Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Edinburgh City Reds U14's
Competition: South East Region YFL U14 Division 2
Venue: Hallhill, Dunbar
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015
Dunbar United Colts returned to league action for the first time since the 25th of October defeat at home to Peebles. They were in a poor run of form having suffered four consecutive defeats for the first time in over a year, being knocked out of the Scottish Cup, SE Region Cup and Willie Bauld Memorial Cup as well as the narrow 2-1 reversal to the Tweeddale team.
The players gathered and resources were depleted with Brunton a late call-off. Mclean was already out ill while defensive cover looked light with Kielty and Hall off to Glasgow to take in some badminton. So, with only 13 players available, Dunbar were forced to field Smillie at centre half and Knox was given a start despite not fully recovered from a calf strain that saw him miss the previous two games.
Edinburgh City Reds were the visitors, a team that had come up with Dunbar United Colts from the 3rd Division last season. Dunbar had also enjoyed home and away success in the league against the Capital side.
Dunbar kicked off and it was obvious from the opening exchanges that they were keen to return to winning ways. Indeed, such was the positive start that Dunbar made, they were able to string more passes together in the opening 5 minutes than they had managed in the two previous weeks. Foggo, Knox and Twist were at the heart of the good passing on display.
As well as enjoying the lion’s share of possession, they looked the likelier team to open the scoring. Kinghorn found some space down the left and he tested the pace of his marker, leaving him in his wake before delivering a great ball in to Dixon who could only put the ball wide.
In terms of passing, this was night and day when comparing the disappointing defeat at home to Spartans Colts last week to the touches on display here. Or in literary terms, the team appeared to don the strips with Dr. Jekyll on the back with Mr Hyde banished to the reserves.
The next move saw Dixon again spurn a golden opportunity, as he headed a free kick wide as Dunbar looked keen to mark their possession with a goal. Their patience and play was rewarded when Dixon stormed into the box – his effort was saved but the ball rebounded to the edge of the box where Twist was lurking. He controlled then shot high into the net for only his second goal of the season but a really classy finish.
Renton and Kinghorn were enjoying a lot of the ball and Renton was next to stretch the defence. His run from the half way line and cross into the box saw the defender nod narrowly over and concede a corner. From the corner, Kinghorn and Renton combined in a great short corner move. Renton swung in a ball from a different angle and Dixon’s volley was smashed off the underside of the bar. The home side appealed that the ball had crossed the line but the referee waved play on and the ball was cleared.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic and with Dunbar getting a little bit too excited in attack, they were grateful to keeper Purves who stood tall when faced with a 1 v 1 with the opposition striker surely favourite to score. Purves was tested in similar fashion just moments later and again emerged the victor in a personal battle with the opposition striker.
The next move saw Dixon rugby tackled to the ground, giving the referee one of the easier decisions he had to make. With Kielty blasting the penalty over last weekend, Dixon dusted himself down and decided to take the spot kick himself. He was very sympathetic to the keeper and he tamely struck the ball down the middle to a grateful keeper who had not even bothered to move.
Would Dunbar be forced to pay for so many spurned opportunities? It certainly was beginning to look that way with the City team slowly creeping into the game. Smillie was a rock in his first outing at centre half and he was brave in the challenge on several occasions. Ford, Pickles and Hood were also outstanding in the tackle and quick to breakdown any threat.
With half time nearing, Edinburgh City Reds were awarded a corner – it was headed clear by Ford but the away team midfielder controlled and curled in a great effort to level the scores.
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 1-1 Edinburgh City Reds
The second half half kicked off with Dunbar again on top. They spent the first 10 minutes camped in the opposition half, with a slight change in formation. Knox was tiring in the engine room so was moved up top, with Dixon slipping into the midfield.
Dunbar won a corner early in the second half and again were denied by the woodwork. Another short corner routine saw a Foggo delivery placed on top of Hood’s head and with the keeper beaten, his effort came crashing back off the bar.
Renton also looked like scoring as he raced through on goal but dragged his effort wide.
Dunbar made some changes as tired legs were evident with Sutherland and Jones on the park. They both looked up for the challenge with Jones slotting in at left back and winning every challenge he faced while Sutherland turned in the sort of performance that has been missing for a few weeks.
Despite all the possession, Edinburgh City Reds strolled up the park and with the ball bouncing in the box, the striker poked the ball past Purves to take a 2-1 lead.
Crucially, Dunbar were level within 30 seconds of the restart. Renton was the tormentor and creator down the right as he out foxed his marker and placed a perfect pass into the path of Kinghorn who timed his run at the back post to perfection and crashed home from close range.
Dunbar were up for closing this out but again would spurn several opportunities – Knox ran his heart out all day but was denied a goal on several occasion with a little bit of game time composure the missing ingredient.
Kinghorn and Renton combined for Dunbar to regain the lead. Kinghorn struck a shot from outside the box; the GK pushed the ball on to the bar and with the City Reds team napping Renton patiently waited for the ball to fall before volleying into the empty net.
The points were safe when Dunbar were awarded their second penalty of the game. On this occasion Renton was crudely brought to a halt. He showed Kielty and Dixon the way as he stroked the ball into the bottom corner to secure the points for the home team.
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 4-2 Edinburgh City Reds
A great team performance for Dunbar with Smillie emerging as the star player. He had never played at centre half before but clearly modelled his game on Mike Smalling, winning every header and tackle that came his way. Did I say Mike? I meant Chris.