Match date: 17h September 2022 Kickoff: 15.00 pm

Dunbar United    3    Clachnacuddin FC  2

After their Preliminary Round victory away at Vale of Leithen, Dunbar United faced a huge game against Clachnacuddin FC in their First Round tie with the Highland League side playing two tiers above them in the Scottish Football Pyramid.

The visitors were marshalled at the back by Gary Warren who made almost 200 appearances for Inverness Caledonian Thistle and they had 3 loan signings from Senior clubs in their side.

Another large crowd turned out for the game and with the ground in perfect condition, the flags fluttering around the ground in a strong wind and the new stand adding to the occasion the scene was set for a Scottish Cup classic.

Both sides took time to settle before Dunbar went close when Darren Smith had a shot blocked then James Redpath scuffed a shot when well placed. Clach’s Lewis Mackenzie then had two shots in quick succession as the game flowed from end to end.

Dunbar began to take control and Ben Bathgate had a shot saved by Martin Mackinnon in the visitors goal before Bathgate again ran clear on the left and played in Bob Berry whose shot was again saved by the Clach keeper.

Darren Smith had a cross come shot parried over the bar as the hosts dominated and Smith’s shot from the resultant corner was blocked despite the appeals for handball.

In the 38th minute despite Dunbar’s dominance it was the visitors who opened the scoring in almost their first venture into the Dunbar half. Paul Brindle had a shot blocked before being fouled on the edge of the box. Robbie Thompson’s free kick was parried away by Sean Brennan in the Dunbar goal only as far as Paul Brindle who fired low into the bottom corner to score against the run of play.

Four minutes later and Dunbar equalised with a peach of a goal when the ball broke to Bob Berry on the edge of the box and the midfielder curled a beauty over the Clach defence into the top corner to score his second goal of the season.

Things got even better for Dunbar in their next attack when the impressive Ben Bathgate dispossessed Clach’s Gary Warren before looking up and finding Cammy Dawson in the clear leaving him to sweep the ball home past the keeper and give Dunbar a deserved 2-1 lead.

Warren almost redeemed himself just on the half time whistle when he found himself in space from a free kick but blasted the ball high over the bar.

The second half started with Dunbar going all out for another goal but some poor finishing in front of goal kept the score line intact and the visitors then began to take control with Paul Brindle having a shot deflected for a corner before only a last gasp tackle from Dunbar’s Darren Smith denied Lewis Mackenzie the equaliser.

Both sides rang the changes with twenty minutes left and Connor Bunce went close for the visitors before Jordan Hopkinson did likewise for Dunbar. With eight minutes left Jonny Grotlin created space for Jordan Hopkinson before the visiting keeper saved with his feet.

Three minutes later and the Clachnacuddin pressure finally paid dividends after a low cross from the left was missed by two Dunbar defenders before Aly Riddle controlled the ball and fired in the equaliser.

Jonny Grotlin fired over the bar before James Redpath went close in the dying seconds as Dunbar picked themselves up again but the game went into extra time with the score level at 2-2.

Clachnacuddin again dominated the opening fifteen minutes with James Anderson firing high over the bar after being played in by Connor Bunce but the Dunbar defence was well organised and giving little away.

The deadlock was broken in the 104th minute after Jonny Grotlin challenged the visiting defence at a long ball and when the ball fell to Aaron Congalton the Haddington based youngster steadied himself and fired an unstoppable shot from fifteen yards into the top corner to score his first goal in Dunbar colours and give the home side a 3-2 lead at the break.

Grotlin picked up a knock and was replaced for the last quarter by Kerr Allan as Dunbar looked to see out the game. Clachnacuddin pushed forward at every opportunity but Dunbar threatened on the break and Darren Handling had a great run ended with a tackle inside the box which some referees might have seen as a penalty but the same player picked himself up and then had a shot cleared of the line.

Dean Whitson then saw a header rebound from the base of the post with the Clach defence beaten before Shaun Miller found himself clear with only the keeper to beat but his shot under pressure was saved by Mackinnon in the visiting goal.

Right at the end Andrew MacLeod had a great shot deflected for a corner as Clach tried to claw their way back into the game and with frustrations getting a bit heated the referee did well to keep control of the game before sounding the final whistle and ending a memorable good old fashioned Scottish Cup tie with Dunbar United winning 3-2 and going forward now to the Scottish Cup Second Round draw for the second time in successive seasons.

All the Dunbar players gave their all in this game and once again did the town of Dunbar proud against a very good Highland League side who made them fight all the way. Coming from a goal behind then clinching the game in extra time says a lot for the resolve of the players and hopefully their efforts can be rewarded with another favourable draw in the next round.

It’s back to League business next weekend though with a difficult away match against Preston Athletic at Pennypit Park, Prestonpans with kick off at 2.30pm.

Dunbar United :-  Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Grant Thomson, Bob Berry, Cammy Dawson, Darren Handling, Ben Bathgate, Willis Hare, Aaron Congalton, Darren Smith, Dean whitson.

Substitutes :- Shea Dowie, Kerr Allan, Jonny Grotlin, Jordan Hopkinson, Shaun Miller.

Clachnacuddin :- Martin Mackinnon, Riley Mackenzie, Calum Black, Ben Cormack, Gary Warren, Shaun Sutherland, Lewis Mackenzie, Ally Gillies, James Anderson, Robbie Thompson, Paul Brindle.

Substitutes :- Aly Riddle, Daniel Rae, Martin Callum, Connor Bunce, Andrew MacLeod, Donald Morrison, Jamie Calder, Kieran Chalmers.

Referee :- George Calder

Asst Referees :- Cameron Stirling, Blair White.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Dave Black & Gordon Maitland.

Mon the Seasiders!