Match date: 20th February 2022 Kickoff: 2.30 pm

Dunbar United​​   0   ​Jeanfield Swifts​​   1

Dunbar came into the game against fourth placed Jeanfield on the back of a disappointing reverse against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale. The reverse fixture in Perth had ended up as a narrow 1-0 victory for the home side and Dunbar would be hoping that trend continued as the recent results from teams around them in the league meant that it was getting very congested in the middle and lower section of the league table.

As early as the 6th minute, Dunbar were looking a little disjointed at the back and Swifts were certainly the better team in the opening period of the game. A corner to the back post bounced in the box and with calls for handball ignored, Chris Scott returned the ball into the middle where Aaron Whitehead was on hand to slide in and send the ball over the bar – ending up on the ground for the first of many times during the game.

Dunbar started to pass and move and played their way into the game and with 15 minutes on the clock, they probably should have taken the lead when Johnny Edmond found Fraser Neave and his head flick was controlled by Jamie Devlin. Mark Mitchell came out, narrowed the angles well and did very well to smother the shot that came at him.

At the other end, Daniel Laing misjudged a cross from the left, Chris McLeish rounded the stranded keeper but somehow only managed a tame shot that was hacked clear off the line from under the bar.

On the half hour mark, Darren Handling ran onto a long ball forward but could only find the side netting with his shot. A little later, Darren Handling and Fraser Neave worked an opening down the right with the latter hitting a shot on goal that clipped Chris Scott and, with the sting taken out of it, trundled into the grateful arms of the Swifts keeper.

Approaching half time, Jeanfield took a somewhat against the run of play lead. Paul Simpson scampered away from his man down the right wing and fired a shot on goal that Dayle Robertson flicked into the net from close range, looking decided from an offside position. However, despite the home protests, the goal stood.

A frustrated Darren Handling was booked for a late lunge on Chris Scott in the closing moments of the half, a challenge that would have been a perfect challenge just a couple of years ago.

Dunbar made a couple of early second half changes with Andy Jones and Darren Smith replacing Nicky Weir and Johnny Edmond.

Gary Fergus was the first visiting player to see a yellow card for a trip on Fraser Neave. Minutes later, after an offside call had wrongly gone against him, Andy Jones followed him into the referee’s notebook for what can only be assumed was a word or two of dissent. Just a minute later, Fraser Neave was once again the victim of a sandwich with Kieran Stewart and Chris McLeish acting as the bread, but Mr Curran kept his cards in his pocket.

IN what was becoming a tetchy, mess of a second half, Dunbar were lucky not to be facing a penalty kick when Scott Hay looked to have caught Chris McLeish at the edge of the box but despite the shouts, the ref waved play on and Dunbar cleared their lines.

Fraser Smith progressed from the Swifts bench with Gary Fergus taking a seat before Kieran Ingram earned a yellow card for a foul on the Swifts sub. Chris Dodd then replaced Paul Simpson.

With 73 minutes on the clock, Dunbar felt they were hard done by after a terrible piece of officiating robbed them of a certain goal. Darren Handling played in Fraser Neave on the right wing and his pullback found Darren Smith in the centre and the midfielder was about to stroke the ball into the net when the referee brought back play for a foul on Darren Handling after the ball had gone. A laughing Swifts captain, Aaron Whitehead, earned a yellow card and nothing came from the Dunbar free kick.

Dunbar made further changes with Evan Fleming, Jaciz Baldé and Ben Bathgate all advancing from the bench with Kieran Ingram, Jamie Devlin and Scott Hay the players making way. Andy Jones then had another chance after running onto a hopeful ball and not being called offside but with no flag forthcoming, the winger shot just wide.

With just 10 minutes left, Darren Smith was the latest home player to earn a booking for what looked like a soft and fair challenge on Aaron Whitehead, who spent most of the second half on the ground as Jeanfield seemed happy to timewaste their way to a 1-0 score line.

Rannoch Ramsay earned a strange yellow card with just 4 minutes remaining, kicking the ball away as Daniel Laing set himself up for a goal kick only for the Swifts sub to kick the ball away as he passed the ball on his way back onto the pitch.

With the clock counting down to 90 minutes, Dunbar boss, Kevin Haynes was the final recipient of a yellow card when he rightly complained, albeit too vehemently, that another offside call from Paul Hanlon against Andy Jones was once again not justified.

The final whistle went and the Swifts had won 1-0, just like they had done in July in Perth. It was a much better performance than last week against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, but it still ended up in a loss. The league table is starting to look very tight in the middle and lower reaches with 10 points separating 8th to 16th places. It is another hard game next week with a visit to Hill of Beath Hawthorn, who drew 2-2 with Tranent on Saturday.

Dunbar :- Daniel Laing, Michael McFarlane, Kieran Ingram, Grant Thomson, Jamie Devlin, Bob Berry, Darren Handling, Johnny Edmond, Fraser Neave, Scott Hay, Nicky Weir.

Substitutes :- Ryan Mack (gk), Andy Jones, Ben Bathgate, Evan Fleming, Jaciz Baldé, Darren Smith.

Jeanfield :- Mark Mitchell, Jamie Reid, Aaron Whitehead, Kieran Stewart, Connor McLaren, Chris McLeish, Paul Simpson, Gary Fergus, Chris Scott, Dayle Robertson, Kieran Sweeney.

Substitutes :- Gregor Donald, Fraser Smith, Chris Dodd, Shaun Strutrhers, Rannoch Ramsay, Scott Smith Sean Dalton (gk).

Referee :- Jordan Curran

Asst Referees :- Paul Hanlon & Stuart Robinson