Culter go down fighting as Berwick move up

BERWICK RANGERS VS CULTER (3-1)
BERWICK RANGERS VS CULTER (3-1)

Berwick moved into the Scottish Cup fourth round and a home tie with Dumbarton after overcoming a battling Culter side at the second attempt.

Kenny O’Brien put the Gers in front from a Lee Currie corner and the lead was doubled shortly after half time through Scott Dalziel.

Jamie McAllister was then sent off for the visitors but they were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute which Allan Youngson converted before Darren Lavery clinched the tie three minutes later.

After a late injury to Billy Bald, and with on-loan Hibs keeper Paul Grant unavailable on their request, it meant a start for 39-year-old former keeper and current goalkeeping coach, Gary O’Connor.

Despite a couple of early forays forward from the visitors and a good punch clear by O’Connor from a testing cross, it was Berwick who had chances with Dalziel heading straight into the hands of Neil Duffy and a weaving run from Lavery was finished with a tame effort.

A slick team move on 18 minutes then resulted in a corner and, from Currie’s left foot, O’Brien stood his ground in front of keeper Duffy, who failed to collect the ball and it hit the winger and went in.

Berwick continued to dominate as Lavery volleyed wide and they could’ve doubled the lead moments later when Dean Hoskins collected a Neil Janczyk pass, rounded Duffy and put it in the net, only to be denied by the offside flag.

O’Brien then lobbed wide from a Lavery pass on the 34th minute before the striker headed wide on the stroke of half time.

The start of the second half brought more sustained Berwick pressure.

They finally got the second goal in the 51st minute when Hoskins got to the byline and swung in a cross to Dalziel at the back post, whose deflected volley struck the post before it fortunately fell back to the striker who made no mistake second time.

Substitute Ross Gray then found himself one on one with Duffy after a stray back pass but the keeper did well to divert his shot wide.

McAllister then had Culter’s first clear cut chance with a 20-yard effort which went past the post before substitute Dean Carse volleyed over after a Lavery flick on.

McAllister was then fouled and shown his marching orders in the 82nd minute and, from the Culter free kick, Stephen Tulloch was penalised for a push in the box and Youngson sent O’Connor the wrong way from the spot.

Three minutes later, though, Berwick regained their two-goal cushion when Lavery was put through by Gray, nodded the ball past the last defender and slotted the ball home past Duffy.

There was still time for Berwick to create more chances but the visiting keeper pulled off a couple of fine saves, firstly from a Steven Notman drive and then a close range effort from Lavery.