Kilmarnock 4-1 Berwick Rangers
Battling Berwick bowed out of the Scottish League Cup in the second round after three goals in the final 20 minutes saw Kilmarnock safely through on Tuesday night.
Kris Boyd put Killie ahead from the spot midway through the first half before Darren Lavery netted a fantastic leveller for the ‘Gers 10 minutes after the break.
But increasing pressure eventually told as first Rory McKenzie, then Craig Slater and a stunning long range strike from Kallum Higginbotham ensured victory for the Scottish Premiership outfit.
With the home side winless and rooted to the bottom of the Premiership on two points from five games, Berwick sniffed an opportunity from kick-off and started like a side brimming with confidence following Saturday’s 3-1 victory away at Stirling Albion.
Blair Henderson sliced wide inside three minutes after being put through by Dwayne Coultress before Michael McKenna’s shot from distance following a smart pass from player-boss Colin Cameron, only to see his effort fizz narrowly past the post.
But after going closest to opening the scoring for the ‘Gers, McKenna conceded a penalty in the 17th minute while tracking back and Boyd stepped up to nestle the spot kick into the bottom corner.
The ex-Rangers man could easily have made it two straight from kick-off, heading just over the bar after a cross from the right, while Lavery forced Jamie MacDonald into a fingertip save after weaving his way into the box.
Aside from that though, Berwick did extremely well to keep the deficit to one at the break as Boyd - who proved a handful all night - rattled a shot off the post before rising above Kevin Walker to head goalward, only for Graeme Beveridge to clear off the line, while Aaron Splaine and McKenzie also spurned great chances.
Berwick pressed again early in the second half with Kieran Ainslie seeing his header from Ewan McNeil’s free-kick saved, before Lavery grabbed the equaliser and his second of the season on 55 minutes.
Receiving a pass from Henderson, the striker drove forward and launched a powerful left-footed strike past MacDonald from 20 yards.
The joy lasted no longer than 15 minutes though as, after Walker had produced a stunning save and Cameron had made two excellent goal-line clearances, Splaine squared for McKenzie in the box and he picked his spot past the returning keeper.
Slater added a third with 13 minutes remaining, although the offside Boyd was somehow deemed not to be interfering with play despite blocking the run of the backtracking Jonny Fairbairn, before substitute Higginbotham wrapped things up with a wonderful 30-yard strike.
* This Saturday (August 29), Berwick face Arbroath at Shielfield in a Scottish League 2 game.
And with match sponsorship being provided by Berwick Rangers’ Supporters’ Trust, it means fans will be admitted to the game free of charge.
Trust volunteers will be on the gates with buckets ready to accept donations from those attending the fixture.