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Derek Hall’s report on the Tranent Juniors v Dunbar United game on Tuesday 19th April

todayApril 20, 2022


Tranent 3-0 Dunbar United

A lovely night for football in East Lothian and the added buzz that comes from a local derby as top of the pile Tranent welcomed Dunbar United to Foresters Park with both teams in fine form after recording excellent away wins at the weekend. Within 30 seconds, Wayne McIntosh looked to send Jamie Docherty down the left wing but former Tranent defender Dean Whitson was there to tidy up for the visitors. However Dunbar responded immediately as Michael McFarlane worked the ball back to Ben Bathgate whose first time cross picked out Jamie Devlin and his nine yard header was a really presentable chance but the ball flew over the top of the Tranent crossbar. Two minutes later, a long throw from McFarlane into the home penalty area saw a header from Bob Berry loop up into the air but the Tranent defence was able to clear. After five minutes, Docherty tried to put Kris Renton in but the through ball had a bit too much on it and went behind. With nine minutes gone, Kieran Somerville had an attempted clearance charged down by McFarlane but his cut back from the goal line failed to find any takers despite Devlin getting a touch and it led to a lightning counter for the home side which ended with Dunbar keeper Daniel Laing clearing from outside his box from Renton, although the offside flag then went up. A minute later, a corner from Bathgate again found the head of Devlin at the back post, but a touch off a Tranent head saw the ball cleared away. After twelve minutes, McIntosh picked up in midfield and sent the ball wide to Docherty who cut in from the left flank before sending a 25 yard right foot drive raging a yard over the Dunbar crossbar. On the quarter hour, the same two players almost carved out the opening goal for Tranent when Docherty’s low driven corner kick saw McIntosh lose his marker as he came across the box but he couldn’t get the contact he wanted and dragged his shot along the ground across the face of goal and wide. Docherty was looking lively and another cut back into the Dunbar box was cleared out to home skipper Craig Stevenson who quickly switched the ball inside onto his left foot before firing in a 20 yard angled drive which United keeper Laing held above his head at his near post. However with 23 minutes gone, Tranent hit the front after a superb flowing move which began on the right flank and yet again involved McIntosh finding Docherty before Stevenson then switched play to the left wing where Kieran Somerville cut in and from 25 yards sent a wonderful curling right foot drive high into the net past the despairing grasp of keeper Laing who in reality had no chance with the strike. Dunbar tried to get back into the game and two minutes later, a foul by Sean Murphy on Bathgate gave Fraser Neave the chance to deliver a set piece into the home penalty area, but the home heads were up to make the clearance. However Dunbar took the resulting throw in quickly and the home defence looked flat footed as the whipped cross found Devlin in the box only nine yards out and only alert goalkeeping from Kelby Mason prevented the equaliser as he spread himself and stayed big to block the Dunbar strikers close range left foot effort. With 27 minutes gone, McIntosh earned himself a warning from referee Iain Snedden after complaining too loudly that he had been fouled with nothing being given. A minute later, McIntosh’s head flick again sent Docherty into the United penalty area and when his low flashing drive across keeper Laing was well parried by the keeper, Whitson was there for the seasiders to complete the clearance. Tranent were now dominating possession and on the half hour, Stevenson tried to catch keeper Laing napping by taking his right footed effort early, but the keeper was alert to the danger. A minute later, McIntosh tried a fairly speculative long range effort from all of 30 yards but keeper Laing wasn’t troubled as the ball flew a couple of yards over. With 33 minutes gone, Dunbar’s Andy Jones and Tranent’s Ciaran McKenzie both went to ground in a solid challenge close to the touchline and despite coming off worst, it was McKenzie who was the recipient of the games’ first yellow card as referee Snedden took exception to the manner of the challenge. The resulting free kick dropped to McFarlane on the edge of the Tranent box but he had to dig the ball out from under his feet and his left foot 16 yard drive flew over the bar. On 36 minutes, McKenzie indicated he could no longer continue and he was replaced by Bradley Donaldson. Tranent continued to carve out chances and two minutes later, Docherty picked out Oban Anderson who laid the ball back to McIntosh and his low right foot drive saw Whitson make the vital block with his left boot. On 40 minutes, a Stevenson delivery dropped for Renton and his left foot shot on the stretch saw Dunbar keeper Laing make an excellent block low to his right before the ball was hooked away. A minute later, Renton of Tranent and Dunbar keeper Laing collided and went to ground in the penalty area as the keeper gathered a high ball and there was initial concern as the referee quickly halted play, but thankfully both were able to continue without requiring treatment. With a minute remaining in the half, the home side struck again and once more the goal was beautifully worked as Stevenson released Docherty down the left wing and he managed to elude a tackle before getting to the goal line and standing up a lovely back post cross which still saw McIntosh with plenty to do, but he managed to generate plenty of power in the header as he beat the diving Laing inside his far post from around seven yards and the league leaders had a two goal cushion at a vital stage of the game. At the break, the scoreline was a pretty fair reflection of the contest, the visitors started brightly but once the home side got into their stride, play flowed mainly in the direction of Dunbar keeper Laing and in Docherty, Tranent had the games most influential player by some margin.
Two minutes into the second period, a clipped Stevenson pass saw Renton head the ball on just inside the Dunbar box and it was Renton himself who picked up the loose ball before lashing in a tremendous right foot drive from a very tight angle which keeper Laing got the faintest of touches on to send the ball behind. On 49 minutes, Dunbar forced a corner and Bathgate’s set piece was cleared out to Jones who tried a spectacular left foot volley which saw a Tranent body make the block. The games second yellow card arrived on 53 minutes when a Neave corner for Dunbar was flicked on by Bathgate and as Somerville tried to clear, he was caught by Devlin and referee Snedden went to his pocket once more. Another driving run by Docherty down the inside left channel took him into the Dunbar box, but United skipper Grant Thomson stuck to his task and got the ball behind at the expense of a corner but Docherty’s kick was headed clear by Bathgate. A free kick into the Tranent penalty area was again cleared to Jones and his 24 yard left foot half volley went through to keeper Mason in the Tranent goal on the first bounce. After 59 minutes, Tranent made their second change when Renton was replaced by Martin Maughan. Docherty then sent a nice ball through in the direction of Maughan but Evan Fleming was there with some no nonsense defending for the visitors. Two minutes later, Stevenson tried to utilise the pace of Maughan but some composed defending from Whitson saw him get the ball back to his keeper. On 68 minutes, Bathgate of Dunbar was cautioned when he pretty much flattened Stevenson as they jumped for a high ball in midfield and a few of the Tranent team were far from impressed with the challenge made. B. Donaldson made his feelings known a bit too strongly for the referees liking and he joined the Dunbar man in referee Snedden’s book. Calm defending by Whitson whilst under more pressure from Maughan again saw a dangerous situation averted for the visitors before on 72 minutes, Dunbar made a double change with Darren Smith and Kieran Ingram replacing Jones and Bathgate. This was followed a minute later by a double switch from the home side as Ben Miller and Rory Currie came on for Stevenson and McIntosh. With fifteen minutes remaining, Docherty whipped a vicious inswinging corner in at the near post and Dunbar keeper Laing did really well to punch the ball away almost on the goal line and then a minute later, Currie of Tranent was cautioned for a deliberate trip which stopped a Dunbar attack, having only been on the pitch three minutes. After 79 minutes, it was very nearly all over when Callum Donaldson found Maughan with a quick throw in and from just inside the United box, the Tranent no19 smacked a looping 16 yard half volley off the crossbar with Laing beaten. Currie then got down the right wing for Tranent and he pulled the ball back on the edge of the box for Miller, but he hesitated in getting his shot away and was ultimately crowded out. However, the clinching goal was only seconds away and it was perhaps fitting that man of the match Docherty should cap a superb display as he picked up the ball and once again drove straight into the Dunbar penalty area before getting his head up and then placing a beautiful right foot curler into the postage stamp top corner from around sixteen yards for a really classy strike. Six minutes from time, Dunbar brought off Devlin and gave a late run out to Jaciz Baldi and he was on just in time to see Currie send Maughan into the Dunbar penalty area once more and only an excellent block from keeper Laing with his right boot kept the score at three. Dunbar sub Baldi then had an unfortunate first involvement when he caught an accidental arm across the face but he was able to continue without treatment. From the drop ball, Tranent moved the ball wide right and Maughan found C. Donaldson who clipped a lovely cross onto the six yard line and Miller arrived to flash a glancing header just over the United crossbar. In the end, this was a comfortable victory for a home side who showed they are right up for the challenge as we enter the business end of the season and in Jamie Docherty, they had a player who was performing at the very top of his game. Dunbar put plenty effort in but on the night they were simply beaten by a better side, and Kevin Haynes side will now look to go again at home on Saturday in a vital home fixture against a team only three points behind them in the table as Blackburn United head to New Countess Park.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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