Season 2000-01 
Berwick Rangers (a) Friendly

Berwick Rangers 2 Newcastle Reserves 5 

Date: 1st August, 2000, 7.30pm. The match actually kicked off five minutes late, due to what the PA announcer proudly called "crowd congestion."

Venue: Shielfield Park, Tweedmouth. 
No programme was issued.

Conditions:  Positively Mediterranean.

Crowd:  2015 - good turnout of toon fans - the new away kit is obviously proving very popular. The inevitable solitary attention-seeking mackem turned up, but seemed to be the object of pity rather than GBH. Middlesbrough backroom boy Colin Suggett was spotted in the crowd - target unknown. 


BRFC (Sky blue shirts, navy blue shorts): O'Connor, Whelan (Oliver 66 mins), Ramsay, Ritchie, McNicholl, Walters, Rafferty, Anthony (Harvey 76 mins), Laidlaw (Wood 71mins), Worrall, Smith. 
Subs n/u:  Duthie, Weir, Forrest, Findlay.

NUFC: (normal home) Grindlay, Charvet, Beharall, Hamilton (Kerr 60 mins), Marcelino, Caldwell S. (Caldwell G. 46 mins), McClen (Green 60 mins), Ketsbaia, Coppinger, Ameobi (McMahon 68 mins), Brady.
Subs n/u: Brain, Boyd.

Referee: J.Underhill

10 mins. A slow opening by both sides, with the first real chance falling to the energetic Ketsbaia, who shot wide of the goal from 20 yards.  
15 mins. Coppinger now in on the act, bringing a save from former Doncaster goalkeeper Gary O'Connor.
16 mins. United stepped up a gear, and intelligent running from McClen brought him to the left edge of the Berwick box. He looked, and curled a looping shot that looked destined for the far right corner of the goal, but dropped just wide.
17 mins An inevitable United opener, as Ketsbaia accelerated past Ritchie on the left byline, before cutting the ball back to Ameobi. The lanky young forward had a simple finish, knocking the ball home from 12 yards. 1-0.
22 mins A rare sighting of Brady on the ball, as he too attempted to chip the 'keeper after beating a defender, but also slightly overhit his effort.
25 mins McClen found space in front of the home backline and played a short pass to Ketsbaia, who had time to step inside a defender and finish strongly with a rising 20 yard shot. 2-0.
41 mins. The goal of the game, actually precipitated by a Marcelino foul on the edge of the United area. From the flighted free kick, Hamilton gathered the ball and found an advancing Coppinger. His smart flick released the onrushing Ketsbaia, who ran from his own half and bore down on goal with two defenders shadowing him. As the 'keeper came off his line, the Georgian side-stepped him and shot home into the empty net with a low drive that actually took a final touch from defender McNicholl. 3-0.  
45 mins - Almost a fourth for United, with Coppinger turning inside the box and hitting his shot against a post. 

Half Time Berwick 0 NUFC 3

46 mins. The second period began in a similar fashion to the end of the first one, this time Brady striking the post with a first time shot, after Charvet had motored down the right flank and delivered a good cross. 
55 mins. Rangers defender Ramsay blocked a goalbound Ketsbaia rocket with his chin, but didn't seem to be any more than slightly dazed. The move had again begun down the right with both Charvet and McClen taking advantage of the wide open spaces. 
56 mins. Unprecedented activity from Marcelino, as first of all he won the ball in a tackle, then successfully headed clear a cross. Several members of the crowd were seen to be visibly taken aback by this unexpected development.
61 mins. Almost a memorable goal from former Celtic striker Marc Anthony, as he tried an ambitious lob from just inside the Newcastle half. However, 'keeper Grindlay managed to back-pedal sufficiently to claim the ball.  
67 mins. Disgracefully inept decision from the linesman, as he adjudged Coppinger offside as he tapped the ball home from three yards, even though Ameobi's unselfish pass had clearly been played backwards. 
70 mins. Another decent shot from Brady, who cut in from the left wing and tested the 'keeper from the edge of the penalty area.
71 mins. A goal back for the home side, as Grindlay in the visitors goal was guilty of a lack of concentration. He received the ball and began to dribble across his area, only for newly-arrived sub Gary Wood to nip in and steer the ball into the unguarded goal. 3-1.
82 mins.
Newcastle attempted to regain their three-goal advantage, with a rasping 25 yard attempt from Charvet that the home keeper watched whistle narrowly over his crossbar, only for a corner to be mystifyingly  awarded.
83 mins. A slight scare for United, as Coppinger tumbled over clutching an ankle after a strong challenge from Ramsay. However, he seemed to be OK, as he was to subsequently prove...
87 mins. Berwick threatened to snatch an unlikely draw, after confusion in the United area allowed local lad Darren Smith to knock home a 12 yard shot at the second attempt for Berwick, a couple of defenders having failed to deal adequately with a harmless-looking cross. 3-2.
88 mins. Normal service was resumed from an outswinging Ketsbaia corner, when Marcelino directed a free header towards goal, and Coppinger was on hand to swivel and volley home from close range. 4-2.
91 mins. Just time for a fifth, as Ketsbaia broke into the Rangers half and played in Coppinger, who directed his effort under the 'keeper to seal the victory - his seventh goal and United's 19th in four pre-season outings.

Final score: Berwick 2 NUFC 5 


Bordering on the Riviera in Berwick

Another second-string goal fest for Tommy Craig's boys, on a simply beautiful August evening. While the toon contributed fully to an entertaining evening during which Berwick struggled at times to even touch the ball, local fans were keen to point out Berwick were missing six first team regulars.

Of those called upon for Newcastle, Ketsbaia gave his usual wholehearted performance, and may yet stick around for the new season, especially given the departures of Maric and Robinson and continued rumours surrounding the fate of Big Dunc.

Stuart Green added thirty minutes of reserve team action to his nine minutes of senior activity the previous evening at Burnley, and along with the rest of the midfield reveled in the space that Rangers afforded them. McClen and Beharall noticeably performed well and displayed some crisp passing - however from past experience, competitive games find them with less time to dwell on the ball, and their performances tend to suffer accordingly.

Turning to James Coppinger, the pre-season has seen him in good goalscoring form, even without his former Darlo sidekick Robinson alongside him. It's too early to say whether his spell at Hartlepool last season has done him good, and neither Ameobi or McMahon are the easiest players to form any sort of partnership with, but our reserve games this season should be worth watching to monitor his progress against a better class of defender.

 PS - Top marks to the PA man, who ran through the lineups three or four times, made the odd witty quip and had an uncharacteristically trendy selection of tunes - Macey Gray, Wilco etc. 




Page last updated 01 August, 2020