Rangers must prepare for play-offs

Berwick Rangers 0-3 Albion Rovers

Monday, 29th April 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 11:55 am
Daryl Healy heads towards goal.

Berwick Rangers were consigned to the end of season relegation play-offs when they were beaten by Albion Rovers at Shielfield in Saturday.

Manager Johnny Harvey said afterwards: “The play-offs are now a reality and that is what we have to concentrate on now.

“I would like to apologise to everyone for being in this position. Congratulations go to Albion because they have had a remarkable turn around, but of course, our own form has contributed to the situation and we cannot get away from that.

“This is not where we wanted to be (rooted at the bottom of the Scottish League 2 table) but we are and now we have to concentrate on the play-offs and make sure we get ourselves out of this.”

Berwick will now face either Cove Rangers or East Kilbride in the two-legged play-offs on May 11 and 18, (Cove won 2-1 in the first leg at East Kilbride on Saturday) with the winners securing a League 2 place next season.

Two goals from Gregor Fotheringham - one in each half - and a penalty from former Berwick player Gary Phillips at the end of the first half secured the victory for Rovers in what was a must win game for the Rangers if they were to take matters to the final weekend of the season.

The game was played in front of a crowd of 975, the biggest of the season and with just over a minute gone Berwick had a great chance when Ouzy See, making a rare start, slipped the ball into the path of Calum Adamson and he fed Lewis Barr in the box whose effort from close range was smothered by Albion keeper Peter Morrison.

Adamson was in again just a few minutes later and crossed from the right but this time his ball was put behind for a corner.

On 16 minutes former Berwick player Gary Phillips hit a volley from the left side of the box from a pass by Smart Osadolor, but Berwick keeper Ryan Goodfellow pulled off a fine one-handed save.

The breakthrough came after 24 minutes when Albion broke down the right and a cross into the box from Declan Byrne was met with a powerful header from Gregor Fotheringham who found the net from 12 yards out.

Berwick tried to respond and substitute Daryl Healy, who replaced See who suffered a hamstring injury after the goal, headed narrowly wide from a cross by Cameron Blues, who moments later had a powerful drive pushed away by Morrison. At the other end George Newell also went close when the ball was played into his feet by Phillips.

As half-time approached Healy was denied again by Morrison who got down down quickly to push away his header from a cross by Jack Ogilvie. Almost immediately, Albion broke upfield and Goodfellow had to make a save from Osadolor.

But in first half stoppage time Rovers were awarded a penalty when Andrew Forbes brought down Newell in the box and Phillips slotted confidently into the corner to double his side’s lead with the last kick of the half.

Just five minutes into the second half and it was game over at 0-3 when Osadolor shrugged off a challenge on the left of the box and crossed for Fotheringham to volley in his second of the match.

Midway through the second half substitute Jordan Orru hit a shot straight at Morrison, but by then Berwick were a beaten side and knew there was no way back.

Near the end Albion broke down the left again and Osadolor crossed to the back post, but substitute Brian Ross pulled his shot wide with just Goodfellow to beat.

“The simple truth is we didn’t take our chances when they were presented to us,” said Harvey.

“We had a couple of really good chances, but they didn’t go in, Albion won the game and took the points and now for us it is all about the two games coming up in the play-offs, after we play our final league game away to Elgin.”