Match date: 18th December 2021 Kickoff: 2.30 pm

Dunbar faced another vital League match on Saturday against a much changed Sauchie side since the two clubs met on the opening day of the Season,  and the visitors showed how much they have improved since then by beating Fraserburgh and Dunipace in the Scottish Cup,  before a Third Round defeat at Dumbarton.

Not a lot between the sides in the early exchanges with Ross Crawford heading wide for Sauchie before Johnny Edmond forced Charles Clack in the Sauchie goal into a full stretch save with a low shot from the edge of the box.

Sauchie had a goal disallowed for offside midway though the first half,  but they began to dominate with shots from Ross Crawford, Ross Kavanagh and Grant Dickie all going close before Dunbar’s Fraser Neave saw his deflected shot from the edge of the box saved low down by the Sauchie keeper.

Just before the break Ross Kavanagh found himself clear on the left and drove towards goal only to be denied by a goal saving tackle from Dunbar’s captain Grant Thomson.   Danny Smith was then denied by a great save from Daniel Laing in the Dunbar goal as the home side went in at the interval a bit fortunate to remain on even terms.

Dunbar started the second half on the front foot and Darren Handling went close from an Andy Jones cross before another Jones cross was sliced behind for a corner by Sauchie’s Ian Syme.  

The resultant corner was cleared only as far as Fraser Neave on the edge of the box,  and the Dunbar midfielder fired low into the net with the aid of a massive deflection to give Dunbar the lead with his first goal of the season.

Sauchie began to move the ball about well, penning Dunbar deep in their own half and Ross Crawford missed a great chance heading wide before being substituted.

Fraser McLaren replaced Johnny Edmond in the Dunbar side for his final appearance in a Dunbar jersey before retiring,  but it was the visitors who were dictating and only two brilliant saves by Daniel Laing kept the score intact.

Sauchie’s pressure eventually paid off nineteen minutes from time when Danny Smith picked up a ball wide left and dipped his shoulder past two Dunbar defenders before firing low into the net for a well deserved Sauchie equaliser.

The same player almost scored again seven minutes later with the same move,  but this time his shot missed the target, but the visitors were looking the more likely to score again with two efforts going close before Dunbar regrouped with Darren Handling and Fraser McLaren combining well before McLaren’s shot was saved by the Sauchie keeper.

Six minutes from time Dunbar regained the lead when Bob Berry’s cross from the right was headed brilliantly into the net by Darren Handling for his first goal of the season,  and despite the visitors best efforts and four added minutes of injury time,  the Dunbar side held on well to clinch a welcome three points against probably one of the best sides seen at New Countess Park this season.

Sauchie will feel disappointed after a lot of possession,  but credit to the Dunbar side who were well marshalled in defence and stuck well to their task. Fraser McLaren was given a well deserved guard of honour on his departure from the field before retiring and his 56 goals from 150 appearances will be well remembered for years to come.

Dunbar’s next game is on Thursday 30th December at home against Whitehill Welfare, with kick-off at 7.30pm,  and another gritty performance will be needed against another side fighting to avoid relegation.  Tickets for the game are on sale via the club’s Fanbase app:

Dunbar United :- Daniel Laing, Grant Thomson, Michael McFarlane, Dean Whitson, Evan Fleming, Darren Smith, Bob Berry, Fraser Neave, Johnny Edmond, Andy Jones, Darren Handling.

Substitutes :- Ryan Mack, Kieran Ingram, Fraser McLaren, Jamie Devlin, Nicky Weir, Scott Hay.

Sauchie :- Charles Clack, William Greenhorn, Scott Davidson, David Cross, Grant Dickie, Sam Collumbine, Danny Smith, Ian Syme, Ross Kavanagh, Ross Crawford, Brian Morgan.

Substitutes :- Kris Kelly, Mark Finlayson, Sam Davidson, Jack Docherty, Conor Kelly, Evan Collumbine.

Referee :- Iain Snedden.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Gordon Maitland.