Dunbar was the venue once more as the hosts entertained fellow Division 2 side Currie Star in the first round of the all-division Willie Bauld Cup. This was the first ever meeting between the two sides at 11-a-side football.
With conditions again perfect for free-flowing football, Dunbar adjusted team lines at the last minute with Sutherland unable to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in PE on Friday, while striker Dixon boosted the home side by declaring himself available after falling off his bike in midweek and breaking a finger. These are the sort of selection problems that Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers have yet to experience albeit Rodgers would welcome the character shown by Dixon in making himself available.
Dunbar kicked off and were first out the blocks with a corner won in the first minute of the match. Hood was up highest but could only head it wide. The next 10 minutes saw some careless possession surrendered and the football treated as the proverbial hot potato. Ben Knox was leading the way though and he settled the home sides nerve when he won the ball 25 yards out. He charged to the edge of the box before striking the ball low into the bottom corner to continue his vein of scoring form.
Dunbar settled with this goal and started to play some of their best football of the season. A flowing move involving Kielty, McLean, Cooper and Dixon saw the striker denied by the goalkeeper with the move deserving so much more. Renton was finding joy on the left side and he beat his marker before swinging in a ball that somehow managed to evade Dixon and the stretching Knox who did well to make up the yards and get into a scoring position.
Renton was next to test the goalkeeper and his shot was tipped over the bar.
Dunbar stretched their lead with 21 minutes on the clock. A corner swung in saw Smillie, Hood, Pickles and Knox charge into the box. Hood somehow managed to make connection with the back of his head which directed the ball into the back of the net.
Dunbar were playing well now and Smillie and Cooper were linking well down the right. Cooper looked to be rid of his nagging groin strain and his free running down the right were a thorn in the side of the visiting defence. Pickles, Hall and Hood were largely untroubled in the home defence with keeper Purves a passenger for long periods of the half.
Dunbar’s third goal in the half came from some great closing down and defending from the front. Currie Star were looking tidy and were trying to play it out from defence. Renton and Dixon applied the pressure and when Dixon won possession from the centre half, he was quick to spot the keeper off his line. He fired over the marooned goal keeper and in to the empty net.
In a case of deja vu from last week, the Seasiders would turn around with a three-goal cushion.
The second half bore similarities to the last game with the Dunbar bench full of strong runners keen to make an impression and also take advantage of a tiring Currie Star defence. Readman, Brunton, Twist, Foggo and Kinghorn all came on.
The first goal in the second half always looked to be crucial and Dunbar were the ones to score in a great back to front move. Keeper Purves sharply rolled the ball out to full back Hood. Hood fed Kinghorn down the left with Knox surging forward from midfield. Kinghorn spotted the run and slotted the ball into the path of the marauding midfielder. Knox still had work to do but he took the chance early and smashed the ball low to the keeper’s right for his sixth goal of the season.
Dunbar soon made it five. Renton was switched to the right and the Kelso lad galloped past his full back before serving an inch-perfect ball into the path of Kinghorn who smashed home from close range.
Kinghorn turned provider for goal number 6. With full back Hood still up from a corner, Kinghorn won the ball on the edge of the box, chipped it over the defence for Hood to run onto and grab his second of the game.
Dunbar were guilty of missing a few chances that their passing and possession play deserved with Kinghorn momentarily losing his golden touch in front of goal as he put a ball wide when faced with an open goal.
With Dunbar pushing forwards and Currie Star still looking good when in possession, it was no surprise to see the visitors grab the next goal. A nice ball through saw the left winger race on and slot past keeper Purves who was unlucky to see his goal breached.
Dunbar were well on top however and Foggo, Twist, Dixon and Knox were pulling the strings. Dixon was unlucky to see his effort go wide when it again looked easier to score before 20-goal hero from last season Cooper finally broke his duck for this season. The tricky winger surprised most by opening his account with a header. A ball that had gone right across goal was recovered by Kinghorn and his cross saw Cooper expertly nod home. It looked a relief to Cooper who will do well to match his return from last season.
Dunbar were not finished yet and they again scored from a patient back-to-front move which had the spectators ooing and aahing in delight.
Purves again began the move from his 18-yard box as he rolled it out to Readman in the full back position. His pass found Cooper down the right. Cooper cut inside then threaded a pass through the eye of a needle a la Jonjo Shelvey as he spotted the run of Kinghorn. This time Kinghorn made no mistake – picking up the pass from Cooper, he fired home from the edge of the box to continue a goa scoring streak which has seen him net eight times in his last three games.
Dunbar were relentless in attack while remaining ruthlessly efficient in defence. Hall, Knox, Pickles and Kielty continue to benchmark consistently strong performances while the pace of Renton, Cooper, Kinghorn and Dixon remain the nightmare of most defences. Best on the day for his quality of passing and build-up play from the back while scoring two from the left full back position was Hood who easily contributed his best performance of the season. Hood misses next week’s game for a trip to Blackpool with the Coaches surely deserving of a stick of rock or a ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat from the generous youngster. Dunbar travel to Edinburgh City in the first round of the Division 2 Ian Mackay cup next Sunday having lost 1-0 to the team in a very closely contested league game there just a few weeks back.