Match date: 31st July 2021 Kickoff: 2.30pm

Dunbar United made the long journey to Perth on Saturday to face a Jeanfield Swifts side who were back to full strength after their players were recovering from Covid and they were looking to continue their improved form.  Dunbar suffered a blow in the warm up when Jamie Devlin suffered a hamstring strain and had to be replaced in the starting eleven by Fraser McLaren.

Dunbar had an early chance when Michael McFarlane headed wide from a corner but the home side were moving the ball well and went close from a free kick when Jake Polzanski headed inches past the post.

Controversy in the 18th minute after a good move involving Dunbar’s Ben Bathgate and Michael Fairnie saw the ball break for Fraser McLaren to prod home past the Swifts keeper at the back post but the referee wrongly disallowed the goal for offside despite another home defender standing on the goal line.

Evan Fleming caused havoc in the next Dunbar attack with his cross deflecting of the head of a Jeanfield defender and on to the crossbar before going for a corner.  With play raging from end to end Jeanfield were unlucky not to score five minutes later when a low cross from the left struck the base of the post and then the follow up was tipped onto the crossbar by Daniel Laing in the Dunbar goal. 

Plenty of effort from both sides but with defences dominating it was no surprise when the teams went in goalless at the interval.

Two minutes after the restart Evan Fleming won a corner for the visitors which was only cleared as far as Fraser McLaren,  but his shot went over the bar. Bob Berry went close from another corner as Dunbar went looking for the break through and Andy Jones deceptive cross almost beat the home keeper.

In the 58th minute some great play between Ben Bathgate and Michael Fairnie saw Bob Berry’s cross from the right headed downwards by Fraser McLaren at the back post but somehow Mark Mitchell in the Swifts goal denied Dunbar an opener with a point blank save on the goal line.

Minutes later a low cross from the right was fired past the Dunbar goal as the home side responded and the deadlock was broken in their next attack when a Jeanfield player broke through three Dunbar tackles before squaring the ball for Connor McLaren to sweep the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the week.

Three changes followed for the visitors shortly afterwards with Ben Bathgate, Fraser McLaren and Michael Fairnie being replaced by Nicky Weir, Johnny Edmond and Kieran Ingram and before they had time to reorganise the home side might have increased their lead when Connor McLaren’s shot was deflected by Grant Thomson onto the crossbar.

Jeanfield were playing with confidence after their goal, and substitute Rannoch Ramsay struck the cross bar with a shot from the right before being denied a goal with a fine save from Daniel Laing.  Still Dunbar pushed forward and three minutes from time they almost snatched an equaliser when Andy Jones cut in from the left and curled a beauty into the top corner with the goalkeeper beaten but Dunbar’s luck deserted them with the ball striking the crossbar.

Evan Fleming went close in the dying minutes with a cross which saw the home keeper back peddling before clawing the ball past for a corner but it was the home side who picked up all three points and continued their climb up the table.

Dunbar put in a spirited performance against a really good side, and with a little luck might they have returned with at least a share of the points,  but with no midweek game they can now look forward to next Saturday when Hill of Beath Hawthorn are the visitors to New Countess Park with kick off at 2.30 pm, with tickets now on sale via their Fanbase app:

Jeanfield Swifts :- Mark Mitchell, Jamie Reid, Aaron Whithead, Jake Polzanski, Kieran Stewart, Connor McLaren, Fraser Smith, Chris McLeish, Paul Simpson, Gary Fergus, Chris Smith. 

Substitutes :- Chris Dodd, Mark Smith, Rannoch Ramsay, Trialist, Scott Smith, Trialist.

Dunbar United :-  Daniel laing, Grant Thomson, Dean Whitson, Michael McFarlane, Evan Fleming, Michael Fairnie, Fraser Neave, Ben Bathgate, Bob Berry, Fraser McLaren, Andy Jones.

Substitutes :- John Johnstone, Darren Handling, Johnny Edmond, Kieran Ingram, Nicky Weir.

Referee :- Duncan Nicolson

Asst Referees :- Mike Crichton, David Fearn

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood

Photos by Gordon Maitland.