Match date: 13th July 2021 Kickoff: 19:30

Dunbar United’s final pre-season friendly was against a young Hearts XI under the guidance of John Rankin and Donald Park and thankfully the weather was a lot kinder than it was the previous week when Hibernian XI were the visitors. Clear skies and a warm night greeted a large crowd with the home side’s new Manager, Kevin Haynes taking charge of his team for the very first time.

A late injury to Daniel Laing, in the warm up, led to an enforced change for Dunbar United. With trialist keeper Ryan Mack stepping in between the sticks for the second time in 4 days.

A cagey start from both sides sparked into life in the 10th minute when Dunbar’s Andy Jones was played in by Grant Thomson and his shot drifted inches wide with the Hearts keeper beaten. Hearts almost capitalised on a fumble by the home keeper but he redeemed himself with a fine save from the resultant corner before Dunbar had to make a change after Johnny Edmond picked up a knock and was replaced by Bob Berry.

Jamie Devlin miskicked the ball when in a great position for the hosts, before Hearts broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Mackenzie Kirk rose unchallenged to head home from a corner. The same player tested the Dunbar keeper fourteen minutes later but the keeper saved well and released Andy Jones on another surging run which resulted in a corner kick.

Jones took the corner himself and his inswinging cross took the Hearts keeper by surprise and squeezed in at the front post to equalise for the hosts and score his first goal in Dunbar colours since signing last season from Tranent.

Both teams rang the changes at half time with Dunbar’s new signing, Evan Fleming coming on for Jo Purves in the Dunbar defence. Three minutes after the restart Ben Bathgate foiled a Hearts attack and sent Andy Jones clear on the left but his shot was saved well by Liam McFarlane in the Hearts goal.

Jamie Devlin had a shot blocked before the game opened up and Michael McFarlane went close with a header for Dunbar. Play continued to swing from end to end and Callum Sandilands made space at the edge of the box for Hearts before shooting inches wide. On the hour mark the hard working Ben Bathgate was replaced by Michael Fairnie for Dunbar with Hearts making a triple change at the same time.

Fifteen minutes later and Scott Hay headed wide for Dunbar before Hearts Jay King had a shot blocked at the other end. Dunbar almost sneaked a winner when substitute Michael Fairnie collected a ball from Andy Jones and unleashed a rising shot towards the top corner but somehow the young Hearts keeper managed to turn the ball round for a corner to keep the scoreline intact.

Four minutes from time Max Williams made space for himself on the edge of the Dunbar box but his shot went narrowly past before Jamie Devlin shot over the bar in the next attack for Dunbar after being played in by Dunbar’s Man Of The Match, Andy Jones.

Another entertaining game with plenty goalmouth incidents to keep the crowd happy and a draw was probably a fair result with not a lot to separate both sides. Dunbar’s League campaign starts in earnest on Saturday with an away game at Sauchie quickly followed by another League game next Tuesday night at home to Broxburn Athletic.

Dunbar United :- Trialist (GK), Jo Purves, Michael McFarlane, Grant Thomson, Jamie Devlin, Darren Handling (Captain), Andy Jones, Ben Bathgate, Johnny Edmond, Scott Hay, Nicky Weir.

Substitutes : – Keith Tait, Bob Berry, Michael Fairnie, Evan Fleming.

Hearts XI :- Liam McFarlane, Callum Flatman, Aaron Darge, Michael Aitken, Chris Hamilton, Callum Hambrook, Callum Sandilands, Mackenzie Kirk, Macauley Tait, Sam Spence, Luke Rathie.

Substitutes :- Harris Spratt, Michael Beagley, Mackenzie Ross, Harry Gordon, Jay Charleston King, John Joe Devlin, Ewan Simpson, Niall Kemp, Max Williams.

Referee :- Alex Shepherd

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood
Photos by Gordon Maitland