A FIERY encounter at Saughton saw Dunalba run out 2-1 winners over Mayfield & Easthouses in the second round of the Miller Cup in a match where both teams finished with ten men.
The visitors were the more imposing early on with Martin Hughes and Mark Mowcrief immediately establishing themselves as a goal threat.
Likewise, Craig Bishop looked lively and seemed to be involved in most of Dunalba’s ventures into the opposition’s half, very nearly slipping in Cameron McKenzie for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only to be foiled by a well-timed interception by Sean Dillon.
The hosts really ought to have taken the lead on 18 minutes through Paul Martin, but with the goalkeeper already committed to his near post, Martin elected to try and burst the net and sent it wide.
The hosts perhaps had greater amounts of possession. However, Mayfield carved out the best chances in front of goal.
The referee didn’t help matters at times with his inconsistency, an offside decision given against Aden Donaldson resulting in the player receiving a warning for dissent.
Liam Hall was unlucky not to open the scoring for Mayfield after half an hour as he failed to get on the end of a well-weighted pass before Ross McDonald gathered the ball up.
Darren Gould was the recipient of the game’s first yellow card for a rash challenge as the hosts were looking to create a chance as half-time approached.
Cameron McKenzie immediately broke the deadlock after the restart, stabbing home from close range after a mishit clearance in the Mayfield box found its way to his feet where he gratefully finished.
Gould was lucky to escape a second yellow on 50 minutes for petulantly kicking the ball away after giving away a needless foul in the middle of the pitch. However, the visitors restored parity just ten minutes later as Douglas Morrison fired home after latching onto the rebound of a header which had, initially, been well kept out by Dunalba goalkeeper Ross McDonald.
Some robust challenges in midfield continued to draw the ire of both sides, closely reflected in the tempo of play as several passes went astray.
As the 70-minute mark passed, Mayfield looked to be in the ascendency as Martin Hughes struck the frame of the goal with a wicked strike from the edge of the area before the tension that had been brewing finally boiled over when Dunalba’s Gary Burton was involved in a clash with Dale Thornton that sparked a mass brawl between both sets of players and management. Both players were dismissed for their actions and sent to the changing rooms to cool off.
However, it was the hosts who readjusted better to going a man down as they grabbed what proved to be the winner with little more than ten minutes remaining.
A beautiful feint from McKenzie allowed David Gallagher to bypass the defence where he finished emphatically by rifling the ball off the post and into the net.
The closing stages saw Mayfield throw men forward in search of a second equaliser, but their efforts proved in vain before a second flashpoint was diffused following Darren Mitchell’s robust tackle on Kenneth McKenzie.
With their lead intact, the hosts cleverly ran the clock down to take their place in the third round where they’ll meet Edinburgh Harps.