Souters take foot off the pedal during second half

Berwick Rangers Reserves 2

Selkirk 3

EoS QUALIFYING LEAGUE SECTION A

In an entertaining opening Qualifying League game, Selkirk dominated the opening half at rain-sodden Shielfield Park.

Leading by two goals at the interval, the Souters sat back in the second period to such an extent that sojourns into the Rangers’ half became few and far between.

Jamie Gibson, who was a constant threat throughout the first period, whether operating as a conventional centre forward or as a de facto left winger, should have put the Souters in front in the 12th minute.

Outstripping the home defence, he placed his shot narrowly past the post.

At the other end, Michael Robinson put Callum Hill through on goal, but keeper Dodds reacted quickly to thwart him.

Daryl Burdett headed just over the bar before Selkirk opened the scoring. Gibson outpaced several Reserves down the left flank before sending the ball across the face of goal to Jason Inglis who gave Connor Wood no chance.

But Rangers did not have to wait long for an equaliser – a penalty converted by Darren Lavery after full back Lee Stephen handled in the box.

Burdett missed another chance following a slick three-man visitors’ move ahead of a Gibson free kick which again finished on the wrong side of Wood’s goalpost.

Surging down the left wing once more, Gibson was fouled. The ensuing free kick found Ryan Pritchard who made no mistake from in front of goal.

The visitors extended this lead three minutes before the break. A Connor Wood goal kick landed straight at the feet of Inglis who promptly supplied Gibson with the pass which finally put the number nine on the scoresheet. On the stroke of half-time, Wood made some amends with a good save to prevent substitute David Battle from grabbing a fourth goal.

Berwick opened briskly after the restart and were rewarded seven minutes later, Lavery rising to head home Robinson’s diagonal lob from just outside the box. Soon after, Dodds saved brilliantly at full stretch, punching away a cracking shot from Shaun Hill.

Sam Young seemed certain to level after Kristian Neill and Lavery combined, but the ball took a slight deflection off a Selkirk player before the Berwick replacement could get his foot to it.

Neill, proving to be Berwick’s own left-wing menace, won a series of free kicks, the victim of some crude tackling as the Premier Division team ran out of steam while Berwick’s battling youngsters ran out of time.

Selkirk: J. Dodds, B. Mulven, R. Pritchard, E. Pritchard, L. Stephen, D. Burdett, J. Inglis, R. McManus, R. Clapperton, J. Gibson, L. Hardie. Subs: A. Hardie, W. Mercer, D. Battle.