This was another magnificent display from
the Dream Team, and another memorable night for the fans. Okay we didn't
win, but by god we gave Hearts one hell of a fright. Hearts however
deservedly won this game- but they were made to fight all the way.
The state of the Tynecastle park was
pretty awful. Craig Levien criticised the Shielfield pitch 10 days ago,
yet his own pitch is ten times worse!
to a couple of friendly Hearts fans prior to the match, they seemed to
think that Hearts would walk over Berwick- they were in for a rude
awakening! The Berwick fans turned up in numbers and were in good voice
for the entire match. Being a Hearts fan can't be much fun at the moment,
most of the Hearts support were pretty muted, although a few dozen kids
were doing their best to get some songs going. In the end they were well
and truly out-sang by the Berwickers.
As the Berwick players came out onto the
pitch, they were greeted with black and gold balloons, ticker-tape and
masses of toilet roll, all of which added to the occasion. Right from the
off Hearts had Berwick pinned back in their own half. A good move down the
right saw Juanjo cross for McSwegan to head wide.
At the other end Barry Elliot sent a
looping header just over after good work by Duthie down the wing. Andy
Kirk tested mark McLean with a long range drive but the 'keeper gather
comfortably. McSwegan also had a long range crack at goal but his effort
flew high and wide. Flogal also had a chance after a rare slip by Alan
Neill, but the Berwick fans cheered as his shot went wildly wide.
On quarter of an hour Mark McLean slipped
in the box giving Andy Kirk the chance to finish into a keeperless net-
luckily Innes Ritchie and Alan Neill threw themselves in front of the ball
to clear the danger.
On 18 minutes Berwick scored, albeit
against the run of play. A superb reverse pass from Gary Wood sent Barry
Elliot scampering clear of the Hearts defence, fighting off challenges
from Pressley and Petric in the process, he ran 40 yards before beating
Niemi with a well placed shot into the bottom right hand corner of the
net. At this point the Berwick fans were absolutely wild.
Berwick had an opportunity to go 2-0 up
but Anthony hit his free kick straight at the 'keeper.
Hearts started to up the pace a bit. A
free kick from Juanjo curled just past the post. Mark McLean saved
the day when he brilliantly tipped over a close range shot from Colin
Cameron. Before half time Kirk and
McSwegan both sent tame shots trickling past the post.
The half time whistle was met with a
massive cheer from the Berwick fans- it's just a pity it wasn't the final
Hearts came out for the second half
looking more determined, obviously with Levien's half time talk ringing in
their ears. A couple of minutes into the half Andy Kirk rattled the
A good move by Berwick saw Forrest play
Elliot into the box, Pressley seemed to have shoved Elliot to the ground,
but claims for a penalty fell on the deaf ears of referee Martindale.
At the other end Andy Kirk had his claim for
a penalty turned down.
On the hour mark Elliot was fouled about
25 yards from goal. Only Alan Neill takes free kicks 25 yards from goal,
and sure enough the big man raced up the field to take the kick.
Fortunately for Hearts it flew inches past the upright.
Darren Smith replaced Mark Duthie on 67
minutes. A minute later Hearts equalised. A good move down the left saw
Flogal float in a good cross for McSwegan
to head home. McLean had no chance.
And two minutes later in was two- and
most of Tynecastle breathed a collective sigh of relief. Tomaschek
cleverly spotted the run of Juanjo
and slipped the ball through the Berwick defence, the little man ran onto
the ball stabbed the ball past McLean.
Hearts played out the rest of the game
untroubled by a tired Berwick side.
Berwick Rangers FC and indeed
Berwick-upon-Tweed can be extremely proud of the lads over the two ties.
Now we are left to concentrate on the league. Partick Thistle apart, we
are the best side in the division. Over the next two months we have to
prove this- and with a bit of luck we could be playing First Division
football next season.
It's Stirling Albion at on Saturday,
hopefully some of the fans who went up to Hearts will be tempted to go
along to Shielfield on Saturday, especially as kids get in for free and
adults are only a fiver.