\Saturday 27 July 2013

Berwick Rangers
3 - 2
AET FT 1-1
Gray (26)
Morris (99)
Ronald (105)
HT 1-0
McNulty (90+3)
Mensing (105 pen)

Our hopes of a first ever win in the Ramsdens Cup ended this afternoon as we lost out to League Two club Berwick Rangers in a dramatic game.

We started brightly in the warm conditions at Shielfield Park, Marc McNulty and Connor McDonald both forcing Berwick keeper Paul Grant into saves in the early stages.

The home side took the lead on the half hour mark. The goal, headed home by former Livi youngster Ross Gray from Owen Ronald's corner was largely against the run of play but it mattered not for the Border side.

Before half time Callum Fordyce nearly equalised when he got his head to a near post Jack Beaumont corner, but his goalbound effort was cleared.

A goal down at the break, we redoubled our efforts in the second laf, enjoying the bulk of possession and territory, but we encountered a Berwick side who were resolute in defending their lead.

The introduction of Kyle Wilkie and Ross Docherty into midfield seemed to give us an extra spark, but it was Marc McNulty who finally forced an error from Berwick when he was fouled in the box with thirteen minutes left.

McNulty stepped up to take the kick himself but sent the ball high and wide.

Coll Donaldson was sent up front to bolster our attack as we looked to equalise and force the game into extra time.

We looked dead and buried as the game moved into its dying moments, but a free kick from Martin Scott three minutes into injury time saved the day.

Marc McNulty challenged Paul Grant for the ball and got just enough of a touch to divert the ball into the net and claim his and our first goal of the competitive season.

An action packed first period of extra time followed. We went into it with the momentum but our chances took a fatal hit when Jason Talbot was sent packing by George Salmond; a straight red card for something the standside linesman saw or heard.

Berwick had few chances in the game but they converted a far higher percentage than we did - which was the deciding factor.

Their second goal in the 99th minute came from the boot of sub Josh Morris, who reacted quickest when Jamieson parried Hoskins' well struck free kick from outside the penalty area.

Worse was to follow when an unfortunate slip by Ross Docherty allowed Owen Ronald to finish spectacularly for the third Berwick goal.

There was still plenty of time to fight back and we got a great chance to do so when a clumsy barge on Burchill convinced the referee to award us a second penalty. Skipper Simon Mensing took over the responsibility of taking the kick and scored convincingly.

As the clock ticked down our ten men pinned back Berwick's eleven, but in the end Ian Little's men held out to record one of several shocks in today's Ramsdens Cup first round matches.

Bowing out of the competition at such an early stage is a big blow for us, and the result makes avoiding a similar fate at Elgin in next weekend's League Cup tie even more important.

Berwick Rangers:
Grant, Turner, Gielty, Hoskins, Tulloch, Currie, Gray (O'Brien 74), Notman, Dalziel (Miller 86), Lavery (Morris 82), Ronald
Subs not used: Fairbairn, Bald

Jamieson, Mampuya, Talbot, Mensing, Donaldson, Fordyce (Docherty 71), Scott, Beaumont (Wilkie 57), McNulty, Burchill, McDonald (Mullen 77)
Subs not used: Lander, Walker

Referee: George Salmond

Attendance: 460