Match date: 12th of August 2023 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Dunbar United​​      1​​      Jeanfield Swifts ​3

Dunbar’s 100% start to the new season would come under its strictest test yet in the shape of equally unbeaten Jeanfield Swifts.  The Perth side are one of the three sides quoted as the bookies favourites for the title and came into this match on the back of a 2-1 league win at Crossgates and a 3-0 win against Edinburgh South in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.

The Swifts started off rapidly and Oliver Hamilton had Sean Brennan called into action after only twenty  two seconds to block a shot and send the ball over the bar.  With six minutes on the clock, Dunbar still hadn’t seemed to settle. Dunbar players had been fouling Jeanfield players, Sean Stewart had been caught offside and Oliver Hamilton had caused a goalmouth scramble.

In the seventh minute, Oliver Hamilton played a ball out to the wing and Chris Dodd was able to cut inside but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Bob Berry swooped in from nowhere and nicked the ball off his toes.

Scott Smith then jinxed his way down the left wing and picked out Chris McLeish on the edge of the box. The goal bound shot was touched over the bar by the over employed Sean Brennan, who was definitely back to stopping goals and not scoring them.

With eighteen minutes on the clock, Dunbar finally managed to put an attack together. Sean Stewart found Taylor Hendry running through the middle but Aaron Whitehead, much like Bob Berry a few minutes ago, materialised from nowhere to slide in and clear the ball out of play.

A couple of minutes later, Gary Fergus hit the turf for the second time inside the box. Once again, Will Pare didn’t entertain his theatrics but one began to wonder how many attempted dives one has to perform before you get booked for repeated diving.

Jamie Reid did become the first booking of the afternoon for a mistimed and clumsy challenge on Michael Barfoot that left the Dunbar man on the deck. Just after the half hour mark, Taylor Hendry set up James Redpath for a shot from range, but his sights were misaligned and he pulled his shot well wide of the back post, much like his earlier corners and free kick.

With ten minutes until half time, Jeanfield did take the lead. CHRIS McLEISH pushed Grant Thomson aside, stepped inside the box and pulled out a slide rule shot that soared into the far bottom corner, kissing the post on the way into the net. You couldn’t say that Swifts didn’t deserve their lead.

Before the restart after the goal, Jeanfield removed the diving Gary Fergus and Matthew Cullerton was sent on in his place.

It was noted that the first half didn’t look like the Dunbar we’d so far seen this season. They had allowed Jeanfield to dictate the speed and style of play and it just wasn’t working for them.

There was once change at half time with James Redpath remaining in the dressing room and Willis Hare making his first appearance of the season. The early signs in the second half looked promising. Sean Stewart found Ben Bathgate on the wing and his cut back was blocked at the near post and half cleared to Michael Barfoot, whose long-range shot went whizzing past the post.

Jamie Reid retired injured for Swifts with an obvious limp and on came Paul Simpson in his place. On the hour mark, Sean Brennan, seeing Mark Mitchell off his line, tried another shot. It didn’t work out too well. Then Mark Mitchell was called into action but only to catch a Sean Stewart cutback that found no takers in the middle.

Dunbar rang the changes in the sixty second minute with Brandon Archibald, Gregor Goldie and Johnny Edmond replacing Darren Handling, Sean Stewart and Taylor Hendry and it worked almost immediately. BRANDON ARCHIBALD found himself in space on the edge of the box and took aim. His long-range daisy cutter took a deflection on its way to goal, wrong footing Mark Mitchell in the Jeanfield goal and it crept in at the back post.

But as the old adage goes, you are at your most vulnerable just after scoring and so it proved for Dunbar. Within two minutes, Grant Thomson was woefully short with a pass back to Sean Brennan, Chris McLeish nipped in to steal the ball and Grant Thomson hauled him down in the box.

The match official duly dealt Dunbar with the double whammy. Grant Thomson was shown a straight red card and CHRIS McLEISH smashed home the resultant spot kick to put Jeanfield back into the lead.

Both sides took this opportunity to make some changes with Michael McFarlane replacing Michael Barfoot, thus returning the defence back to its full complement. Dayle Robertson came on for Jeanfield with Chris Dodd being the man withdrawn.

With less than ten minutes remaining, Paul Simpson went close with a shot that came back off the base of the post after a well worked short corner routine and with five minutes to go, the victory was sealed with a third goal for the visitors.

Paul Simpson escaped from the clutches of Willis Hare and sent in a cross from the right wing where an onrushing DAYLE ROBERTSON was able to chest the ball into the net in the middle, ignoring the Dunbar offside claims in the process.

After a small stramash on the near side touchline, there was a coming together and whilst not fully understanding what was going on, Ben Bathgate was shown a yellow card that could have easily been red after he appeared to raise his hands towards a Jeanfield player.

In the end, Jeanfield deserved their win and bossed the game and dictated what type of game it was going to be. Dunbar have to pick themselves up again quickly as unbeaten Whitburn are the visitors on Tuesday night for a cup semi final with a final against Linlithgow Rose at stake. Tickets for the match are now on sale via Fanbase.

Dunbar United : – Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Dean Whitson, Grant Thomson ©, Michael Barfoot, Bob Berry, Darren Handling, Ben Bathgate, Taylor Hendry, Kyle Somers, Sean Stewart.

Substitutes : – Michael McFarlane, Gregor Goldie, Johnny Edmond, Fraser Neave, Willis Hare, Brandon Archibald, Aaron Congalton.

Jeanfield Swifts :- Mark Mitchell, Jamie Reid, Aaron Whitehead ©, Kieran Sweeney, Patrick Brown, Oliver Hamilton, Christopher McLeish, Gary Fergus, Christopher Scott, Christopher Dodd, Scott Smith.

Substitutes : – Paul Simpson, Rannoch Ramsay, Dayle Robertson, Elliot Scott, Matthew Cullerton.

Referee : – Will Pare

Assistants : – Sean Simpson & Ross Millar

Photos by Dave Black & Gordon Maitland. For more photos, please click on this Facebook link

“Unlucky Seasiders”