Match date: 26th February 2022 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Hill of Beath Hawthorn 4 Dunbar United 0

Dunbar came into this Premier Division game on the back of a couple of bad home results against Lothian Thistle HV and Jeanfield. Hill of Beath were one of the form sides, having started picking up points to try and pull away from the tail end of the table, which was helped by last week’s 2-2 draw at Tranent.

The surface of Keirs Park on the day was awful with Wellington’s a more appropriate form of footwear for the conditions under foot. Even an assistant referee seemed unsure how his fellow official put the game on.

The hosts opened the scoring after just 3 minutes when  Calum Davidson ran onto a long forward ball, drew and rounded Laing in the Dunbar goal and slammed the ball into the net from close range. This was not the start that Kevin Haynes and Andy Donlevy had requested.

With 6 minutes having been played, Michael McFarlane was woefully short with a pass back to Laing, which was intercepted by Daniel Watt but as he rounded the keeper, the Haws strikers shot hit a huge divot in the ground allowing a Dunbar defender to clear the ball to safety.

But a second goal was coming and it had only been delayed. In the 12th minute it duly arrived when Galloway slotted a pass through the middle for Ryan Connelly to chase. The Haws winger beat Grant Thomson for pace and prodded the ball beyond the exposed Laing.

Just after the quarter hour mark, Dunbar fashioned a chance of their own. Neave and Jones worked on an opening for Devlin.  His ball across the face of goal was just a touch away from the on-rushing Handling and the opportunity was missed.  At the other end, the Haws missed a similar chance with Elder’s low cross not finding any takers wearing red.

With the next attack of the afternoon, Hill of Beath further increased their lead and all but put the game to bed. A cross from the right wing by Johnathan Galloway was misjudged in flight by Laing and ended up floating into the net at the back stick.

In the 36th minute, Dunbar won a free kick and the set piece was taken by Smith into the box,  Hay flicked the ball on and Stuart Hall in the home goal, had to look lively to prevent Jake Mitchell’s header ending up in his own net. Moments later, Daniel Watt fed Ross Allum in the right channel but the ex- Edinburgh City man’s shot was easily dealt with by Laing.

With 5 minutes remaining until half time, Andy Jones was withdrawn and replaced by Johnny Edmond before Jamie Devlin earned the first booking of the afternoon for a bit of off-the-ball dissent.

Fraser Neave started the second half in busy fashion, but his cross from the left found no blue shirts in the centre. Then, tragedy for Johnny Edmond. In the act of trying to hit a shot on the surface we were playing on, the pitch gave way under his leg and the striker crumpled to the ground in pain, with what looked like a knee injury, whilst his shot flew miles over the bar.

Evan Fleming was brought on as his replacement after only 8 minutes of playing time on the pitch. Ross Allum further tested Daniel Laing with a snap shot, but the Dunbar stopper did well to produce a point blank save to keep the score at 3-0. Watt then tried an effort from a long way out,  but once again Laing was in the right place.

With 60 minutes played, Scott Hay followed Devlin into the referee’s notebook for catching a Haws defender with an elbow in an aerial challenge. A Smith corner found Bob Berry in the centre but his header, though on target, was weak and straight at Stuart Hall. 

Jaciz Baldé replaced Jamie Devlin for Dunbar and Branson Luke came on for Ross Allum for the Haws.

With the clock showing 72 minutes played, Hill of Beath scored their fourth and final goal. A long ball was played forward and Calum Davidson managed to win the footrace and get a toe poke to the ball to nudge the ball beyond the goalie who could only watch the ball hit the post and roll along the line and into the net.

Paul Quinn and Ethan Bauld were introduced for the Haws for Lewis Elder and Jake Mitchell before Dunbar nearly got a goal at the death.  Jaciz Baldé cut in from the right and shot towards goal only to see his effort hacked off the line. A really bad day at the office for Dunbar ending with Hill of Beath picking up the three points.

League Cup group games take centre stage for 4 of the next 5 weeks, with the ame against Linlithgow, the league leaders, being the anomaly. A rescheduled fixture after the original match was abandoned with the Seasiders leading. A trip to Ormiston this Saturday, if the pitch stands up to the weather during the week. 

Hill of Beath: – Stuart Hall, Russell Grierson, Lyle Kellichan, Jake Mitchell, Michael Watt, Jonathan Galloway, Calum Adamson, Lewis Elder, Daniel Watt, Ross Allum, Ryan Connelly. 

Substitutes: Paul Quinn, Brandon Luke, Lee Reid, Michael Fleming, Ethan Bauld, Lee Wilson (gk).

Dunbar United: – Daniel Laing, Michael McFarlane, Grant Thomson, Jamie Devlin, Bob Berry, Steven Thomson, Darren Handling, Andy Jones, Fraser Neave, Scott Hay, Darren Smith. Subs: – Ben Bathgate, Ryan Mack (gk), Johnny Edmond, Nicky Weir, Evan Fleming, Jaciz Baldé

Referee: – Andrew Craven

Asst Referees: – Jack Leslie & Billy Cooper