Mar 16 2011 By Colin Paterson
IRN-BRU THIRD DIVISION:
BERWICK RANGERS 1
ALBION ROVERS 6
TALISMAN Scott Chaplain scored a memorable hat-trick to help Albion Rovers to their biggest win of the season last night.
The 27-year-old took his tally to seven goals for the campaign as the Coatbridge men closed the gap on SFL3 leaders Arbroath to just three points.
John Gemmell, Todd Lumsden and Chris Hamilton were also on target as Rovers scored six for the first time since their 6-1 victory over Elgin City in September 2008.
Chaplain’s treble was also the first since Bobby Barr and Kevin Watt shared the match ball at Borough Briggs in the same match more than two and a half years ago.
Rovers are now unbeaten in six games on their travels, picking up 14 points from a possible 18, and have scored 14 goals.
Delighted boss Paul Martin said: "I think we’ve been playing really well and finally got our reward. For us to come down here and get a result like that speaks volumes for our players.
"It’s a very special night for us and all our fans but we need to push on as we still have aspirations of pushing Arbroath all the way. We knew we had to win this game.
"I’m happy for the boys. It feels like a big weight has been lifted from our shoulders as we know we can be the best team in this league if we take our chances.
"Scott has got goals in him. He got one in our 2-0 win at Montrose on Saturday and that’s him got another three here."
Berwick took the lead in the eighth minute. Lumsden lost possession on the left-hand side with the ball picked up by Darren Gribben.
He found strike partner Damon Gray who kept his cool and clipped the ball over advancing Rovers keeper Thomas Flynn.
Rovers gradually began to dominate, however, and pulled level on the half-hour mark when Gemmell turned sharply just outside the box and fired home.
Gemmell should have made it 2-1 four minutes later after springing the Berwick offside trap but his low drive was touched wide by Mark Peat.
The Shielfield Park keeper was called upon again in the 36th minute as he dived low to his right to turn past Gemmell’s low free-kick effort.
The pressure was mounting and Rovers swung the match firmly in their favour with two goals in three minutes before the break.
Lumsden was in the right place to slot home Robert Love’s clever cutback for his first goal of the season.
And a third goal was added on the stroke of half-time when Chaplain headed an inch-perfect Stevie Canning free-kick into the top corner of the net.
The travelling fans were thoroughly enjoying themselves on a dreich night in Northumberland and they had more to cheer in the 51st minute as Rovers made it 4-1.
A Chaplain shot was tipped over the bar by Peat and, from the resulting corner, the ex-Dumbarton midfielder turned home Canning’s cross from close-range.
Rovers were tearing the hosts to shreds by this point and they scored a fifth goal in the 71st minute when supersub Hamilton ran onto Gemmell’s ball in behind the Berwick defence to drill past Peat.
And a glorious night for Martin’s border raiders was wrapped up five minutes from time with Chaplain curling an exquisite shot past an exposed Peat for his hat-trick clincher.
Fuming Berwick boss Jimmy Crease launched a scathing attack on his team and said: "Where do you start after that?
"We made a decent start and scored a good goal and then everything collapsed around about us. I’m not going to name individual players in the press but they will certainly know on Saturday when they’re not playing.
"To be honest, I could replace any of them. We were all over the shop and the players need to take a look at themselves. I can’t change everything but I’m not having rubbish like that."
Berwick: Peat; Smith, McLean, Ewart (Grant 45), Callaghan; Gordon, P Currie (Greenhill 74), L Currie, Little (Ponton 67); Gray, Gribben.
Subs not used: Darling, McCaldon(gk).
Booked: Smith, Little.
Albion Rovers: Flynn; Reid, Donnelly (Benton 59), Lumsden, McGowan; Ferry (Hamilton 67), Stevenson, Chaplain, Canning; Love, Gemmell (Gilmartin 78).
Subs not used: Smith, Gaston(gk).
Referee: George Salmond.