Rangers on brink of relegation after away drubbing at Cove
Cove Rangers 4-0 Berwick Rangers
Berwick Rangers are on the brink of exiting the SPFL after a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Cove Rangers in the first leg of their relegation play-off on Saturday.Barring a miraculous comeback in this weekend’s second leg at Shielfield, which seems unlikely, it looks like the Borderers will be playing in the Lowland League next season.Berwick travelled to Balmoral to face Cove, the Highland League champions, and winners of their play-off semi-final with Lowland champions East Kilbride, low on confidence, having registered only one win in 24 matches.No goals in their previous seven games also did little to boost their morale, and it showed as they were overrun by a home side who put themselves on the verge of promotion to Scottish League 2 with two goals in each half.Goals from Sam Burnett, Mitch Megginson, Jamie Masson and Jordon Brown gave Cove a comfortable victory, which might have been more had they not hit the crossbar and squandered a hatful of chances throughout the match.Berwick, meanwhile, were painfully second best all afternoon and only registered three attempts at goal, one in the first half from Daryl Healy and two in the second from Declan O’Kane and substitute Lewis Barr.The defeat was a bitter pill for supporters to swallow, some of whom have now called for wholesale changes within the club before the start of next season.Manager John Brownlie, who along with assistant Ian Little replaced sacked former boss Johnny Harvey just days before the team’s final league game of the season, admitted afterwards his side had ‘a mountain to climb,’ but claimed they were ‘still in it.’“We are still in the tie,” he said, “but we have to do a lot better than we did in the first leg. Cove were far better than us, so we are going to have to change our strategy for the second leg and have a go at them.“We need an early goal and a bit of luck because they (Cove) are a decent side.“We are fighting for survival and if the players realise that we have a chance, even if we have a mountain to climb.”Cove were the better side throughout and after four early chances they took the lead after 23 minutes when Burnett netted following a corner. Megginson then doubled the advantage after 38 minutes when he headed in from a Darren Kelly cross.Early in the second half Megginson shot wide and then saw a header come back off the crossbar. The rampant Aberdeen side were up for the fight and three chances in three minutes saw them close to extending their lead before four more efforts were either wide or saved.It was virtually one way traffic and it came as no surprise when they went 3-0 up after 79 minutes with a close range shot from Brown, and 4-0 after 83 minutes when Masson netted from a tight angle.Some fans chanted ‘sack the board,’ during the match and at the final whistle there were some angry scenes involving supporters and at least one player.