Match date: 13th November 2021 Kickoff: 2.30 pm

Newtongrange Star went into this League match in a confident mood after their recent results ended with nine points from their last four games, and with Dunbar’s record at New Victoria Park and their poor run of form the home side were looking to edge further towards safety in the League.

The Dunbar management reshuffled their side after three straight defeats and ex Newtongrange Star keeper Ryan Mack made a welcome return, but this time in the Dunbar colours.

Any nerves he had, soon disappeared right from kick off when he brought off a great save from Star’s Chris Robertson, as the home side looked for an early breakthrough. 

But Dunbar weathered the early pressure and took the lead in the sixth minute when a Dunbar corner was only cleared as far as Andy Jones on the edge of the box,  and the in form striker curled his shot into the net of the inside of the post despite a valiant effort from ex Dunbar keeper Liam McCathie in the Star goal.

Liall Smith went close for the home side in the eleventh minute when his shot from twenty yards rebounded off the crossbar before Ryan Mack pulled off another two saves from Robertson as the Star pushed for an equaliser.

Jamie Devlin forced the home keeper into a full stretch save on the half hour mark and two minutes later the visitors increased their lead when a Darren Smith free kick was headed onto the crossbar by a Star defender,  and despite missing the rebound with his head young Ben Bathgate somehow managed to flick the ball into the net from close range to give Dunbar a two goal cushion.

Scott Hay picked up an injury and was replaced in Dunbar’s defence by Michael McFarlane. Despite some home pressure the Dunbar defence was giving little away at the back and Dunbar fully deserved their two goal lead at the break.

Andy Jones was replaced after the restart by Darren Handling after failing to shake off an ankle injury and once again the visitors had to regroup.  As expected Newtongrange pushed on looking for a lifeline back into the game and Ryan Porteous fired one goalwards from 18 yards but Ryan Mack again saved well.

With the game finely poised, a few bookings were handed out by the referee before Dunbar might have increased their lead further after a surging run up the right from Grant Thomson saw his shot saved by the keeper’s legs and Darren Smith fired the loose ball inches wide from the edge of the box.

With time running out for the home side then made a triple substitution fourteen minutes from time and within two minutes it was game on after Ryan Porteous struck a looping shot from fully twenty yards which Ryan Mack in the Dunbar goal did well to stop but the ball squirmed out of his hands and over the line.

The home joy was short lived as Dunbar scored again in the next attack with a lovely ball from Darren Handling finding Ben Bathgate on the edge of the box and he turned his marker brilliantly and blasted the ball past McCathie into the net to restore Dunbar’s two goal lead.

The home side were stunned as Dunbar were playing some nice football and might well have scored again when Jamie Devlin ran unchallenged but was denied by a fine save from Liam McCathie before Nicky Weir almost scored with his first touch after coming off the bench but his shot went wide.

Three minutes from time Dan Purves wrapped up all three points for Dunbar after being played in by substitute Fraser McLaren and the on loan Berwick striker made no mistake from inside the box to make the final score 4-1 to Dunbar and finally bring to an end a poor away record at Newtongrange with this win Dunbar’s first win at Newtongrange since August 1971.

A well deserved win for Dunbar with everyone playing their part and hopefully this might kick start their League campaign after the disappointment of losing out in the Scottish Cup replay, but another difficult away match awaits next Saturday with a visit to Dalgety Bay in Fife where The Swifts now play their home games on an artificial surface with kick off at the earlier time of 2pm.

Newtongrange Star :- Liam McCathie, Ali Forster, Ben Finnan, Alex Webb, Ryan Porteous, Adam Nelson, Chris Robertson, Shaun Conlan, Liall Smith, Liam Peden, Michael Jones. 

Substitutes :- Sean Brennan, Steven Tait, Andrew Muir, Jack Gillan, Lewis Turner, Ethan Dougal, Alex Imlah

Dunbar United :- Ryan Mack, Grant Thomson, Dean Whitson, Scott Hay, Bob Berry, Darren Smith, Ben Bathgate, Fraser Neave, Jamie Devlin, Andy Jones, Dan Purves.

Substitutes :- Jordan Purves, Michael McFarlane, Kieran Ingram, Fraser McLaren, Darren Handling, Johnny Edmond, Nicky Weir.

Referee :- Alex Shepherd.

Asst Referees :- Michael Dixon, Conner Pratt

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Dave Black and Gordon Maitland.