Harvey praises Rangers' players despite Cup ko to East Fife
Berwick Rangers 1-2 East Fife
Berwick manager Johnny Harvey was full of praise for his players despite losing their Scottish Cup third round tie to East Fife on Saturday.
The first division outfit scored twice in the first 12 minutes through Ross Davidson and Scott Agnew to stamp their authority on the match, whilst Daryl Healy pulled a goal back for the second division hosts at the start of the second half.
Rangers staged a late onslaught in which they carved out several chances to force an equaliser, but none were taken and Harvey said afterwards: “Sadly it was not to be.
“We prepared well for this game but our plan went out the window after only five minutes when East Fife scored their opener.
“Their second gave us a mountain to climb, but again the lads showed tremendous character and desire and I can’t fault them for that.
“Overall, I thought we probably deserved a draw and a replay.”
East Fife took only six minutes to open the scoring when the ball was played in from the left and Davidson slammed home from close range in a crowded goalmouth.
And on 12 minutes it was 0-2 when Agnew slid the ball home to double the advantage after Rory Currie again played the ball in from the left.
Liam Watt also fired over after half an hour as the visitors made all the running, Berwick’s best chance falling to Daryl Healy who was unable to get any power, stretching for a volley when the ball was played over the top.
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Currie might have made it three for East Fife when he latched onto a ball through the middle but his first-time shot was hit straight at home keeper Sean Brennan.
And Brennan had to rescue Rangers again just minutes before half time when he went full stretch to deny Craig Watson from a header, just seconds before Healy had another chance for Berwick, shooting straight at East Fife keeper Craig McDowall.
The Fifers looked to be cruising, but the second half was a much more even affair and Berwick took the wind out their sails when they pulled a goal back after 56 minutes. Chris Hamilton played a long cross in from the right and Healy rose well to head in at the near post.
Aaron Dunsmore almost capitalised when Rangers tried to play the ball out from the back at a goal kick but Brennan managed to fingertip his effort over the top for a corner.
But the home side launched a late onslaught and with ten minutes remaining Rangers worked themselves into a good position and substitute Jack Ogilvie shot over when well placed.
Paul Willis and Ogilvie also both shot wide in the closing stages as Berwick tried to force a late equaliser, but it was to no avail.
“Daryl deserved his goal,” said Harvey, “but despite being the better team in the second half we just couldn’t force that equaliser. The truth is you can’t afford to give teams like East Fife a start like that and expect to come back, but we gave it a go.”
Berwick: Brennan, Cook, Wilson, Hamilton, Orru, Willis, O’Kane, Neil (Ogilvie 79), Phillips (Hurst 79), Brown (Murrell 74), Healy.