Match date: 17th July 2021 Kickoff: 2:30

After an eventful Pre-season Dunbar United’s League campaign began with their first visit to Beechwood Park, Sauchie since September 2010. Glorious sunshine and a lovely playing surface greeted the visitors and new Manager Kevin Haynes who had to reshuffle his players due to injuries and holidays once again utilising a Trialist goalkeeper.

Not the greatest start for the visitors who fell behind after only four minutes when a cross from the left by Sam Collumbine was met by Connor Kelly who had the daftest of touches to divert the ball into the net and put Sauchie into an early lead.

Credit to Dunbar who equalised eight minutes later when young Evan Fleming’s cross was headed goalwards by Jamie Devlin forcing the Sauchie goalkeeper into a fine save, but Nicky Weir was first to react and fired home to score his first goal in Dunbar colours after signing from Bonnyrigg Rose.

Dunbar were playing some lovely football and were controversially denied another chance in the 25th minute when a through ball from Fraser Neave found Jamie Devlin in the clear. The striker was brought down by the keeper inside the box but play was brought back for a very controversial offside decision.

Grant Thomson’s surging run up the right then almost paid off when Devlin’s header was turned round for a corner before Michael McFarlane went close with a header. Connor Kelly volleyed a shot over the bar as Sauchie looked to regain the lead but the visitors struck again in the 36th minute when another inch perfect pass from Fraser Neave sent Andy Jones clear on the left and the winger fired into the top corner from the narrowest of angles despite the best efforts of two Sauchie defenders for his second goal in two games.

Almost immediately the home side made two substitutions before the referee had to bring out some yellow cards for some physical tackles with one of the home officials also falling foul of the referee before the half time whistle sounded.

Sauchie pushed forward after the restart with substitute Ross Crawford and Connor Kelly constantly menacing the Dunbar defence but some resolute defending and poor finishing kept Dunbar’s lead intact.

The home support were stunned in the 59th minute when Scott Hay won a corner for Dunbar and the ball fell nicely from the corner for Michael McFarlane to place the ball into the bottom corner and send Dunbar into a 3-1 lead.
Michael Fairnie was then replaced by Kieran Ingram in the Dunbar midfield before a lengthy break when the Dunbar goalkeeper was injured in a tackle by Sauchie’s Connor Kelly.

Sauchie threw everything at Dunbar and Terry Hewitt headed over when in a good position before both sides utilised all their substitutes with the hard working Jamie Devlin replaced by Johnny Edmond in the Dunbar side and both Jordan Purves and Ben Bathgate replacing the impressive duo of Fraser Neave and Evan Fleming who at 17 years of age looks a real prospect. Yet another booking for the hosts as Andy Jones was scythed down in full flight and Darren Handling went close from the resultant free kick.

Deep into injury time Scott Davidson went close with a header as Sauchie looked to salvage something from the game but Dunbar controlled the six added minutes at the end of the game and deservedly returned home with three League points in the bag with their first win at Beechwood Park since December 2008.

A great start to Dunbar’s League campaign with all the players working hard for each other and responding well to the Dunbar Manager’s instructions from the touch line at a ground where many teams will find it hard to pick up points. But the games are coming thick and fast now with Broxburn Athletic visiting New Countess Park on Tuesday night with kick off at 7.30 pm, and tickets now on sale via the Fanbase app, which hopefully a big Dunbar support will turn up to encourage the team.

Sauchie :- Evan Collumbine, Scott Davidson, Darren Carroll, Terry Hewitt, Mark Sharp, Danny Smith, Sam Collumbine, Brian Morgan, Jack Docherty, Lewis Turnbull, Connor Kelly.

Substitutes :- David Cross, Antony McTaggart, Mark Finlayson, Ross Crawford, Chris Kelly, Lewis Weir, Aaron Bryson.

Dunbar United :- Trialist (GK), Grant Thomson, Michael McFarlane, Scott Hay, Evan Fleming, Michael Fairnie, Darren Handling, Nicky Weir, Andy Jones, Fraser Neave, Jamie Devlin.

Substitutes :- Jordan Purves, Kieran Ingram, Johnny Edmond, Ben Bathgate, Daniel Laing.

Referee :- Tommi Kerr

Asst Referees :- Ben Lawton, Darren Robertson.

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood
Photos by Gordon Maitland.