Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Peebles U14's
Competition: South East Region YFL U14's Division 2
Venue: Hallhill, Dunbar
Date: 27th October 2015
Two teams possibly the furthest apart in terms of distance in Division 2, but on paper, it looked like two well-matched teams. Peebles made the long journey to Dunbar looking to build on a good start to the season, with the hosts optimistic of continuing their recent good run.
Dunbar kicked off and it was clear from the opening exchanges that chances would be at a premium with both defences looking well-organised. Dunbar looked to play the ball out of defence regularly, and such is the improvement in the control and distribution of goalkeeper Purves, he was often an option as Dunbar worked patiently from the back, waiting for an opening. Ford, Hall, Pickles and Hood in defence were composed and passing well.
Peebles were the first to trouble the statisticians with a long range effort that would count as a shot on target but did little to trouble the safe hands of the Dunbar No.1.
Slowly, Dunbar were asserting their presence in a good midfield battle with Knox, Smillie and Kielty winning the ball and pushing forward. Cooper was often engaged in tracking back and he was prominent in the early stages of the game. He did well in tracking the lively Peebles winger Khan, while also using his pace in an advanced role.
Cooper was presented with the best chance of the game when Renton picked up the ball in a forward area before sliding an exquisite pass through for the pacey winger. Cooper took a touch before going 1 v 1 with the keeper. The Peebles keeper Clark proved to be no mug and he was smartly out to make a great block.
Dunbar’s passing unit were now beginning to enjoy a large chunk of the possession with Dixon dropping deep and linking with his midfield, always looking for that killer ball. Kielty tested his passing range to the extreme, delivering a fantastic cross-field switch pass to Renton who was unlucky to see his effort go wide of the target.
A minute later and it was Smillie with the ball through. Renton collected on the left, swung in the cross but Dixon could only poke wide.
Would Dunbar rue these missed chances? Time would tell. It looked that way as against the run of play, Peebles opened the scoring. Peebles are a strong, physical unit who looked likely to present a problem from a set-piece. So it proved, although Dunbar will be disappointed at the manner in which it was conceded. From a corner, the ball was played long. The Peebles winger collected on the right, spotted 3 unmarked players lurking in the box and the ball was played across to them. Khan was the first to react and he connected with the cross. For a second it looked like Purves had completed a phenomenal point blank save but there was sufficient power in the shot to see it squeeze over the line.
Dunbar continued their patient attacks, but chances for both teams were becoming more infrequent. With the half drawing to a close, Knox and Dixon linked, before the ball was sent in to Cooper who saw his volley again well-saved by the visiting keeper. From the resulting corner, a quickly taken set-piece seen Kielty link with Renton. Renton swung the ball in towards the danger area - Knox stood tall and powered an unstoppable header in off the underside of the crossbar to tie the scores. This was the midfielder’s 10th goal of the campaign.
Half Time: Dunbar Utd Colts 1-1 Peebles FC
The second half was similar to the first with the only difference being that Peebles looked the more dominant team in possession although creating little in the way of clear-cut chances.
Dunbar introduced Twist, Kinghorn and Sutherland in an effort to force an opening. Twist battled hard and was linking well with Ford down the right but the Dunbar team found a strong, well-drilled unit in front of them with Duncan in the visiting defence having a great game.
As the half went on, both teams were restricted to long range chances. Dunbar still looked a threat, winning plenty of corners but the coaches were perhaps too slow in changing the formation as the midfield and attack struggled to link.
Peebles finally regained the lead after some sustained pressure, and it came from a corner again. This time the ball was not cleared properly and it took a real quality volley from the edge of the box to break the stubborn Dunbar defence. Smith took one look at the bouncing ball before striking a sweet volley into the far corner of the net. The away support celebrated, knowing with chances few and far between, this looked like being the winning goal.
Still Dunbar attacked and they seen one or two half-hearted penalty appeals turned down before Twist was presented with the best chance of the half. A great cross in seen the midfielder dive goal-wards to the ball. He misjudged the flight of the ball and the chance was gone.
This looks like a very competitive league and a draw may have been a fairer result but it was Peebles who would make the long journey home with 3 points bagged.
Best for Dunbar was Ford who dealt with the most dangerous man on the park, Khan, very competently while also distributing superbly.
Full Time: Dunbar Utd Colts 1-2 Peebles FC
A break from league action now for Dunbar Utd Colts as they enter the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup and a long away trip to Dumbarton Riverside FC.