Early goal and last-gasp penalty miss key to victory
BERWICK RANGERS 1
STIRLING ALBION 0
A first minute goal from Blair Henderson, and a dramatic injury-time penalty miss, gave Berwick victory and another valuable three points against Stirling Albion at Shielfield on Saturday.
Henderson netted his 12th league goal of the season straight from kick-off -timed at only 24 seconds - but Rangers had to defend furiously in the closing stages and even had to survive a last-gasp penalty miss before creeping over the line.
The victory made it four clean sheets in a row for Berwick and lifted them to seventh in the table, equal on points with Montrose.
Berwick went on the attack straight from kick-off and some fans hardly had time to settle in their seats before leading striker Henderson forced the ball home from close range after a Michael McKenna mishit effort on the right landed in his path.
After six minutes a Henderson header from a Darren Lavery cross was safely collected by goalkeeper Wallace Smith.
And as Rangers made all their early running, on nine minutes , McKenna, this time on the left, cut the ball back for Lavery, but the front msn didn’t get enough on his first-time strike.
Despite a David Verlaque free kick squirming through to Kevin Walker and another Verlanque strike which was blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs, it was Berwick who looked the more dangerous, and Lavery had a shot saved by Smith.
But frustration was already starting to creep into Stirling’s play, and they had two players booked inside the first 22 minutes for fouls.
On 37 minutes Finn Graham forced a way though in the box, but he failed to find the net from close range and at half-time it remained 1-0.
In the second half Stirling thought they had a rough deal when offside was awarded against them in a good position, but Walker made a good save from Darren Smith in any event.
Moments later Ewan McNeil blasted over at the other end and on 61 minutes McKenna had the ball in the net, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Then on 66 minutes Callum Crane did well to win the ball back in an attacking position, but his effort from outside the box was just too high.
But Stirling gradually started to impose themselves in midfield, and Rangers were forced to defend deeper.
Moses Olanrewaju had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when the ball was cut across the face of the goal, but Berwick skipper Jonny Fairbairn managed to save a certain goal with a timely interception at the post.
Chances went abegging at either end, but in injury-time Walker made a fantastic one-handed save from a close-range strike, only for Brian Martin to be sent off sent off for hand ball on the line.
Dickson stepped up to take the spot kick but ballooned his effort over the top, much to the relief of everyone in black and gold.