Match date: 24th August 2022 Kickoff: 3.00 pm

Vale of Leithen FC   0     Dunbar United      2

Dunbar United travelled to Innerleithen on Saturday for their next adventure in the Scottish Cup with a Preliminary Round match against Vale of Leithen who were relegated from last season’s Lowland Division but are still playing in a League above Dunbar in The East of Scotland Premier Division.

This was the first ever competitive match between the sides,  although six Friendly matches over the years meant a first visit to Victoria Park for 18 years when ironically both Kevin Haynes and Andy Donlevy were on the scoresheet in a 4-0 Dunbar victory.

The home side went close in the opening minute when Kyle Mitchell latched onto a cross from the right after an untimely slip by a Dunbar defender, but the winger’s shot was blocked by Willis Hare. James Redpath then caused havoc in the home defence with his low cross into the box as Dunbar began to settle on the bumpy surface.

Five minutes later a claim for handball went unnoticed by the referee before Bob Berry had a shot deflected for a corner. End to end play continued and the Vale spurned a great chance in the 19th minute when Mark Deya beat James Redpath on the right but his shot was well saved by Sean Brennan in the Dunbar goal. Ben Bathgate and Jordan Hopkinson then linked up well for Dunbar and the latter’s shot on the volley struck the side netting.

The deadlock was broken in the 27th minute when Darren Handling was upended inside the box with a clumsy tackle from Mark Deya and Darren Smith sent the keeper the wrong way from the resultant penalty and sent the visitors into a well deserved lead much to the delight of the large travelling support.

Dunbar might well have increased their lead before the interval when the experienced Mark Smith misjudged his clearance leaving Dunbar’s Ben Bathgate through on goal but his shot from a tight angle was brilliantly saved by Joshua Scoon in the Vale goal.

Bathgate was involved again a minute after the restart when his brilliant through ball found Jordan Hopkinson clear on goal only to be fouled by a Vale defender earning him a yellow card. Dean Whitson had a header saved and Cammy Dawson went close with a great diving header as Dunbar looked to put the tie to bed but the home side had a chance from a corner which Gary Tickle headed wide.

Dunbar began to dominate and Cammy Dawson, who ran himself into the ground, went close on two occasions before Willis Hare fired a shot inches over the bar.

The home side earned another two bookings as they struggled to contain the visitors attacks,  but the tie was still on a knife edge with Dunbar holding a slender lead and after Dean Whitson went close from a Smith free kick the home side had two chances to equalise with Sean Brennan again saving well from Mark Deya and the impressive Kyle Mitchell beating three Dunbar defenders before watching his shot cleared of the line by Dean Whitson.

With eleven minutes left Willis Hare’s throw-in was flicked on perfectly by Cammy Dawson but Dunbar substitute Jonny Grotlin headed wide with the home defence beaten. Minutes later another Dunbar corner was cleared only as far as Cammy Dawson and his well struck shot was saved by the keeper’s legs.

Vale pushed everyone forward deep into injury time as they tried to take the game to a replay but their tactics backfired when a long clearance found Dunbar substitute Shaun Miller clear with only the keeper to beat and the midfielder showed great composure when he lobbed the keeper from fully 35 yards to send The Seasiders onwards into the First Round of the Scottish Cup.

Certainly a goal he will always remember and a great result for Dunbar against a well drilled Vale of Leithen side. All the Dunbar players deserve credit for their performance at a difficult venue against a higher placed side and all eyes are now on the draw later today with a home draw the preferred choice in the next Round.

Five straight wins on the bounce and yet another clean sheet cements Dunbar’s great start to the season, but very little time to dwell on the result with two important League games this week firstly away to Coldstream on Tuesday night with kick off at 7.30 pm followed by another away League match next Saturday at Kennoway Star Hearts with kick off at 2.30pm.

Vale of Leithen FC :- Joshua Scoon, Thomas Penker, Gary Tickle, Archie Roue, Andy McNeill, Connor Dyet, Kyle Mitchell, Mark Deya, Dylan Weldon, Mark Smith, Craig Brand.

Substitutes :- Dean Beveridge, James Pringle, Daniel Deya, Owen Renton, Daniel Garvey, Kirk Crighton.

Dunbar United :- Sean Brennan, James Redpath, Kerr Allan, Bob Berry, Cammy Dawson, Darren Handling, Ben Bathgate, Jordan Hopkinson, Willis Hare, Darren Smith, Dean Whitson.

Substitutes :- Shea Dowie, Michael McFarlane, Grant Thomson, Jonny Grotlin, Fraser Neave, Shaun Miller.

Referee :- Ryan Kennedy

Match report courtesy of Laurie Wood.

Photos by Gordon Maitland.

Mon the Seasiders!