Match date: 19th of August 2023 Kickoff: 14.30 pm

Oakley United    1     Dunbar United    4

With a welcome break from League action this weekend Dunbar United made their first visit to Blairwood Park, Oakley since October 2019 for a Second Round East of Scotland Qualifying Cup match against Oakley United.

After two successive home defeats the Dunbar management made three changes to their starting eleven and included two of their Under 20s team on the bench along with Darren Smith who made a welcome return after a long term injury.

Dunbar started the game well and might well have had a penalty in the fifth minute when Darren Handling was clumsily fouled inside the box but the referee ignored the Dunbar protests.

Johnny Edmond went close after the Oakley keeper parried away James Redpath’s cross and Ben Bathgate was unlucky not to score after being played in by Taylor Hendry.

Against the run of play it was the home side who took the lead in the 21st minute when Dunbar keeper Shea Dowie failed to hold Scott Bruce’s shot from twenty yards with the ball nestling in the net.

Dunbar equalised ten minutes later after Bob Berry was fouled on the edge of the box and James Redpath side footed the resultant free kick past the Oakley defensive wall and into the bottom corner to level the score at 1-1.

Ben Bathgate almost gave the visitors the lead in their next attack after a great drive from midfield but a tremendous last defender tackle from Oakley’s Steven Dolan denied the Dunbar midfielder from scoring.

Four minutes before the interval a through ball from Liam Gregory found Taylor Hendry clear on the right and his inch perfect cross was touched into the net by Johnny Edmond to send Dunbar into a well deserved lead.

Aaron Congalton went close after the restart as Dunbar looked to increase their lead and it was no surprise when they scored again in the 52nd minute with Taylor Hendry dispossessing an Oakley defender and firing past the advancing keeper for a real individual effort and his own eleventh goal of the season.

Oakley went close minutes later when Finn McLaren shot inches wide before Liam Gregory darted across the box for Dunbar setting up Darren Handling but his shot curled wide of the goal.

Shea Dowie did well to tip Jason Watson’s shot over the bar as the home side tried hard to get back into the cup tie and minutes later the Dunbar keeper saved again parrying another Oakley effort onto the post before being deflected for a corner.

Fifteen minutes from time a great move involving Kyle Somers and Michael Barfoot on the right saw the ball squared across goal to Darren Handling who finished the move off with a twenty yard shot which took a deflection of an Oakley defender and into the net for Dunbar’s fourth goal of the game.

With eleven minutes left and the game all but over the Dunbar management made three changes bringing on both Daniel Hall and Leo Harrison from the Dunbar United FC Under 20’s side and Darren Smith having recovered from a long term injury.

The two youngsters got in each other’s way right away after Kyle Somers cross fell nicely on the edge of the box but soon settled into the game and then Leo Harrison went agonisingly close with a neat chip over the Oakley keeper.

Kyle Somers played in Harrison in Dunbar’s next attack and despite the attention of three Oakley defenders Harrison struck the outside of the post from an acute angle.

Dunbar piled on the pressure and Harrison went close once again after chasing down a long ball before a surging drive and cross from Daniel Hall ended with Leo Harrison heading just wide before the referee  brought the game to an end.

A much improved performance from Dunbar who despite falling behind early on, picked themselves up and scored four well taken goals to deservedly progress to the next round of the cup and at the same time being able to blood two more under 20s players and another from a long term injury.

Gordon Harris and Willis Hare both looked solid in defence despite a lack of game time and both Daniel Hall and Leo Harrison did not look out of place when they came on with Harrison very unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet.

Back to League business tomorrow night when Hutchison Vale are the visitors to New Countess Park with kick-off at 7.30pm and another intriguing match in prospect after their 6-0 away win at Kinnoull this weekend. Tickets are now sale via Fanbase:

Oakley United :- Josh Irvine, Innes Easton, Lewis Ward, Aiden Gallagher, Steven Dolan, Finn McLaren, Kenny Knox, Scott Bruce, Jason Watson, Somina Dublin-Green, Mark Allan.

Substitutes :- Liam Cairns, Brandon Callaghan, Sandy McKinnon, Kyle Mowatt, Lee Dawson, Ryan Yapoldsian.

Dunbar United :- Shea Dowie, James Redpath, Bob Berry, Johnny Edmond, Darren Handling, Liam Gregory, Ben Bathgate, Taylor Hendry, Gordon Harris, Willis Hare, Aaron Congalton.

Substitutes :- Grant Thomson, Michael Barfoot, Sean Brennan, Daniel Hall, Kyle Somers, Darren Smith, Leo Harrison.

Referee :- Keith Maskell.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

More photos will follow from Dave Black at Cue Snap Photography later this week.

“Well done Seasiders”