CARETAKER boss Jimmy Crease admitted his Berwick Rangers players were “gutted” after their defeat by Cowdenbeath.
“They could hardly believe it,” said Crease. “They had put in so much effort and commitment.
“I have no complaints. I would say it is a step in the right direction.”
But with Brechin winning at home, Berwick are propping up the Scottish Second Division.
The stand-in manager, who is a former Rangers boss who returned to Shielfield Park as general manager, said: “This was a big improvement and the scoreline was unfair and unkind.”
Crease was in no doubt that the dismissal of Iain Thompson for two bookable offences and a penalty miss by Iain Diack were pivotal points in the game.
“I thought the red card was perhaps a bit harsh and the penalty was down to a good save by keeper David Hay,” said Crease whose battling side was unfortunate not to take a point.
Pat Clarke was the home side’s hat-trick hero.
He was left to tap the ball home unmarked at the back post in 68 minutes.
But seven minutes later Diack whose 57th-minute penalty had been saved levelled after beating the offside trap.
Clarke restored the home advantage after 80 minutes then completed his trio on the stroke of full-time after an upright had denied Robbie Horn an equaliser for Berwick who were without the injured Gary Wood, Ian Little and Robbie Manson.
COWDENBEATH: Hay; Anton, Hill, Gilfillan, Adamson (Mickel 44), McBride, P Scullion, Galloway, Clarke, Dalziel, McConalogue (Matusik 73). Subs (not used): Docherty, Allison, Lynch.
Booked: P Scullion, Dalziel.
Goals: Clarke 68, 80, 90.
BERWICK RANGERS: O’Connor; Lennox, Horn, Smith, McGroarty, Greenhill (McLeish 66), Thomson, Fraser, Swanson (Gemmill 77), Diack, Noble (Mark Stevenson 87). Subs (not used): Bolochoweckyj, Flockhart.
Sent Off: Thomson (60).
Booked: Thomson, Swanson.
Goal: Diack 75.
Referee: S MacDonald.