Shire were desperately unlucky to leave Berwick’s Shielfield Park after suffering another disappointing defeat.
Despite putting in a gritty, determined performance in very difficult circumstances they were left with nothing to show for their efforts due to a five minute period at the start of the second half where they simply lost concentration.
Having worked so hard to get a half-time lead through Nathan Shepherd’s fifth goal of the season, Shire were caught cold immediately after the break and two simple crosses and two free headers later they were behind and chasing the game.
The players showed no sign of giving up and, especially late in the game, created some real opportunities to to take something from the match but could not turn the pressure into goals.
The depleted squad, missing five first team players, was augmented by the emergency loan signing of Alloa Athletic utility man Aron Lynas, and coach Craig Tully promoted a number of his under-20 development squad.
That meant a start for Kyle Carruthers and Andy Kay with Adam Murray on the bench along with Mark Hansen and Ciaran McBrearty, who were getting their first taste of first team football.
Shire also gave a debut to Darren Dolan in goal and handed Neil McCabe the captain’s armband in the absence of Richie Barnard.
McCabe was given a much more defensive role as Shire sought to subdue Berwick Rangers in the early stages and the home team, although given plenty of the ball, found it difficult to break free of the defensive shackles imposed by their visitors.
In the opening period the best they could muster was a shot from outside the box that gave Dolan a comfortable save.
Then, after 14 minutes, Shire took the lead. Ally Roy’s perfectly-judged ball into the box was met by David McKenna’s header which crashed back off the bar.
The Shire striker sent the rebound towards goal but his effort was hacked off the line. However, Nathan Shepherd collected the loose ball and, at the third time of asking, it landed in the back of the net.
Berwick tried to respond and Michael McKenna saw his shot fly across the face of goal and wide after 23 minutes.
Shire had their skipper to thank after 41 minutes when McCabe cleared McKenna’s shot off the line and they went in at the interval 1-0 ahead.
Berwick made a number of changes at the break and started the second half positively. Just a minute in Ewan McNeil crossed to the back post where Blair Henderson seemed to have far too much time and space to plant his header in the back of the net from close-range.
Five minutes later, with Shire still reeling from the goal, they conceded a second in similar fashion, This time David Morris’s cross was headed past the exposed Dolan by Darren Lavery.
The visitors took a while to recover but slowly found their way back into the game.
David McKenna teed-up Ally Roy on the edge of the box but his shot sneaked wide.
The McKenna won possession close to the goal line and crossed but, instead oof firing the ball across the face of goal, he cut it back too deep and the opportunity was lost.
Then Roy got a clear sight of goal but his effort was blocked. The rebound fell to Andy Kay and his shot was charged down as well.
Shire created more menacing moments as the game went on but time ran out on them on what was a very frustrating afternoon.
Shire have completed the emergency loan signing of Alloa Athletic utility player Aron Lynas until the January transfer window.
The 19 year-old joined the club after formalities were completed on Saturday morning and he was added to the squad for the Ladbrokes League 2 match against Berwick Rangers at Shielfield.
Dunfermline-based Aron was previously with Cowdenbeath before joining the Wasps and followed Alloa manager Danny Lennon to The Recs.
"We have so many injuries right now that we really needed to bring someone else in," said Shire coach Craig Tully.
"We spent most of the week seeking to bring players in on loan but our plans looked like being thwarted by a variety of circumstances.
"The club is grateful to Danny Lennon and Alloa Athletic. Aron comes highly-recommended and he can fill a number of different positions in defence and midfield and we are looking forward to working with him," said Craig.
Berwick Rangers Preview
Shire will travel to Berwick Rangers this weekend without the suspended Connor Greene, while Billy Vidler is added to an already long injury list.
Billy suffered a knee injury towards the end of last week’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Arbroath and will join Chris Townsley, Ross Gilmour and Michael Wallace among those players who require treatment.
Coach Craig Tully is mulling over his options for the trip to Northumberland and may choose to promote some of the teenage development team to his squad.
"It’s not a great situation," he said. "We only have a first team squad of 18, if you include the two boys here on loan, and to have five of them out for the one game is not what you want.
"But we have called on the young lads already this season and they have done well, and I’m sure they will give us everything we ask of them."
The coaching staff and players have put in some good work this week on the training pitch and have gone over in some detail what went wrong last weekend.
Despite the recent run of poor results, the coach remains hopeful things will come right for the team soon.
"We are not panicking," he said. "I believe we have a good bunch of players and they showed that in their early season performances and results.
"Ross Gilmour’s been a big miss but he’s now back in full training and is maybe only a week away from playing. Big Chris Townsley isn’t that far away either so, by the time we come back from the international break, they both could be in contention.
"Michael Wallace isn’t far behind them, so we are close to being able to strengthen. If we are patient things will turn."
Shire will have the incentive of trying to do something they didn’t manage in four attempts last season; beat Berwick Rangers. The coach says as most of the squad were involved in last season’s match-ups, they should be raring to go.
"I know it it were me it would get me fired up for the game," he said. "Berwick took 12 points from us last season and that was pretty much the difference between finishing ninth and having a chance of being in the play-offs."
Shire will wear the new sky blue third strip at Shiefield Park with the home team in their traditional black and gold stripes.
Admission is ÂÂÂ£12 for adults and ÂÂÂ£6 for senior citizens, students and unemployed. Kick-off is 3:00pm.
Adults â€“ Â£150
Concession â€“ Â£60.00
Family Tickets are Â£150* (one adult and a maximum of three children)
Disabled - Â£60.00* (includes free ticket for one carer)
Under 16s â€“ Pay Your Age In Pounds (e.g. an 11 year-old pays Â£11 etc.)
* For these tickets please contact the club.
Fill in this form to begin the purchase of a season ticket.
The 100 Club is designed to bring a regular cash income stream into East Stirlingshire F.C each month to help run the football club.
100 Club members are directly helping The Shire in its ambition to putting the best competitive team on to the field of play.
100 Club members are also investing in the future development of our youth set up which is at the very heart of our future strategic planning.
All that is required is a monthly investment from you of Â£10.
Each month you have the chance to win a share of the monthly stake in the 100 Club Draw! There will be other prizes including:
Signed team shirts and balls
Boardroom visit on a match day
Special seasonal prizesâ€¦â€¦. and much, much more!
All this for just Â£10 a month. What do I need to do?
Return your application form to:
East Stirlingshire Football Club
81D Main Street
Hand it in on a match day!
Apply online and pay Â£120 for one year's membership by filling out this form:
Shiretrust is a co-op set up in 2004 with the aim of giving supporters of East Stirlingshire a say in the running of the club.
Since 2011 the trust has owned a 46% stake in the football club.
It has always been the case that the trust is a body to allow all Shire fans the chance to participate in the running of the football club.
To do that you need to be a member, it costs Â£10 per year to join and new members also have to buy a Â£1 share in the company.
Although the club has finished near the bottom in recent seasons I'm sure most of us can share the sense of optimism that we have for the coming season.