Manager tries to take positives from defeat and three red cards
Berwick Rangers 0-3 Cowdenbeath
It wasn’t the way new Berwick manager Johnny Harvey wanted to start his league career - a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Cowdenbeath on Saturday, and three players sent off into the bargain.
Rangers had John Neil red carded in the first half, with skipper Robert Wilson and Chris Hamilton both following him for an early bath in the second.
But Harvey, despite the obvious disappointment, tried to remain positive afterwards when he said: “Yes, people will look and see we lost and had three players sent off, but we have to look at the positives and even though I have only been here for just over a week I can see a massive improvement in the players.
“Their energy levels have gone up and there has been a big change in their attitude. “They are showing they want to play for the badge.”
Harvey Swann scored two first half goals, including a penalty, whilst Fraser Mullen also netted in the second half after the third Berwick dismissal. The victory lifts Cowden onto 11 points, whilst Rangers remain second from bottom on six.
With only two minutes on the clock Greg Hurst forced Cowden keeper Gary Maley into making a save, the only effort on target for the home side in 90 minutes.
But Rangers were dealt a blow after 16 minutes when they were reduced to ten men, when Neil, who had been playing in central defence, was shown a straight red card by referee Alan Newlands. Neil had kicked out at David Cox, who was shown a yellow for retaliation - one of five ‘Blue Brazil’ players to find their way into the book during thr course of the game.
Cowden used their extra man to good effect when they took the lead on 28 minutes, Swann firing home from 15 yards out through a crowded goalmouth. Two minutes later Swann also fired wide after Berwick failed to clear their lines.
On 37 minutes Swann doubled his and Cowden’s tally when he converted from the penalty spot after captain Wilson tripped Martin Scott on the edge of the box.
The second half provided little by way of goalmouth action. Berwick battled away with ten men but never threatened the Cowden back linead keeper Maley was never tested.
Rangers’ task was made all the more difficult when Wilson was sent off for an over the top challenge right in front of the referee, with Hamilton following him to the dressingroom just two minutes later for a foul, having been booked for dissent following the Wilson dismissal.
From the resulting free kick, on 80 minutes, Fraser Mullen slammed a loose ball into the bottom corner past a helpless Sean Brennan.
“Of course, it’s not the result we were looking for,” said Harvey, “but the performance was pleasing in part.From what I have seen so far we definitely have something to work with. The sendings off obviously had a massive impact on the game, but we gave away two cheap goals in the lead up to half time.
“We only had 15 players available to us today, and with three facing suspension for next week (away to Stirling Albion) that is a problem.”