Rangers a point closer to safety after draw at 'Shire
EAST STIRLING 0
BERWICK RANGERS 0
Whilst still not mathematically safe, Berwick all but guaranteed their league survival with a point from a goalless draw away to bottom club East Stirling on Saturday.
Rangers travelled to Ochilview knowing that a win would secure their Scottish League 2 status, but in reality, the draw keeps them 12 points ahead of the Shire, with only four games remaining.
They also have a far superior goal difference and manager John Coughlin can surely now start to think about his team-building plans for next season.
Berwick went into the game without Callum Crane, who has been a regular on the left side of defence/midfield in recent weeks.
The first half was not the most inspiring 45 minutes of football supporters are likely to see and after a slow start to the game, Darren Lavery had a shot saved by keeper Dolan after 12 minutes.
A minute later John Fraser pulled a shot wide for Shire at the other end, but in general goalmouth action was at a premium and it wasn’t until Ross Fisher shot wide for the home side after 25 minutes that the next effort on goal was registered.
Shortly afterwards, Blair Henderson did likewise for Berwick, and later in the half he also headed wide.
As the game opened up, John Cairnie shot over for the hosts, with Lavery also seeing an attempt go too high at the other end just seconds later as Berwick tried to hit them on the counter attack.
Andrew Kay and former Berwick striker Andy Russell both went close as both sides continued to probe for an opening, whilst Lavery and Henderson (twice) also both had chances to break the deadlock before half-time, but the sides remained level at the break.
Early in the second half Lavery shot wide for Berwick with an effort from outside the box, before Thomas Orr also shot wide at the other end after Shire launched a quick break.
Rangers’ skipper Jonny Fairbairn, up for a corner, headed over, but Shire’s Michael McMullin was unlucky when he hit the bar following a corner, whilst substitute Kris Faulds had an effort saved in the centre of the goal by Berwick keeper Kevin Walker.
As both sides made substitutions to try and change the course of the game, Berwick fullback Ewan McNeil had a shot blocked.
The game was still there to be won, and both sides pressed for a winning goal with David McKenna and McMullin (East Stirling) and Berwick substitute Allan Walker all going close as the clock started to tick down.
Late in the game Sandy Cunningham went off injured after Rangers had used all their substitutes.
Faulds went close for the Falkirk side in injury time, his effort being saved by Kevin Walker, but it was all to no avail as neither side managed to break down the opposition defence and the game ended goalless.