Clean sheet as Rangers take a point at Montrose
Montrose 0-0 Berwick Rangers
Berwick manager John Coughlin praised his short-handed side for their battling qualities in a 0-0 draw at Montrose, but admitted he would have been a lot happier with three points for a win.
Rangers went into the match at Links Park looking to record their first back to back victories of the season following their 2-0 away win at Cowdenbeath a week earlier.
But with five players missing through injury or unavailability, Couglin was limited in his team selection.
Lee Hamilton, Allan Walker, Barry Hogg and Hibs loanees Ben Stirling and Sean Mackie were all sidelined, but his blighted side still managed to give a good account of themselves.
“There were plenty chances at both ends,” admitted Coughlin, “unfortunately, not many of them were on target, which was the main reason it finished 0-0. We have to look at the positives though, and another clean sheet shows that we are keeping it tight at the back, which is what our game has to be based on.
“Of course I would have been happier with three points, but we are still up there in fourth place in the table and we are continuing to make progress.”
The stats showed that in total there were 29 attempts on goal (17 for Montrose and 12 for Berwick), but only four (two for each side) on target.
“Montrose have only won one game so far in the league this season, but this performance shows they are not a bad side,” said Coff. “There is a lot of inconsistency in this league and that is the main thing we have to try and overcome.”
In an end to end first half there were chances for both sides, but neither team found the net as the teams turned around at 0-0.
One of the best opportunities for Berwick came just before half-time when striker Jordyn Sheerin headed over from inside the area.
Early in the second half Paul Watson pulled a shot wide for the home side, whilst Darren Lavery, back in the Rangers’ starting line-up, shot high and wide from outside the box.
Lavery then shot wide as Berwick tried to force the pace, but Chris Templeman headed over and Graham Webster headed wide to show that Montrose were still a threat.
With quarter of an hour remaining, Templeman again headed wide for the home side from close range, before Berwick broke upfield and Steven Thomson, who has netted four goals already this season, shot over.
A Sheerin shot was then blocked, but as frustration began to creep into their play, three Rangers were booked in the final five minutes - Brian Martin, Thomson and Lavery - their names joining Greg Hurst in the book after his first half caution.
“We don’t have a big squad and player unavailability is a big problem for us,” admitted Coughlin, who confirmed this week that midfielder Allan walker had left the club by mutual consent.
The former Brechin City, Raith Rovers and Livingston player will now be free to find another club.
“We can call on players from the Development squad to step up and fill a place on the bench, But my concern with that is that we can bring them in and they might not see any action, or they might get 5-10 minutes from the bench when they could be receiving a full 90 minutes in competitive action for the Junior side that they’re loaned out to,” said Coughlin. “So I’m having to balance that out, but certainly in an ideal world I’d be looking to make additions to the squad.”