United kicked-off their new season with an opening day derby against Maud in the Grill League Cup.
United’s new management duo were at 50% as manager Gary Sim was on holiday with assistant manager Alyn Falconer taking over the reins.
United have maintained much the same squad that was relegated last season, though Neil Hay and Davey Ross are currently with Highland League neighbours Fraserburgh FC. United have bolstered their squad by signed Liam Rollo and Scott Falconer over the close season.
Both new signings began the game, with Buchan moving to left back while Lawrence moved to right midfield and Craig Ritchie swapped sides to left midfield to accommodate them.
Despite losing the game, United out-worked and out-muscled their Superleague opponents and can feel aggrieved that they did not take something from the game.
United slowly began to get in gear and pressed the action without creating much. Maud were also struggling to get any fluency going and the game devolved into a midfield tussle for much of the opening 20 minutes.
On 27 minutes Maud created a good chance, another long ball from right back Davidson found Marchi at the edge of the United box and his flick saw Middleton burst into the box but drag his shot wide from 15 yards.
It was Maud that took the lead against the run of play. Right on half time a slack pass out of defence was pounced on by Willox. As he raced in on Dunbar United’s Reid got back to make a challenge under which Willox fell. Although contact looked minimal referee Lawson pointed to the spot.
Marchi stepped up to scuff his penalty down the middle but beyond Dunbar who had dived right. Maud came out for the second half determined to wrap up the game and almost did within seconds.
A short corner on the right saw Rae deliver a wicked cross to the back post where Simpson found himself two yards out with goal gaping but the big centre half incredibly missed his kick and the chance was gone. United were dealt a blow on 62 minutes when debutant Rollo came off with a knock being replaced by A. Ritchie.
Broch continued to press and after a nice move involving C. Ritchie and McLeman the latter released Bisset into the box but his shot was palmed away and just beyond the reach of the incoming Lawrence.
Marchi saw yellow for taking a dive in the box before United’s Lawrence also saw yellow for a robust challenge on Simpson.
United fashioned one last chance on 87 minutes, Dunbar’s long punt was missed by the Maud defence and Bisset raced in to volley past Barbour but the ball also whistled just over the bar.
United’s Alyn Falconer was positive in defeat, “I was happy with the performance if not the result. The lads went out and gave a very good account of themselves and we should have got something out of the game. The midfield were excellent, worked their socks off and we have something to build on here.”
Dunbar, Reid, Buchan,
C. Ritchie, Innes, S. Noble, Lawrence, McLeman, Rollo, Bisset, Falconer. Subs: Taylor, R. Noble, A. Ritchie, Forbes, Davidson, Ross