Points shared in Berwick14 January 2023
Steven Naismith made four changes to the side that defeated Cumbernauld Colts last weekend. Liam McFarlane, Lewis Neilson, Connor Smith and Murray Thomas replaced Harry Stone, Aidan Denholm, Luke Rathie, and Harry Gordon.
It became apparent before the match had even started that it was going to be quite a tough workout for the players on an extremely heavy pitch.
In a first half of few chances, it was the home side who were the first to go close. The Wee Jambos were struggling to get the ball down and play and when they gave the ball away on the edge of their own box, Liam Buchanan could only fire wide when sent clean through on McFarlane’s net.
Hearts responded well and almost took the lead on 15 minutes. An in-swinging corner saw some last ditch defending from Berwick to clear the ball off the line, before Connor Smith’s volley was well saved by the feet of Callum Antell.
The first half continued in similar fashion, with Berwick pressing well and forcing Hearts to move the ball quickly, which was difficult on the surface.
Into the second half, and whatever Steven Naismith said to the boys at half-time clearly had the desired effect because Hearts were ahead just five minutes after the interval.
Bobby McLuckie made a smart run down the left channel and after rounding the goalkeeper, he chipped the ball up for Makenzie Kirk, who volleyed the ball low past the last defender and into the empty net.
The goal gave the men in maroon a lift and they should have doubled their lead on the hour mark. After some good play down the right, the ball was cut back for Kirk, he intelligently dummied the ball for Finlay Pollock, but the midfielder was leaning back, and he fired over.
The hosts hit the post with an effort from distance just a few minutes later, but in terms of controlled possession, the Wee Jambos were having their best spell of the match.
Thomas, now switched on to the left nearly added the second in fine fashion, after cutting inside, he sent a vicious effort towards goal that skimmed the top of the crossbar.
With ten minutes to go the home side got themselves level as Kyle Baker powered home a corner from the right.
The game had a basketball feel to it in the closing stages as tired legs set in on both sides, but neither side could find a winner, so the spoils were shared.
Berwick Rangers: Antell, L. Baker, Barr, Buchanan, Ferguson, Graham, Nelson, Sinclair, Sneddon, Taylor, Travis
Subs: Orr, Allan, K. Baker, Scobbie, Stewart
Hearts: McFarlane, Watson, Neilson, Darge ©, Tait, Pollock, Smith, Kirk, Thomas (Duncan, 85), Forrester, McLuckie (Sandilands, 67)
Subs: Paris, Sandilands, Smutek, Rathie, Duncan, Ross, Nair