Football Club
Berwick 0 Stirling 1

Berwick 0 Stirling 1

In-form Darren Smith grabbed the only goal as we bounced back from last week’s defeat to Forfar to make it a hugely impressive run of seven wins in eight games.

The result moves Dave Mackay’s men to within four points of the play-offs ahead of next weekend’s game against bottom club Cowdenbeath at Forthbank.

Smith’s 11th goal of the season was enough to earn a crucial victory and we also had Chris Smith to thank for saving Greg Rutherford’s penalty in first-half stoppage time.

We lost 3-2 on our last visit to Berwick on a miserable night in December but the ground was bathed in glorious spring sunshine as we looked to beat the Borderers for the first time this season.

Ross McGeachie and Sean Dickson returned from suspension in place of Frazer Wright and Connor McMullan while Blair Henderson came in for Ross Kavanagh. Willie Robertson, Jack McCue, Calvin Colquhoun and Ross Smith all missed out through injury but skipper Ross McMillan returned to the squad as a substitute.

There was a fairly quiet opening to the game but we were much the better team in the first half and got the breakthrough in 17 minutes. Callumn Morrison flicked the ball into the path of Dylan Nguene Bikey and he did well to hold off a defender and squared for Smith, who had a simple finish.

Henderson tested Sean Brennan then the Berwick keeper made a superb save to tip a terrific shot from Morrison on to the bar, before Bikey had penalty appeals waved away.

The home side had offered little but had a better spell as the interval approached and Pat Scullion headed over from a corner before Steven Notman went down under a challenge from McGeachie and referee Craig Napier pointed to the spot.

Rutherford struck the ball well enough but Smith kept up his excellent record of saving penalties to push it away.

Berwick carried more threat shooting down the slope in the second half but ex-Bino David Verlaque fired just wide then forced a good save from Smith. We didn’t create too much after the break but worked hard to preserve our lead and Bikey’s free-kick brought a decent stop from Brennan.

Scullion fired a 20 yarder just too high in the last minute as we claimed only our second win in the last nine visits to Shielfield and rekindled our top-four hopes in the process.

Berwick Rangers: Brennan, Verlaque, Page, Notman, Scullion, Spark, Thomson (Watt 76), McKirdy (Hamilton 46), Rutherford, McKenna, Murrell (Lavery 46).
Subs (not used): Goodfellow (GK), McKinlay, Fairbairn, Kessells.

Stirling Albion: C Smith, Caddis, Quigley, Forsyth, McGeachie, Black, Dickson, Morrison (Kavanagh 76), D Smith (McLaren 86), Henderson (Little 76), Bikey.
Subs (not used): Fallens (GK), McMillan, McMullan, Jeffries.

Goal: D Smith 17

Referee: Craig Napier

Crowd: 440