Match date: 30th October 2021 Kickoff: 3.00 pm

After last weekend’s draw both sides went into this Scottish Cup second round replay with the added incentive of knowing that League Two side Edinburgh  City would be their next opponents in the Cup.  The artificial pitch at Ainslie Park stood up well after a week of heavy rain and with a large away support boosting the home crowd the stage was set for an epic cup replay.

Unfortunately the referee from last weekend had work commitments and his place was taken by the same referee who took charge of the Preston Athletic and Auchinleck Talbot match with a supposedly controversial decision changing the course of the game.

Dunbar almost scored in their first attack when Jamie Devlin ran onto a through ball but his shot went inches past the post.  In the next minute the same player latched on to a mix up between a Lothian defender and his keeper and Devlin headed the ball into the net from the narrowest of angles to send Dunbar into the lead and give them the perfect start.

The home side looked stunned and were sloppy with passes going astray and aimless balls fired up field. However with fourteen minutes on the clock the game changed when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Daniel Laing in the Dunbar goal punched a cross ball away from the lurking Errol Douglas, and with no appeals from the home side, only the referee knew why the penalty had been awarded.  Sandy Cunningham stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to level the tie at 1-1.

Three minutes later and Dunbar went close to regaining the lead when Evan Fleming’s cross from the left was just missed by Jamie Devlin with the home defence static.  Andy Jones hit the top of the crossbar with a cross come shot before Johnny Edmond headed wide from a Darren Handling cross as Dunbar threatened.

Jamie Devlin went close again with a curling shot which was saved by the Thistle keeper’s legs before Kenny OBrien brought out a fine save from Daniel Laing at the opposite end. Lothian Thistle began spraying the passes around on the edge of the Dunbar penalty box and only a timely intervention from Michael McFarlane stopped a nice move.

Sandy Cunningham was booked shortly afterwards for simulation inside the Dunbar box before Joe Viola brought a full stretch save from Laing in the Dunbar goal with another effort from the edge of the box.

With the game finely balanced, two minutes from the interval and yet another controversial decision by the referee changed the course of it.

Jamie Devlin and Thistle’s Niall Docherty clashed for a ball in midfield and with Docherty falling to the ground Devlin was given a red card for what looked like an innocuous challenge and Dunbar were left to play the rest of the game with ten men.

Some tactical changes were made by the Dunbar management after the restart with Grant Thomson and Scott Hay coming on to replace Kieran Ingram and Andy Jones, and before they had time to regroup the home side scored from a quick counter attack with Sandy Cunningham scoring at the second attempt after another fine save from Laing in the Dunbar goal. Dunbar now had a mountain to climb to get back into the game.

Douglas headed wide for the hosts before Signorini missed a chance to seal the cup tie as Dunbar struggled to contain the home forwards. Fraser McLaren replaced Johnny Edmond in Dunbar’s last throw of the dice and the move almost worked straight away when he got on the end of Bob Berry’s cross, turned his marker and shot inches wide.

With the game threatening to boil over after numerous bookings,  the hosts slowed the game down with some unnecessary stoppages and despite constant Dunbar pressure the equaliser never looked like coming before the referee sounded the final whistle with Dunbar’s first ever Scottish Cup run finally brought to an end.

Two very controversial refereeing decisions completely changed the outcome of this game and Dunbar can certainly feel aggrieved by the performance of the match official.

However the whole town can be proud of the achievements of the Dunbar side who now have to pick themselves up and concentrate on winning some much needed points in the League beginning next weekend away to Dundonald Bluebell in Fife with kickoff at 2.30 pm.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale :- Rhairidh Adams, Dillon Moore, Michael Deland, Paul Crawford, Kenny Obrien, Errol Douglas, Joe Viola, Sam Daniel, Lewis Signorini, Niall Docherty, Sandy Cunningham.

Substitutes: Sean Cummings, Joe Murray.

Dunbar United :- Daniel Laing, Bob Berry, Michael McFarlane, Nicky Weir, Evan Fleming, Kieran Ingram, Darren Smith, Darren Handling, Andy Jones, Johnny Edmond, Jamie Devlin. 

Substitutes :- Ryan Mack, Fraser McLaren, Jordan Purves, Dan Purves, Scott Hay, Grant Thomson, Michael Fairnie, Fraser Neave, Ben Bathgate.

Referee :- Chris Gentles

Assistant Referees :- Danny Mackinnon, James Taylor.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by David Black & Gordon Maitland.