Match date: 2nd October 2021 Kickoff: 2.30 pm

On a wet and windy day Dunbar made a poignant return to Humbug Park in Crossgates for the first time since Dunbar’s former Club Secretary, Malcolm Jones sadly passed away almost two years ago, and as a mark of respect,  an immaculate one minutes silence was held before the kick off.

With Daniel Laing unavailable, his place in goal was taken by Dunbar’s current goalkeeping coach John Johnstone,  with the Dunbar management team keeping an otherwise unchanged team from last week’s win over The Swifts. Both teams were equal on points and a close game was eagerly anticipated.

Crossgates kicking down the slope forced two early corners as they looked for a quick break through,  but Dunbar scored in the seventh minute in almost their first attack when an inch perfect diagonal cross from Darren Smith found Andy Jones on the left and his cross was headed in at the back post by Jamie Devlin to give the visitors an early lead.

Six minutes later and disaster for Dunbar when John Johnstone fell awkwardly after clutching a Crossgates cross.  After intensive treatment he bravely carried on,  but when another cross within minutes was headed over by Darren Aitken,  he fell again and had to leave the field with suspected ligament damage. With no other goalkeeper on the bench Dunbar’s goalscorer Jamie Devlin bravely donned the goalkeeper’s jersey, and his place up front was taken by Johnny Edmond.

Dunbar went close again in the 36th minute when Dan Purves ran on to a long ball but was denied a shot with the help of a gentle nudge from Primrose’s Stuart McDonald. Andy Jones had a shot deflected for a corner which Johnny Edmond met at the back post and his return pass saw Andy Jones fire over the crossbar.

Crossgates Cameron Muirhead had a shot from the edge of the box saved well by Devlin as the Dunbar defence were coping well with the hosts attacks and giving Devlin some much needed protection, but right on the stroke of half time a Primrose free kick was not cleared properly and Archie Campbell made a yard for himself before firing a low shot into the corner of the net for an equalising goal.  Seven minutes of added time were played before the teams left the field all square at the interval.

After the restart an early appeal for a penalty for Crossgates was waved aside by the referee before Darren Handling went close for Dunbar with a shot which went inches wide.

Dunbar regained the lead in the 53rd minute after Johnny Edmond won a corner and Darren Smith’s in-swinger was dropped by Sean Robertson in the home goal and Johnny Edmond was on hand to blast the ball home from close range.

Dunbar were playing some lovely football and were denied a penalty after an Andy Jones shot was clearly handled by a Crossgates defender before some great play from Dan Purves found Andy Jones in the centre and his shot bobbled over the keeper but rebounded off the post to deny Dunbar a third goal.

With eighteen minutes left to play Crossgates equalised for the second time in the game and were a little fortunate when Dunbar’s central defender Scott Hay slipped at a crucial time whilst trying to cut out a cross from the right and Scott Lawrie was left the simplest of tasks to fire low into the net.

The hosts’ tails were up and seven minutes from time they edged in front from the penalty spot after Scott Hay was penalised for pushing an opponent to the ground from a free kick which he had just committed seconds earlier. Scott Lawrie sent Jamie Devlin the wrong way from the spot kick to give Crossgates a 3-2 lead.

Dunbar tried hard to get the equaliser but the experienced Crossgates defence were giving little away and the hosts picked up all three points.  A special mention to Jamie Devlin who did well in his time between the sticks, but I would imagine he prefers scoring goals rather than saving them !

No doubt the game was spoiled by the injury to Dunbar’s keeper and despite a valiant effort by the rest of the team they had to readjust and were a bit unlucky not to pick up at least a share of the points but no time to dwell to long on the result with a quick return to action on Tuesday night with joint League leaders Penicuik Athletic the visitors to New Countess Park with kick off at 7.30pm. Tickets for this game are sale via the club’s Fanbase app:

Crossgates Primrose :-Sean Robertson, Stuart McDonald, Brian Ritchie, Darren Aitken, Scott Lawrie, Archie Campbell, Craig Maguire, James McAteer, Cameron Muirhead, Ross Graham, Finn Graham.

Substitutes :- Douglas Swan, Neil Lawrie, Colin Patterson, Andrew McDonald, Mark McKenzie, Sean Hunter.

Dunbar United :- John Johnstone, Bob Berry, Evan Fleming, Scott Hay, Nicky Weir, Kieran Ingram, Dan Purves, Darren Smith, Jamie Devlin, Darren Handling, Andy Jones.

Substitutes :- Jo Purves, Michael McFarlane, Michael Fairnie, Ben Bathgate, Fraser Neave, Fraser McLaren, Johnny Edmond.

Referee :-  Barry Dickson

Asst Referees :- Scott Downie, Niamh Westwood

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood

Photos by Gordon Maitland.