Match date: 22nd of July 2023 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Dunbar United      4   Newcastle Benfield    3

Dunbar United entertained Northern League First Division side Newcastle Benfield yesterday in their final pre-season Friendly match. It was a first ever visit to New Countess Park for the Newcastle side who had a host of new signings and a new management team after ending mid-table last season.

Despite a poor weather forecast the rain failed to materialise and again a healthy crowd turned out to watch the game in near perfect conditions.

The visitors looked impressive from the start and took the lead in the first minute when Callum Guy was played in on the left and despite a hint of offside he wasted no time in blasting the ball past Sean Brennan into the net to give the visitors an early lead.

Dunbar were struggling to get a foothold in the game with Benfield playing neat possession football and it was ten minutes before Ben Bathgate created Dunbar’s first real chance with a low cross that caused problems in the visitors defence.

Dan Smith and Aiden Haley both had shots saved well by Sean Brennan in quick succession before Ben Bathgate went close on two occasions after good work from Liam Gregory.

Dunbar equalised in the 18th minute when Sean Stewart collected the ball on the wide left of the penalty box, dropped his shoulder and cut inside before firing low into the far corner of the net for a brilliant individual goal.

Things got even better for the home side four minutes later when Sean Stewart beat the offside trap and ran onto Aaron Congalton’s through ball before rounding the keeper and slotting home for his second goal of the game to turn the game around with Dunbar now leading 2-1.

Cammy Dawson limped off minutes later with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Taylor Hendry. Newcastle Benfield equalised in bizarre fashion in the 28th minute when Grant Thomson did well to match the speed and dispossessed Mikey Colhougan on the right before a short pass back to his keeper, but a complete miskick left the Benfield player the simplest of tap-ins to level the score.

Six minutes from the interval an off the ball incident involving Benfield’s captain Brad Varga and Dunbar’s Sean Stewart saw the visitors reduced to ten men after an alleged elbow in the face with the referee in close proximity.

James Redpath then had a shot tipped over the bar by the Newcastle keeper before they replaced Mikey Colhougan with Sam Dawson. Three changes for Dunbar at the start of the second half and Taylor Hendry forced another save from the visitors keeper before Kyle Somers sent in a fierce cross which only needed a touch.

Numerous changes to both sides slowed the game before Dunbar began to dominate using the extra man well but Benfield were well organised in defence and relying mainly on speedy counter attacks to create any chances.

Darren Handling and Ben Bathgate forced the Newcastle keeper into fine saves as Dunbar probed for an opening and ten minutes from the end a well worked Dunbar corner left Grant Thomson with a free header which the visiting keeper did well to stop.

The speedy Benjamin then went close for Newcastle after shooting from an acute angle before Dunbar finally broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute when Taylor Hendry was fouled inside the box by a Benfield defender. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Taylor Hendry made no mistake from the resultant penalty to send Dunbar into a slender 3-2 lead.

Two minutes later and a great individual goal from new signing Kyle Somers made it 4-2 after collecting the ball on the half way line, driving goalwards, holding off two defenders and firing home from an almost impossible angle to the delight of the home support.

The visitors began to open up a bit and Dan Smith pulled a goal back in the 86th minute with a free kick from the edge of the box which gave Sean Brennan no chance and despite a late flurry from the visitors it was Dunbar who fully deserved the victory in a really entertaining game.

Both sides played some really fast attractive football in a seven goal thriller which was marred a bit by the sending off just before the interval but down to League business next for Dunbar with Dundonald Bluebell from Fife visiting New Countess Park next Saturday at 2.30pm in Dunbar’s opening game in the East of Scotland Premier Division.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, Michael McFarlane, James Redpath, Aaron Congalton, Grant Thomson, Gordon Harris, Sean Stewart, Bob Berry, Cammy Dawson, Ben Bathgate, Liam Gregory. 

Substitutes :- Trialist, Kyle Somers, Taylor Hendry, Darren Handling, Gregor Goldie, Willis Hare and Michael Barfoot.

Newcastle Benfield :- Keaton Mears, Dan Smith, Joel Green, Jake Fowler, Brad Varga, Austin Hall, Mikey Colhougan, Aiden Haley, Dennis Knight, Callum Guy, James Fairley.

Substitutes :- Benjamin, Andrew Grainger, Alfie Hyde,  Sam Dawson, Trialist, Trialist.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Brian Thomson. For more photos, please click on this Facebook link.

“Mon the Seasiders”