening half hour and their frustration was compounded when a member of their coaching staff was sent to the stand from the dugout by the referee.
As Rangers upped the ante towards the end of the half, Jordyn Sheerin made a good break down the right, but Michael McKenna was unable to turn his cross towards the goal.
Currie was forced to save well with his feet from a shot by Stevie Notman, and he also denied McKenna with a shot from inside the area.
McKenna then fed a lovely through ball to Sheerin, but the striker’s effort was deflected for a corner.
Just five minutes into the second half Berwick were reduced to 10 men when Fairbairn was shown a straight red for a tackle on William Robertson. The home side were forced to reshuffle, with Robert Wilson replacing Fairbairn in the back four and Allan Walker being sacrificed as the substitute.
Annan’s first shot on goal came 64 minutes in when Aidan Smith had a free kick parried away by Walker.
But it was Rangers who doubled their advantage after 65 minutes when McKenna latched onto a through ball from Sheerin, cut in from the right and showed great tenacity, poking the ball home from being on his knees after stumbling in the six-yard box.
On 71 minutes Smith had another free kick from the edge of the box, which stung the hands of Walker.
Rangers then defended sternly for the final 20 minutes without being put under any real pressure to take all three points.