Match date: 15th of August 2023 Kickoff: 19.30 pm

Dunbar United     1    Whitburn Junior     2  

(After extra time)

Dunbar United went into this East of Scotland Centenary Cup Semi Final match on the back of a home League defeat against Jeanfield Swifts and were looking for a quick opportunity to bounce back to winning ways.

Whitburn, last season’s Second Division Champions were making their first visit to New Countess Park since April 2018 after starting this season undefeated in Division One.

The Dunbar management reshuffled their squad with three changes from the weekend with the influential Dean Whitson missing from central defence due to work commitments.

With ideal weather conditions and another healthy crowd inside the ground the scene was set for an intriguing contest to ascertain who would earn the right to play Linlithgow Rose in the Final on Sunday 10th of September.

Dunbar started the livelier of the two teams and in the opening minutes Ben Bathgate was stopped in his tracks by Whitburn’s Andrew Thomson with only the keeper to beat. Johnny Edmond then had a free header saved by the Whitburn keeper only to be ruled offside as the hosts pushed for an opener.

Whitburn eventually settled and Darren Liddell tested Dunbar keeper Sean Brennan from distance before Ross Crawford’s head flick from a long throw in only needed a touch.

End to end play continued with Ben Bathgate going close for Dunbar and Ross Crawford forcing Sean Brennan to turn his shot round for a corner.

Aaron Congalton had a shot saved well by the Whitburn keeper before Willis Hare and Darren Handling combined well to create an opening but again the chance was lost. With half time approaching Dunbar piled on the pressure and again went close when Bob Berry’s cross was headed into the path of Ben Bathgate whose shot skimmed the top of the crossbar.

Taylor Hendry fired another chance over the bar before the interval with little between the sides. Hendry went close with another header after the restart before Whitburn wasted a great chance when Harrison Edwards shot inches wide with the goal at his mercy.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 55th minute when a neat move on the left saw Ben Bathgate’s cross headed powerfully into the net by Johnny Edmond to give Dunbar a well deserved lead.

Whitburn went close a few minutes later before both sides rang the changes. Ben Bathgate ran clear and forced the Whitburn keeper into a fine save before Gregor Goldie ran on to an Aaron Congalton through ball and forced the visiting keeper into another great save as Dunbar looked to increase their lead.

With Whitburn playing some neat football but rarely threatening the Dunbar goal the game was turned on its head in the 75th minute when Ross Crawford collected the ball ten yards inside the Dunbar half and fired a high looping shot over the head of Sean Brennan and into the net to level the score at 1-1.

Whitburn’s tails were up and Brennan did well to save at the feet of Lewis Maguire as the visitors took control. Gregor Goldie again went close for Dunbar who might just have nicked it at the death when James Redpath’s cross only needed a touch before the final whistle sounded and extra time loomed.

Dunbar pushed on the start of extra time with Ben Bathgate having a shot cleared of the line in the seventh minute before both Brandon Archibald and Grant Thomson had efforts blocked by a resolute Whitburn defence four minutes later.

With the end of the first half of extra time approaching, Whitburn won a corner and with the Dunbar defence trying hard to mark the ever dangerous Ross Crawford, Reece Boyle stole into the box totally unmarked and headed the ball into the net to send the visitors into a 2-1 lead.

Dunbar tried hard to force the game into penalties but the Whitburn defence were well organised giving little away and knew exactly how to kill the game off with several players booked for time wasting before the game ended on a sour note for Dunbar with recent signing Brandon Archibald sent off after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession presumably for dissent.

Not a lot between both sides but it was the visitors who progressed to the Cup Final against Lowland League’s Linlithgow Rose on the 10th September. Dunbar United now need to regroup and get their early season form back on track with an away cup tie against Oakley United in Fife on Saturday with kick off again at 2.30pm.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Grant Thomson, Bob Berry, Darren Handling, Ben Bathgate, Taylor Hendry, Willis Hare, Kyle Somers, Aaron Congalton, Johnny Edmond.

Substitutes :- Shea Dowie, Michael Barfoot, Gregor Goldie, Liam Gregory, Gordon Harris, Brandon Archibald, Sean Stewart.

Whitburn Jnr :- Daniel Farrell, Michael McGarahan, Max Condy, Reece Boyle, Grant Hamilton, Darren Liddell, Lewis Maguire, Ross Crawford, Andrew Thomson, Harrison Edwards, Andrew Johnston.

Substitutes :- Reece Duncan, Adam Laidlaw, Jack Henderson, Martin Russell, Jamie Comrie, Blair Gallacher.

Referee :- Brent Falconer.

Asst Referees :-  David Gallagher, Michael Dixon.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Gordon Maitland, click on Facebook link below for the photos.

Crowd :- 213

Unlucky Seasiders