Henderson at double as Rangers climb the table
BERWICK RANGERS 3
Berwick stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a 3-0 home win over Arbroath at Shielfield on Tuesday and in so doing leapfrogged their Angus opponents into eighth place in the table.
Strike pair Blair Henderson and Darren Lavery bagged all three goals between them, Henderson’s double taking his tally for the season to 12 in all competitions.
With bottom club East Stirling losing at home to Clyde, the victory meant Rangers opened up a six point gap over the basement side.
After the game, Berwick manager John Coughlin said he was delighted with the result and the performance.
“But what pleases me most is the fact we have had three clean sheets in the last three games,” he said.
“That gives us something to work on, a base on which to build.
“We have had three midweek games recently, no one was looking forward to them, but they have been kind to us.
“We are now climbing the table and from our point of view it is onwards and upwards, although I have told the players they cannot be too complacent.
“We have Stirling Albion on Saturday and that will be another tough game, but we are starting to turn things around now and we will go into the game with a certain degree of confidence.”
Berwick went into Tuesday’s game on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, with three regular players, Stevie Notman, Ewan McNeil and Brian Martin all on the bench.
Arbroath were playing their first fixture under new manager Dick Campbell and it was only four minutes before they were playing catch-up, Henderson putting Berwick in front, finding the net from a rebound after a Sandy Cunningham shot was blocked and fell into his path.
Arbroath’s Bobby Linn was bundled over in the box, but referee Colin Steven waved play on.
Rangers’ keeper Kevin Walker then had to go full stretch to make a good save from a Greg Rutherford header, and less than a minute later, Allan Fleming was called into action at the other end, saving with his legs from a low shot by Darren Lavery after the ball was played through to him by Graeme Beveridge.
The Red Lichties looked to force a way back before half-time, but they were denied by a mixture of wayward finishing and good defending from the home side, including a tremendous block by Robert Wilson on the stroke of half-time.
At the start of the second half Kieran Stewart volleyed wide from distance as Arbroath applied the early pressure, but after 51 minutes Henderson struck again, picking up a loose ball and turning and shooting from an acute angle to give Rangers the breathing space they were looking for.
And the victory was guaranteed on the hour when Lavery headed in a third from close range after playing a neat one-two with Beveridge, the ball going in off a post.