Match date: 26th of August 2023 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts       2

Dunbar United                              1

Dunbar United made their second visit to Fife within a week when they travelled to Dalgety Bay Sports Centre to play a League match against Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts on their artificial pitch.

Once again the Dunbar team selection was hampered by the unavailability of players and three changes were made from the team that beat Hutchison Vale in midweek and young Jake Henderson the goalkeeper from Dunbar United Under 20s was named as one of the substitutes.

The home side were boosted by their midweek 4-1 win against Sauchie and they went close in the fifth minute when Aaron Wood was stopped by a great tackle from Bob Berry.

Dunbar eventually settled on the 3G surface and Ben Bathgate went close with a shot from an acute angle before Johnny Edmond had a header saved by Michael Gibb in the Swifts goal.

The home side took the lead in the eleventh minute when Sean Brennan under pressure from Ryan Cowie punched clear a cross from the left.  The ball fell kindly for Ronan McMurchie who found Ryan Cowie in space and with Dunbar’s two defenders guarding their goal line Cowie wasted no time in blasting the ball high into the net.

James Redpath had a shot from distance saved by the home keeper before the Swifts had a goal chalked off for offside in the fifteenth minute. Liam Kelly then blasted a free kick high over the bar as Inverkeithing grew in confidence from their opening goal.

Dunbar equalised on the half hour mark when a brilliantly weighted pass from Michael Barfoot sent Sean Stewart clear and the ex Berwick Rangers striker chipped the ball over the advancing keeper for his fourth goal of the season.

Eight minutes later Sean Stewart again caused havoc in the home defence but his shot went over the bar before Johnny Edmond might have done better after being played in by Stewart but his volleyed shot was saved by the Swifts keeper.

All square at the interval with not a lot between the sides but Ben Bathgate was replaced on the restart by Kyle Somers after Bathgate presumably picked up a knock in the first half.

Dunbar stepped up the pace and Michael Barfoot fired a free kick wide from the edge of the box before Grant Thomson fired one goalwards from thirty yards which Gibb saved well. Sean Stewart then went close from distance before Dean Whitson headed a corner over the bar with his first touch after replacing Willis Hare in the Dunbar defence.

Despite not really threatening after the restart it was the homeside who scored again in the 68th minute after Liam Kelly picked up the ball on the edge of the box and dribbled through three Dunbar tackles before slotting the ball past Sean Brennan into the net.

Dunbar had a great chance to equalise five minutes later when Aaron Congalton played in Darren Handling with a great through ball but his left footed effort was saved at full stretch by the Swifts keeper to deny the Dunbar midfielder.

Some feisty tackles crept into the game which resulted in two bookings in quick succession for the home side and Swifts Callum Deas was very fortunate not to pick up a second booking minutes later after yet another cynical foul on a Dunbar player.

Kyle Somers had a shot saved as Dunbar pushed for the equaliser before Dean Whitson fired another chance high over the bar. With Dunbar pushing everyone forward Ryan Cowie had a great chance to clinch the game for Inverkeithing but his shot struck the post before being cleared to safety.

Four minutes from time  Johnny Edmond headed a Brandon Archibald cross wide of the target with the home defence beaten but despite Dunbar gaining corner after corner in the four minutes of added time the resolute Swifts defence stuck to their task and picked up all three points in a dour encounter.

A bad day at the office for Dunbar following on after two good wins in the last week, but hopefully a full squad and another week to get things sorted out before their next game.

Vale of Leithen are the visitors to New Countess Park, Dunbar on Saturday in the second Preliminary Round of the Scottish Cup with kick off at the later time of 3pm and again hopefully the home support will help the team progress to the First Round proper. Tickets for the big match are now on sale via Fanbase.

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts :- Michael Gibb, Owen Reid, Michael Paterson, Callum Deas, Ryan Mauchlen, Liam Kelly, Ryan Cowie, Ronan McMurchie, Aaron Wood, Harry Osborne, Ben Ramage.

Substitutes :– John Binnie, Tommy Simpson, Dale Mason, Rory Marshall, Finlay Kerr, Finlay Hall.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, Willis Hare, James Redpath, Grant Thomson, Michael Barfoot, Bob Berry, Johnny Edmond, Darren Handling, Liam Gregory, Ben Bathgate, Sean Stewart.

Substitutes :- Jake Henderson, Dean Whitson, Brandon Archibald, Kyle Somers, Aaron Congalton, Darren Smith.

Referee :- Stephen Gill.

Asst Referees :- Derryn Brogan, Fraser Meikle.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Dave Black at Cue Snap Photography.