With the country currently enjoying an Indian summer, there could be no complaints about the weather and the pitch looked in good condition.
Dunbar were able to field a new signing of their own with Ewan Ford making his debut in the right back position.
With both teams appearing ready, the referee allowed the game to kick off a few minutes before the scheduled 11am kick off. Dunbar were clearly intent on not playing until 11am and were slow out the blocks. Cavalry Park made the running in the opening few minutes and forced a couple of early corners which keeper Purves was alert to deal with.
The clock struck 11 and Dunbar decided to start playing; their first attacking move saw Knox through on goal. His shot from the right hand side of the box saw the home keeper make a good stop.
Dunbar were now alive and involved in the game. Knox was pushed further forward in what the FIFA obsessed players would call the ‘CAM’ role. He looked the main threat and it was no surprise that he opened the scoring for Dunbar with 7 minutes on the clock. The goal hungry midfielder added to his tally of impressive strikes this season with a powerful shot from the edge of the box. The opening goal of the game was Knox’s 9th of the season, and indeed 9th in his last 8 games.
The game looked eagerly contested but Smillie and Kielty in the Dunbar midfield looked in control, and were covering a lot of ground, both protecting the Dunbar back 4, and supporting the attack. Dunbar edged further ahead and it was Knox who shot; this time the home keeper could only parry into the path of Dixon who slotted home.
Dunbar were defending high with Ford, Brunton, Hall and Hood enjoying the battle against a physical and mobile home attack. They were playing well as a unit and stepping up at the right moment leaving the Cavalry Park attack offside on several occasions and the home coach growing more and more frustrated.
Dunbar looked dangerous in attack and they really do have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pace, with Cooper, Renton, Knox and Dixon all combining well. The third goal however was a back to front passing move which was as good as any goal scored across the country this weekend. It started from Ford at the back who already looks like an asset to the team. He linked up with Cooper, Kielty and Knox as Dunbar made progress down the right. Knox then looked up and delivered a superb cross field ball, switching play from right to left. Renton killed the ball on the left edge of the box, cut inside and unleashed a screamer into the far top corner. The finish more than matched a superbly crafted build-up with the visiting support showing their appreciation.
The game was still hugely competitive with Hood and Kielty covering a lot of ground and defending well. The Dunbar defensive line was finally breached when a long ball did see the Cavalry Park striker judge the offside line better – he collected the ball through and his finish left Purves with no chance. Superb finish.
Dunbar then had to work hard as the home side lifted their game. They did well to see out the half with no further breaches to their goal; a combination of superb goalkeeping and industrious defending frustrating the home attack. In fact, with only a few minutes left of the half it was Dunbar who extended their lead. A Dixon shot was cleared out to Kielty. The busy midfielder collected from around 20 yards and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net for his second long ranger of the season. Kielty only scores spectacular goals and it was no more than the he deserved for a commanding midfield performance.
There was still time for one more Dunbar attack and the home goalkeeper pulled out the save of the game to deny Knox a second goal, as the energetic Dunbar Captain raced into the box like a young Ted McMinn. The referee almost looked relieved to see 35 minutes were up and he blew his whistle to call a halt on a fast-paced half.
Half Time: Cavalry Park 1-4 Dunbar United Colts
The second half kicked off and it was no surprise to see the home side up for the challenge, clearly buoyed by their half time team talk. With Cavalry Park looking dangerous, the next goal always looked like a key goal and it was the home side who claimed it in a direct move similar to their first goal. A long ball over the top saw the Dunbar back 4 stuck with arms raised Tony Adams style. The referee ignored the pleas for offside and the Cavalry Park striker again finished comfortably.
The next 5 minutes seen the action swing from end to end with Cooper and Renton looking dangerous down the flanks for Dunbar while the direct long ball game from the home side looked like troubling the Dunbar defence which was well marshalled by Hall.
Dunbar did score the next goal which seemed to calm the nerves. Cooper’s persistence down the right led to a mistake in the home defence, and when the ball was missed by the centre half, Renton needed no second invite and he sneaked in to extend Dunbar’s lead.
Cooper was again instrumental in Dunbar’s 6th goal. He won the ball from his opponent and his vision was matched by his execution as he played in Dixon. Dixon finished expertly, curling the ball past the keeper with the outside of his right foot as the visitors took the game away from their hosts.
With players tiring, Dunbar called for back-up and Kinghorn, Sutherland and Foggo were introduced. Kielty showed his versatility as he slipped back a position to steady the Dunbar defence while Sutherland slotted in to the engine-room as if he had been there all his life. Kinghorn was his usual threat down the left, and again looked to impose himself on a tiring defence. Foggo also looked like he had a point to prove with the Dunbar squad all competing for starting places right now.
The changes were positive ones with Sutherland and Foggo in particular wasting no time in influencing the game. Dunbar soon made it 7 and it was again as a result of great defending from the front. Pressure from Renton and Foggo saw a mistake in the home side’s box, and Dixon was left with the simplest of chances to complete his hat-trick.
Cavalry Park remained a threat and Purves still had work to do in the Dunbar goal. He pulled off a classy stop to highlight his importance to the team. Mclean took Dixons place in the Dunbar XI and he too looked to impose himself as the Dunbar goal factory showed no signs of ceasing production any time soon. Foggo seen an effort well saved before Knox shot wide as the Cavalry Park team pushed forward in numbers. Renton and Foggo missed further chances as the game continued to flow from end to end. Cavalry Park did score a third – the threat down the right finally was rewarded when the right winger danced his way through a tiring Dunbar defence before finishing in style.
Sutherland in the Dunbar midfield clearly took exception to this and he produced the pass of the game, a superb through ball presenting Foggo with a one on one with the keeper. He was calm and skilful as he cleverly dispatched his effort in to the net to round off the scoring for the day.
To be fair to the home side, this was a well-contested game, with Dunbar simply reserving their best display of the season for a game against the league leaders. In a performance where every player contributed heavily, Kielty shone the brightest as he claimed the man of the match for Dunbar.
League action continues at Hallhill next weekend as Dunbar entertains Borders visitors for the first time as Peebles come to town.
Full Time: Cavalry Park 3-8 Dunbar United Colts