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Sport on Tuesday 12th July – Derek Hall’s report for Haddington Athletic v Dunbar Athletic

todayJuly 14, 2022


Haddington Athletic 6-0 Dunbar Athletic

The pre season trip round the grounds visited Millfield tonight as Haddington Athletic played their first pre season friendly against East Lothian amateurs Dunbar Athletic on a perfect night for football. Shaun Hill was first to make progress down the right flank for the home side after two minutes and his far post cross was well defended by Liam Dunn who turned the ball behind. Hill’s corner found the head of Seamus Russell but the effort was a couple of yards wide. Ricky Stewart tried to find Jack Boyd as the visitors pushed forward but the Haddington defence stood firm and at the next stoppage, Boyd was pulled in by referee Tommi Kerr who didn’t like a comment which had been made. Jake Johnstone did well down the right wing for Dunbar as he got past a couple of defenders before Nick Aitchison slid in with a solid challenge for Haddington to put the ball out. With fourteen minutes gone, Dunbar keeper Jordan Stevenson wanted a bit too much time on the ball as he cleared from feet and Dylan Tait blocked the clearance but the ball ran safe. However the opening goal arrived after 17 minutes as Russell met a Neave corner eight yards out and sent a thumping header high into the net to put the home side one up. Four minutes later, it was almost two as Ben Wardlaw got to the goal line and his cutback picked out Tait whose goal bound effort was brilliantly blocked by the foot of keeper Stevenson from close range before his defence hacked the ball clear. However Dunbar weren’t far away two minutes later when Boyd sent a lovely pass down the inside left channel and Ryan Young took the ball to the edge of the home penalty area before laying the ball back into the path of Boyd who had sprinted forward to get involved again but Ross King nipped the ball off his toes for a vital interception. Stevenson punched away a cross from the right flank and Russell looked for his second of the night with a 20 yard volley which went wide. Hill fired a 20 yarder over the ball after Dunbar gave away sloppy possession while trying to bring the ball out and then Gabri Auriemma had a couple of efforts blocked near the edge of the Dunbar box before Neave then played in Tait who brought out another good save from Dunbar keeper Stevenson. After 28 minutes, a Hill corner was headed over by Aitchison and perhaps not surprisingly, it was the home side who were dominating possession and chances. On the half hour, Hill dispossessed Sean Selkirk a bit too easily 30 yards out before stepping forward to smash a 25 yard right foot drive which Stevenson got right behind and then Russell fired in a 30 yard drive which probably scattered the wildlife in the trees behind the goals as Haddington continued to pepper the Dunbar goal without adding to their opener. Hill sent another couple of drives over the bar before Neave had a go from 25 yards which Stevenson in the Dunbar goal took comfortably on the first bounce. However with 38 minutes gone, Haddington finally broke through a second time as Cammy Watson sent a lovely ball down the right flank and Hill pulled the ball back to the near post where Tait arrived to apply the finish from around six yards range. Two minutes later, the home side had real breathing space as a shot from Auriemma brought out another good block from keeper Stevenson but Tait was again in the right place and knocked the loose ball home from about eight yards out. A good run by Auriemma brought Wardlaw into the play and he laid the ball off to Neave who saw his shot from the edge of the box blocked once more. A minute from the break, Boyd of Dunbar was cautioned by referee Kerr after blatantly tripping Aitchison as he tried to bring the ball away and as he had already had a warning, there were very few complaints. At the break, the visiting Dunbar side had certainly made Haddington work hard to earn their half time advantage but those two goals late on had the home side looking pretty comfortable.
There were a number of changes made by both sides at the break with the most noticeable being a change in goal at both ends as Haddington replaced Dale Cornet with Campbell McLennan whilst Dunbar brought on Aaron Imrie for Stevenson. Dale O’Hara sent Niall Kemp through within 30 seconds for a shot for the home side from 25 yards which was blocked. On 47 minutes, Kemp played a good ball to Robbie Peffers who placed a nice shot along the ground which only just cleared the base of the far post as Haddington started this half much as they ended the first. A minute later, Hill fired in a 28 yard free kick which Imrie got behind to make the save and the Dunbar defence completed the job. Six minutes into the second half it was 4-0 as Kemp got to the goal line and pulled the ball back and at the far post, Sam Tait arrived to tap home from about four yards. Worse was to come for Dunbar after 56 minutes as keeper Imrie made a mess of a clearance and presented the ball to Peffers and he wasted no time in rolling the ball into the path of Hill who calmly slotted home from ten yards. A minute later, Peffers cut in from the left flank and fired in a great shot from 17 yards and this time keeper Imrie redeemed himself with a brilliant save high up to his left which he not only saved but held on to. Johnstone showed good pace to get to the goal line for Dunbar, but Lucas McGarry was there to block the cross and turn it behind. Peffers had been lively since coming on for the home side and he had another decent effort blocked after 64 minutes before the visitors then had a real let off when Watson won the ball in midfield and fed Hill who took one touch before hammering a 27 yard drive off the face of the far post with keeper Imrie merely a spectator. Brodie MacKenzie fired wide for the home side with a quarter of an hour remaining and then keeper Imrie dived to make a brave save at the feet of S. Tait on the edge of the Dunbar penalty area. Hill fired another long range effort over for the home side and then Kemp did the same although his shot was deflected. Five minutes from time, Peffers played Kemp in one on one with keeper Imrie who stayed big and made an excellent block. However three minutes from time, the same combination had better luck as Peffers fed Kemp and this time he made no mistake as he struck a crisp left foot half volley into the corner for goal number six. A minute later, keeper Imrie made a very good save low down near the base of his left hand post from a 28 yard O’Hara free kick. Two minutes from time, Russell found Kemp and he played in McGarry who managed to round keeper Imrie but was driven wide in the process and could only turn his shot from a tight angle into the side netting. In the end, a friendly which will have done the job for both sides, Dunbar should get plenty benefit from a hard workout against a quality side, whilst for Haddington, a chance to start working on those rough edges with a view to being at their peak for a historic opening day EOS Premier fixture at home against Hill O Beath on the last Saturday in July.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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