Match date: 22nd of October Kickoff: 15.00 pm

Dunbar United  1  University of Stirling FC  3

Another break from League business this weekend with high flying University of Stirling the visitors to New Countess Park in a Scottish Cup Second Round match. The visitors sitting sixth in The Lowland league started as strong favourites with the Dunbar side playing two Tiers below them in The East of Scotland League First Division.

In front of a large crowd the scene was set for an epic cup tie with Dunbar looking to improve on last year’s cup run and the visitors looking to maintain their cup form which included winning the British University title last season.

Stirling almost took the lead in the first minute when Cameron McKinley chased a long ball which Dunbar keeper Sean Brennan raced out to clear, but it was the home side who opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Jonny Grotlin did well to shut down a Stirling defender and Darren Handling was first to react to the loose ball and fired low into the net under the advancing keeper.

Two minutes later and Dunbar were forced into an early change after the energetic Shaun Miller limped off to be replaced by Darren Smith in midfield. The students pushed on looking for an equaliser and Dunbar’s Liam Gregory and Grant Thomson were booked as the referee tried to keep a lid on proceedings.

Stirling soaked up a bit of Dunbar pressure before a quick counter attack saw Ben Maciver Redwood tackled at the last minute by Bob Berry and Michael McFarlane before Dunbar went close at the other end with Ben Bathgate just failing to get on the end of a Michael McFarlane cross.

Stirling equalised in the 27th minute after a Jason Jarvis shot deflected off Dunbar’s Grant Thomson into the path of Cameron McKinley who fired low past Brennan in the Dunbar goal.

Six minutes later and the visitors edged ahead after a cross from the left by Ciaran McAninch was headed home at the near post by Ben Maciver-Redwood who was left unmarked.

Two minutes later and the game was almost killed off after James Berry saw his shot from the edge of the box rebound from the crossbar as Stirling piled on the pressure. Willis Hare was the next booking as Dunbar tried to get a foothold in the game and Darren Handling headed wide right on the half time whistle.

Cammy Dawson replaced Liam Gregory in the Dunbar side after the restart but the students continued on the offensive and James Stokes went close with a shot which was cleared off the Dunbar line with McKinley ready to pounce.

Ben Bathgate had a shot saved for Dunbar before an inviting Darren Smith free kick was missed by everyone. James Redpath replaced Willis Hare in the Dunbar side before Ben Bathgate was the next player booked.

Stirling went close in the 63rd minute after Ben Maciver-Redwood was denied by a great tackle from Dunbar’s Grant Thomson and Cameron McKinley then went close as the students began to dominate.

The visitors’ pressure paid off in the 67th minute after Jason Jarvis picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired low into the net with the aid of a large deflection and Dunbar were left with a mountain to climb as Stirling took a 3-1 lead.

McKinley headed a great chance wide before Dunbar were given a lifeline in the 68th minute after Jonny Grotlin was brought down inside the penalty box with Stirling’s Jake Service being sent off as a result of the challenge. Darren Smith’s spot kick was brilliantly saved by Ben Fry in the Stirling goal to deny Dunbar a chance to claw their way back into the tie.

Stirling rang the changes and Maciver-Redwood and Jason Jarvis were replaced by Jamie Russell and Jamie Thompson. Dunbar then came more into the game using the extra man well and Dean Whitson went close from a corner.

Ben Bathgate was replaced by young Gregor Goldie for Dunbar and the youngster’s pace almost paid dividends when he outpaced a Stirling defender but his low cross across the face of goal went unpunished.

Whitson had another header saved by Fry in the Stirling goal before Darren Smith and Stirling’s Matthew Burrows were booked after a tussle on the far touch line. Four minutes later Darren Smith was sent off after picking up another booking as he tried to retrieve the ball from a Stirling player and another skirmish quickly ensued with Stirling’s James Stokes and Jamie Thompson earning yellow cards.

Two minutes into injury time Ben Heal raced clear as Stirling counter attacked and with only the Dunbar keeper to beat Darren Handling somehow produced a brilliant last gasp tackle to prevent the Stirling player adding to the scoreline.

A well deserved win for the Students who looked well organised and had pace throughout their side and easily seen why they are sitting in sixth position in The Lowland League. Dunbar to their credit never gave up and if the penalty had gone in then who knows what the outcome might have been but the whole town can be proud of their Scottish Cup efforts for the second successive season.

Back to League business next weekend when Dunipace are the visitors to New Countess Park in a top of the table clash with kick-off at the normal time of 2.30pm. Tickets for the match are now available via the club’s Fanbase app.

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

Substitutes :- Cammy Dawson, Shea Dowie, James Redpath, Kerr Allan, Gregor Goldie, Aaron Congalton, Fraser Neave, Darren Smith.

University of Stirling FC :- Ben Fry, Matthew Burrows, Jake Service, Marcus Lavery, James Berry, Ben Heral, Jason Jarvis, Ciaran McAninch, Cameron McKinley, Ben Maciver-Redwood, James Stokes.

Substitutes :- Yan Gromov Godik, Jamie Thompson, Thomas Gilmour, Archie Munro, Jamie Russell, Calum Rae, Buronbek Mirzasalimov, Seb Torregiani, Daniel Paterson.

Referee :- Duncan Nicolson.

Asst Referees :- Cameron Doyle, Jamie Reekie.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Gordon Maitland.

Mon the Seasiders, unlucky lads!