Early defensive lapses cost Dunedin a prety penny

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Dunedin coach Craig Purves pointed to his side’s early defensive errors as they crashed out of the East Of Scotland Cup second round, losing 5-3 to Pennies AFC at the Royal High School.

“We started very poorly. We never had training during the week and I think that’s had an impact on the start of our game,” the 33-year-old said.

“We can’t expect to lose four goals in the opening 20 minutes and go on and win the game”.

After conceding four goals early on, the hosts showed fight to score three and put themselves on the brink of a remarkable comeback.

A fourth goal was to prove elusive despite Dunedin’s best efforts, however, and Pennies grabbed a fifth to rub salt in the wounds of the Edinburgh side.

The visitors piled on the pressure early on and took the lead in the fifth minute. A corner was played to the edge of the area and Stephen Merrilees drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

Sean Witt doubled their lead five minutes later when he smashed the ball in off the bar.

Dunedin conceded a third when Steven Neil cut into the box and rifled a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the goal.

Pennies were in unstoppable form and Merrilees grabbed the Stirling side’s fourth on the 20-minute mark with a chip over Darren Berwick in the Dunedin goal from 22 yards.

It had taken the home side half an hour to settle but they established a foothold just before the break when Lyall Menzies got ahead of his man at the near post to tap in.

Dunedin came out flying after the break and immediately pulled another goal back when Chalmers lobbed Garry Mackay in the visitors’ goal from 20 yards.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure and almost pulled another goal back through Jay Rodgers who rode the defender’s challenge and fired into the side netting.

However, in the 75th minute they made it 3-4. Chalmers made space with a bombing run forward before feeding it to Rodgers on the edge of the area.

After taking one touch he placed the ball into the bottom corner with a deft finish.

Menzies must have then thought he had completed the turnaround for Dunedin when, minutes later, he received a lofted ball in the box. From 12 yards out, however, he was unable to direct his half-volley on target and it sailed over the bar.

It was to be a crucial miss. With ten minutes to go and with Dunedin players stranded up field, Pennies grabbed their fifth.

On the counter they broke forward and Dale Dewar, sent through on goal, lobbed the ball over Berwick to find the net.

It was a valiant effort by the Edinburgh side to pull three goals back but they just weren’t able to grab another late on to force extra time.

Dunedin Athletic: Arthur Martin, Chris Taylor, Colin Chalmers, Darren Berwick, Dean Lynch, Graham Donnachie, Gregor Rodger, Jay Rodgers, Lyall Menzies, Martin Finn, Nicky Thompson, Paul Munro, Scott Downie, Stewart Hurd, Terry Philbin.

Pennies AFC: Garry Mackay, Iain Carson, Steven Neil, Ryan McDowall, Alan Buchanan, Sean Witt, Christopher Walls, Gordon Daye, Ian McIntosh, Stephen Merrilees, Dale Dewar, Stephen Meek, Edward Johnstone