Match date: 26th of November Kickoff: 15.00 pm

Gretna FC 2008  1 Dunbar United  2

Dunbar United made the long journey to Gretna on Saturday for their East of Scotland Qualifying Cup second Round match against Lowland League opponents Gretna FC 2008 who play Tier 5 football and are two Leagues above Dunbar United.

This was the first ever fixture between the sides and again it was an artificial surface after Raydale Park had changed from a grass pitch just last year.

Ex Bonnyrigg midfielder Lewis Turner was named in the Gretna midfield whilst Dunbar had to reshape their side with Dean Whitson unavailable and new signing Josh Walker cup tied at his time with Whitehill Welfare.

Some light rain before kick off made the surface tricky but Dunbar almost got off to the perfect start in their first attack when Darren Handling’s shot was cleared of the goalline.  Willis Hare had a shot which narrowly missed the target before the hosts went close from three corners. James Redpath cleared a header from Jack Dickinson off the line and Lewis Turner had a shot saved well by Sean Brennan in the Dunbar goal.

The hosts had a let off in the 16th minute when Jonny Grotlin charged down a clearance from the Gretna keeper but the ball was cleared as it trickled towards the open goal. Dunbar were beginning to dominate and were playing some neat football with Grotlin again going close from Michael McFarlane’s low cross.

The deadlock was finally broken five minutes later when Grotlin was fouled fully thirty yards from goal. James Redpath stepped forward and struck a beauty over the Gretna defensive wall and into the top corner of the net leaving the Gretna keeper helpless with a contender for goal of the season.

Dunbar increased their lead ten minutes later when Liam Gregory was upended inside the box. The youngster took the resultant penalty himself and made no mistake from the spot kick to give Dunbar a well deserved two goal lead.

Gretna tried hard to get a foothold back in the game with long balls played forward for the pacy Russell Currie but the Gretna striker was being well marshalled by Dunbar’s Willis Hare who was a stalwart in the Dunbar defence.

The hosts started the second half in determined fashion with Michael Mbewe having a shot blocked by Willis Hare and Russell Currie heading over when well placed.  Darren Handling created space on the right and his cross was headed wide by Jonny Grotlin as Dunbar looked to stem the Gretna momentum.

Gretna’s Lewis Bell fired in a shot from the right which took a wicked deflection off James Redpath but Sean Brennan brilliantly turned the ball round for a corner to frustrate the home support.

Gretna pulled a goal back in the 56th minute after Russell Currie headed a great cross wide and with the Dunbar defence thinking the ball had went out of play another cross came in from the left and Currie was left unmarked to head the ball into the net with the Dunbar defenders appealing in vain to the match officials.

Liam Gregory had a fierce shot brilliantly tipped over by Jack Main in the Gretna goal before the keeper had to be alert to avoid a looping cross from James Redpath ending in the net.

Gretna’s Lewis Bell missed a great chance to equalise in the 68th minute after being left in the clear with only the Dunbar keeper to beat but his shot missed the target before Dunbar’s next attack ended with Jonny Grotlin getting the ball stuck under his feet with the goal gaping after another cross from Michael McFarlane.

Both sides made changes for the final twenty minutes with neither side creating many clear cut chances and it became a bit disrupted with the referee producing three yellow cards.

Four minutes of extra time were played before the referee blew for full time and a well deserved Dunbar victory saw them progress to the Third Round where they will meet Premier League Crossgates Primrose at home on 21st January 2023.

No doubt the long bus journey home was more enjoyable after beating their more Senior opponents but the focus must now be on next Saturday’s League match away to Newtongrange Star with their opponents only one point behind Dunbar in the League. A real top of the table clash at New Victoria Park with kick off at 2.30pm for a game not to be missed.

Gretna FC 2008 :- Jack Main, Ryan Muir, Aidan Munro, Jack Dickinson, Kieran Moyles, Sam Muir, Lewis Bell, Lewis Turner, Russell Currie, Rhys Caves, Michael Mbewe. 

Substitutes :- Liam Short, Dominic Duffy, Reece Patterson, Euan Whitty.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Michael McFarlane, Grant Thomson, Jonny Grotlin, Bob Berry, Darren Handling, Liam Gregory, Fraser Neave, Willis Hare, Aaron Congalton.

Substitutes :- Shea Dowie, Cammy Dawson, Ben Bathgate, Shaun Miller, Gregor Goldie.

Referee :- Michael Williamson.

Asst Referees :- Liam Graham, Jim Thomson.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Dave Black

Mon the Seasiders!