St Andrews Utd 1-1 Dunbar

Ryan McInnes  is in the thick of the action for Saints in their hard fought game with Dunbar. Picture by Blair Smith.
Ryan McInnes is in the thick of the action for Saints in their hard fought game with Dunbar. Picture by Blair Smith.

The St Andrews United supporters who gained free entry into Barnetts Park for the club’s first pre-season fixture of 2019 enjoyed watching a lively contest against Dunbar United on a warm afternoon.

Both teams played attractive football throughout the afternoon but the visitors dominated possession during the opening stages without testing Matt Curtis in the Saints’ goal.

United’s first shot on target did not come until the 25th minute when Ryan McInnes saw a good effort saved then a bizarre incident occurred on the half-hour mark when Ollie Fleming went down for treatment.

Players from both sides went for a water break at the side of the pitch but Fleming did not require assistance from the physio.

The referee then allowed McInnes and Charlie King to restart the game with several players still off the park and it took a bad challenge on the latter to again stop proceedings.

Once the referee restored order it wasn’t long before debutante Nathan Doig sent a terrific cross in the direction of McInnes and the small midfielder looped a wonderful header over Daniel Laing to post the opening goal.

St Andrews United thus led 1-0 at the interval and Dylan Honeyman subsequently wasted a couple of glorious chances to add another at the start of the second period.

Daryl Falconer also shot straight at Laing when he found himself one-on-one with the Dunbar goalie and the visitors made the most of those let-offs to equalise moments later.

The impressive Doig was unlucky to concede a free kick on the edge of his own box in the 56th minute but Dunbar’s winger did not waste any time in crossing thereafter.

Hesitation between the Saints’ defenders and goalkeeper then gave Michael Hunter the chance to poke the ball past Curtis from close-range to make the score 1-1.

St Andrews United made four changes during the last hour an hour of the match, three of whom were young locals, but neither team looked like scoring a winning goal.

The final incident of note saw trialist Jake Grady dislocate his shoulder following another crude tackle but the competitive nature of the contest made for entertaining viewing.

Saints: Trialist, Fital, Trialist, O.Fleming, Doig, McInnes (Trialist), Honeyman (S Cunningham), King (Sweeney), Falconer (Stark), Penman and Blaney.

Assistant manager Charlie King took charge of St Andrews United’s friendly draw with Dunbar United on Saturday because manager Andy Brown was on holiday.

The former Tayport manager was more than happy with his players’ fitness levels and display.

King was especially delighted with the performances of young full backs Josh Fital and trialist Craig Fleming, although he was also pleased with the shape of the team.

The assistant manager described having worked on a particular shape in training that should bring out the best in the players.

King said: “Last season we tried different shapes and lacked a wee bit of consistency as a result.

“We have therefore devised a couple of plans where the boys should feel more comfortable as well as finding the most suitable way to get the best out of them.”

Drew Fleming, Paul Quinn and Nick Rendall missed the Dunbar United game due to injury, whilst Michael Fleming and Ross Cunningham were on holiday so the squad to face Broughty was due to be unchanged.