Match date: 15th of October Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Dunbar United  4   Preston Athletic FC 1

Preston Athletic FC were the visitors to New Countess Park on Saturday in a South Challenge Cup Second Round match, only three weeks after being the only team this season to beat the hosts in a League match.

Dunbar made five changes from the side beaten that day, whilst the visitors influential player manager Paul Currie was missing through suspension and their starting eleven included recent signing Ricky Miller in central defence.

The visitors started the game on the front foot and almost went ahead in the seventh minute after a low cross from Mikey Hamilton on the right was cleared by Darren Handling with ex Dunbar striker Jamie Devlin ready to pounce.

Dunbar replied with a Cammy Dawson header which went wide before Liam Gregory sent a glorious cross to the back post where Jonny Grotlin fired his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Jamie Devlin again went close for Preston but Sean Brennan saved well with his legs before Mikey Hamilton fired one high over the bar from the edge of the box.

Dunbar edged ahead in the 25th minute after Michael McFarlane sent Jonny Grotlin clear on the right and the ex Preston striker sent a low ball towards Cammy Dawson who somehow managed to get the ball out from under his feet and fire low into the net from the tightest of angles for his seventh goal of the season.

Dawson had picked up an injury, just before scoring, and was quickly replaced in the Dunbar side by Ben Bathgate who was returning after a suspension. Ten minutes before the break Jamie Devlin again fired wide for the visitors after some clever play by Mikey Hamilton and despite a lot of Preston pressure it was Dunbar who went in at the break leading by the only goal of the game.

Only another great save by Sean Brennan one minute after the restart kept the Dunbar lead intact after the ball fell kindly for Jamie Devlin before Bob Berry and Ben Bathgate went close for Dunbar.

Tempers flared on the hour mark as both teams gave their all and as a result four players were booked after a skirmish on the far away touch line. Two minutes later and Jonny Grotlin broke clear on goal but squared the ball when a shot might have been the better option and Dean Whitson headed the resultant corner wide.

With the game on a knife edge Dean Whitson then produced a goal saving tackle on Jamie Devlin before relentless Preston pressure ended with Ricky Miller heading wide from a corner and then Sean Brennan saving well from Mikey Hamilton.

Dunbar scored their second goal in the 69th minute when ex Preston defender Michael McFarlane marauded up the right and sent over a fierce cross come shot which deceived everyone and nestled into the top corner of the net and gave the home side a welcome two goal leeway in the cup tie.

Four minutes later Dunbar scored again after Liam Gregory sent Darren Handling clear on the left and his drilled in cross was met brilliantly by Michael McFarlane for his second goal of the afternoon.

Three minutes later the visitors were given a life line after Jack McKinnon headed a Preston corner into the net after being left unmarked by the Dunbar defence.

Again the young Preston side seemed to gain confidence from the goal and they should have done better five minutes later after some great individual play by Ano Subasic on the Preston left saw his cross to the back post fired wide by Mikey Hamilton.

One minute later and it was game over after Liam Gregory did well to win a corner for Dunbar and Jonny Grotlin’s place kick was powerfully headed home by Michael McFarlane at the back post to score a well deserved hat-trick in a crazy ten minutes spell of football which will probably be the quickest hat-trick in the history of the club.

Dunbar saw the game out after a triple substitution and earned a place into Round 3 of the South Challenge Cup where the 64 teams left are now in an all in draw rather than the previous two rounds which were seeded by Regions.

A much improved performance by Dunbar against a plucky Preston side who never gave up and will be sorely rueing some missed opportunities.

Again the Dunbar side were well marshalled at the back by Hare, Thomson and Whitson with Sean Brennan producing the saves at vital moments in the game and with all the players giving everything the home support were sent home with a smile on their faces.

All attention now focuses on next Saturday’s Scottish Cup Second Round match at home to Lowland League high flyers University of Stirling with kick off at 3pm when hopefully the whole town will get behind the side and try to make history by reaching the Third Round of the National competition. Tickets for the match are on sale via the club’s Fanbase app:

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, Michael McFarlane, Grant Thomson, Jonny Grotlin, Bob Berry, Cammy Dawson, Darren Handling, Liam Gregory, Willis Hare, Shaun Miller, Dean Whitson.

Substitutes :- Shea Dowie, James Redpath, Kerr Allan, Ben Bathgate, Gregor Goldie, Aaron Congalton.

Preston Athletic FC :- Robbie Stirling, Kieran Jack, Ben Riley, Marc Forsyth, Ricky Miller, Robbie Walker, Jamie Devlin, Mikey Hamilton, Kyle Summers, Byron Archibald, Jack McKinnon.

Substitutes :- Sam Gray, Jordan Keenan, Euan Donaldson, Ano Subasic, Cammy Laidlaw, Steven McCole, Jack Murray.

Referee :- Andrew Brown.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Brian Thomson and Gordon Maitland.

Mon the Seasiders!