Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Currie Star U15
Competition: South East Region YFL D2
Venue: Hallhill, Dunbar
Dunbar hosted a league fixture at Hallhill for the first time since late August. They were looking to build on a superb win last weekend at the league leaders and put to bed a blip in form through November.
Paulin for Gallagher was the only change to last week’s starting XI although Paulin was nursing a heavy cold.
It was a slow, subdued start to the game with Dunbar bossing territory and possession. They took an early stranglehold of the midfield with Twist and Sutherland developing an excellent working relationship in the middle of the park. Despite dominating control of the ball, Dunbar did not forge any clear-cut opportunities. For their part, Currie Star looked a far stronger team than last season, both physically at the back and they looked neat and tidy in possession.
Cooper and Hood were getting some joy down the left and Knox was full of running on the right but it was 18 minutes before Dunbar registered a shot on target. A free kick from wide on the right was hit superbly by Hood. Similar to his hit against Bonnyrigg Rose Pumas a few weeks ago, it was hit with accuracy and power, bending in at the last second but unluckily finding the top corner stanchion and bouncing clear.
Paulin was trying his best in attack but was forced off the park with his heavy cold hampering his running and breathing. Knox switched into the attack and the neat and tidy midfielder Gallagher donned his boots, left his laces untied and took to the park.
Currie Star briefly threatened the Dunbar defence but found a formidable unit in Ford, Smillie, Pickles and Hood. Purves wasn’t called into action much but was showing great footwork and linked with his full backs well.
With 25 minutes gone, Dunbar took the lead. The goal was created by Hood’s work down the left as he supported Cooper in attack. His strong running and ball into the box found the defender and keeper struggling to deal with it. Mclean showed them what to do and volleyed in his 10th goal of the season, already eclipsing last year’s total. He really has become Dunbar’s Mr. Consistent this season.
Sutherland was again instrumental in all that was good for Dunbar and he was keen to make use of a tail wind, desperately trying to forge an opportunity to bring the ball on to his left foot and take a strike on goal.
With the half drawing to a close, Currie Star did have a chance to shoot at goal with a central free kick 25 yards from goal. Purves watched as it sailed high and wide. Their supporters were briefly excited when a mix-up between Pickles and Purves saw the Star striker nip in but he was well off-target with his long-range effort.
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 1-0 Currie Star
Dunbar nursed Sutherland through the half time interval with the midfielder complaining of pain in his knee.
They certainly got the second half off to a more energetic start with Knox showing up well and full of running down the right. Dunbar were playing into the breeze but Smillie and Pickles looked on top form. Indeed, the full-backs Hood and Ford began to venture further forward in an effort to close out the game. Twist took a heavy knock and so Dunbar gave a debut to Williamson. Mclean dropped into a deeper holding role with Williamson supporting Knox in attack. His very first touch of the ball was a decent one and his left foot hit beat the goal keeper but the crossbar saved the Currie Star number 1 for the second time in the game.
The longer the game went on, the more Currie Star looked like forging opportunities. They won a series of corners, all of which were dealt with by Ford at the near post.
The game turned in the space of a few minutes. Currie Star shot from range and the ball took a wicked bounce just in front of keeper Purves who was mid-dive at the time. He showed great reflexes to move his hand and produce a real quality save. Shortly after and Currie Star had a free-kick from the left edge of the box. They crossed it in but Pickles emerged with the ball and rather than launching it, took the ball for a run. He rode one tackle as he broke forward before finding Knox down the right in full flow. Knox gathered, looked up and saw Williamson peeling off his marker. A great cross over saw the debutant with a lot still to do but his first touch saw him bring the ball down superbly before firing the second touch into the far bottom corner.
They very nearly made it 3-0 minutes later with Williamson crossing in and Gallagher unlucky to see his goal-bound effort cleared from the line.
Dunbar rang the changes here with Gallagher, Cooper and Mclean all tiring. Brunton, Hall and Rutherford all came on to re-energise the team.
The substitutions were exactly the injection of energy the home side needed. Rutherford was employed down the left and his first contribution saw him taking on two defenders, breaking into the box and fire narrowly wide.
Currie Star still had time to break and the striker’s effort beat Purves but for the second week in a row, Pickles helped out his team-mate as he appeared out of nowhere to clear.
Rutherford looked a real nuisance for the tiring Star defence and he did find himself on the score sheet. Some real perseverance and energy saw him break through some tackling and he showed great composure to open his account for Dunbar with a very neat finish. His work wasn’t done and Williamson took the ball before playing Rutherford through who again showed he knows his way to goal to net his second of the game. From a shaky 1-0 lead just 5 minutes before, Dunbar had weathered the storm and moved through the gears. With the last move of the game, a nice 1-2 move saw the visitors rewarded with a well-taken consolation goal.
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 5-1 Currie Star
One more game in 2016 for the Dunbar team sees the Seasiders make the journey up the A1 to county opposition Musselburgh Athletic Whites who seem to be a far different side to the team that Dunbar beat just back in August and will present a formidable challenge.