Rangers denied as Killie fight back for win
Berwick Rangers 2-3 Kilmarnock
Berwick almost pulled off a shock result when they faced Premier League side Kilmarnock at Shielfield on Tuesday in a League Cup group match.
Rangers led 2-0 with 25 minutes remaining, but Lee Clark’s side fought back for their first win in the section to rekindle their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.
Goals either side of half time from Jonny Fairbairn and Hibs’ loanee Sean Mackie, on his debut, put Rangers in the driving seat.
But Ivory Coast born Souleymane Coulibaly struck twice in five minutes to level the scores before Rory McKenzie completed the fightback with a header just five minutes from time.
Berwick manager John Coughlin said there were plenty positives to take from the game.
“But the bottom line is we should not lost a game, no matter who the opposition is, after being 2-0 up at home.”
It was Rangers’ first competitive defeat in 90 minutes at Shielfield in 2016, and came at a price, with another Hibs’ debutant, Ben Stirling, injuring his quad.
This follows injuries to Darren Lavery and Kevin McKinlay, stretching further an already threadbare squad.
Killie started well and in the first half they twice hit the bar through William Boyle and Josh Magennis.
They also forced home keeper Kevin Walker into make two fine saves, one a acrobatic fingertip dive to deny McKenzie.
But it was Berwick who led at the break, courtesy of fairbairn’s stooping header from a Steven Thomson corner after 11 minutes.
They doubled their advantage when Mackie ran onto a crossfield pass from Jordyn Sheerin and finished well after 56 minutes.
But Coulibaly netted in 65 and 70 minutes to level the match, and in 85 Mckenzie headed in from close range after Walker made another good close range save from Florent Bojaj.
“These games have put a strain on the squad,” admitted Coff. “In fact, if it is the same next year I might not take up the option of pre-season friendlies, because next Tuesday will be our fifth midweek game in a row, as well as Saturday’s, and we haven’t even started the league yet.”
Killie boss Clark said: “I was impressed with Berwick. They had some quality in their passing and they posed us a few questions but we got out of jail.”