Match date: 29th of July 2023 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Dunbar United  4   Dundonald Bluebell      1

After an impressive pre-season it was back to League business on Saturday when Dundonald Bluebell were the visitors to Dunbar for the home side’s first game in their return to the East of Scotland League Premier Division and Dundonald’s fourth place finish last season meant a daunting task ahead.

In front of a very healthy crowd it was the visitors who threatened first when a driving run from Callum Smith was halted by a fine tackle from Dunbar’s Grant Thomson.

Sean Stewart outpaced the Dundonald defence in the ninth minute before squaring the ball for Liam Gregory whose left footed shot went wide of the target and the home side almost fell behind in the next minute when Sean Brennan had a brilliant double save from a Barry Sibanda header then a close range shot from Daryl Healy as the visitors threatened.

Liam Gregory went close for Dunbar after controlling a through ball before rounding the Dundonald keeper but the ball ran out of play before he could get his shot goalwards.

Seven minutes later and with both sides striving for an opening goal Callum Smith headed wide for Dundonald when left unchallenged from a corner before Liam Gregory and Taylor Hendry combined well for Dunbar with Hendry’s shot saved by the legs of the Dundonald keeper.

Dunbar were always dangerous and Sean Stewart forced another great save from James Lennox in the visitors goal. Two minutes before the break Sean Stewart was fouled on the edge of the box and Michael Barfoot curled a beauty over the wall into the top corner of the net giving the Dundonald keeper no chance and sending Dunbar into a deserved 1-0 lead.

Two minutes later and a bit of controversy when Ben Bathgate drove forward into the penalty box and was blatantly fouled by a Dundonald defender, but the referee deemed no penalty much to the dismay of the home support.

Dunbar started the second half well,  and within minutes Bob Berry had a header cleared of the line before Dunbar increased their lead in the 52nd minute when Ben Bathgate found Kyle Somers on the edge of the box and the youngster took one touch before unleashing a tremendous shot into the net off the underside of the bar for an early contender for goal of the season.

Michael Barfoot was replaced by Aaron Congalton shortly afterwards after picking up a knock but Dunbar were playing some lovely attacking football and Taylor Hendry was unlucky when a looping shot rebounded out of play after striking the post.

Things got even better for the home side in the 62nd minute when Kyle Somers’ corner was finished off by a powerful diving header from Taylor Hendry for Dunbar’s third goal and his own fifth goal of the season.

Two minutes later Kyle Somers raced clear again with only the keeper to beat but Lennox in the Dundonald goal saved well to keep the scoreline intact. Dundonald looked a beaten side and rang the changes in an effort to get back into the game but Dunbar were totally dominant and played some lovely one touch football.

It was no surprise when the hosts scored a fourth in the 68th minute when Taylor Hendry’s shot was parried away by the Dundonald keeper but the ever alert and hard working Sean Stewart quickly controlled the ball before rounding the keeper and firing into the net to the delight of the home support.

With a difficult away game in midweek Dunbar rang the changes utilising their squad well and James Redpath shot wide before substitute Gregor Goldie outpaced Barry Sibanda in the visitors defence but his shot was turned around by the keeper for a corner kick.

Right on the final whistle Dundonald scored a consolation goal after Lewis McKenzie pounced on a slack goal kick and fired into the net before the referee blew for full time.

A brilliant display by Dunbar on their return to the Premier Division and a well deserved win to secure their first three points of the season against a side who have previously won every League game played at Dunbar since the sides first met in the League in 2013.

Dunbar now travel to title favourites Sauchie on Tuesday night with kick-off at 7.30 pm and with Sauchie losing their first game it bodes well for a really entertaining game and hopefully a large travelling support will help Dunbar return with all three points.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Dean Whitson, Grant Thomson, Michael Barfoot, Bob Berry, Liam Gregory, Ben Bathgate, Taylor Hendry, Kyle Somers, Sean Stewart. 

Substitutes :- Trialist, Michael McFarlane, Gregor Goldie, Johnny Edmond, Darren Handling, Gordon Harris, Aaron Congalton.

Dundonald Bluebell:- James Lennox, Scott Durie, Aiden Henry, Kyle McCulloch, Barry Sibanda, Billy Rogerson, Lachlan Murphy, Ross Drummond, Daryl Healy, Kieran Hall, Callum Smith.

Substitutes :- Ben Swinton, James Mackie, Lewis McKenzie, Josh Barbour, Regan Lumsden, Blair Campbell, Cameron McGregor.

Referee :- Ryan Lee

Attendance: 343

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Dave Black For more photos, please click on this Facebook

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