New Berwick boss in honeymoon period with victory over Gretna
BERWICK RANGERS 3
New Berwick manager Johnny Harvey admitted he was delighted to get off to a winning start after watching his side beat Gretna 3-1 in the second round of the Scottish Cup at Shielfield on Saturday.
Harvey was only appointed in midweek as a replacement for Robbie Horn, who resigned a fortnight ago.
Two goals from Paul Willis (one in each half) and one from Cedwyn Scott in the second half, safely saw the Rangers through to the third round, where they will face East Fife at home, with Jamie Hope netting a late consolation for the visitors.
After the game, Harvey said: “It’s been a long and difficult week but I am delighted that we have managed to get off to a winning start.
“It could have been a potential banana skin, but the players showed a good level of commitment and, being a cup tie, it’s all about getting through to the next round.
“I told the players to go out and express themselves and that is what they did.”
Gretna started brightly, but once they fell behind, the League 2 outfit started to exert their authority on the match.
The first chance of the game fell to Gretna after seven minutes when Kingsley Grandison narrowly shot wide.
Two minutes later, the visitors broke down the right but Kevin Connelly’s cross evaded Marc Messenger at the back post. Berwick’s best chance fell to Willis after 18 minutes but his first-time shot from outside the box was always going high.
On 23 minutes, a long clearance from Gretna keeper Jim Atkinson found Ashley Kelly, but the winger was unable to hit the target as he lifted the ball over the bar under pressure from a Berwick defender.
As the visitors continued to take advantage of the wind, Messenger went close with a cross from the left which shaved Brennan’s post after half-an-hour.
The breakthrough eventually came after 37 minutes when Willis smashed the ball home for Berwick after Daryl Healy’s first effort was blocked and the ball fell kindly to him in the box.
Berwick started well in the second half and, after Healy dragged a shot wide, two goals in a two-minute spell killed the game. First of all, Scott extended Rangers’ lead after 50 minutes when he rolled the ball into the net from close range after forcing his way into the box on the left. And just two minutes later, it was 3-0 when Willis found the net after Scott’s initial effort was deflected.
Gretna were almost rewarded for their efforts after 76 minutes when Jake Smith sent a shot from 25 yards out crashing off Brennan’s left-hand post, with the keeper at full stretch and, late in the game, they also saw the ball bounce off the top of the Berwick crossbar.
On 86 minutes, Gretna eventually got the reward their effort deserved when a long throw-in from the right found Hope at the back post and he tapped in from close range.
“I had a spell at Berwick as a player, playing mainly with the youth team, but it’s great to be back,” said Harvey. “Now we begin our build-up to the next game, in the league against Cowdenbeath, because that is a big match for us.”