DUNBAR United manager Geoff Jones admitted that his side’s Fife and Lothians Cup exit was “a sore one to take.”

The Seasiders lost out by the odd goal in nine to East Superleague outfit Hill of Beath Hawthorn on Saturday (see match report left) and Jones was frustrated with the result.

Dunbar let a 4-3 lead slip in the final quarter of the match, with their higher-league opponents sealing victory in the 93rd minute when Lee Reid fired home.

The New Countess Park faithful had seen Dean Ballantyne fire home with the scores level but his effort was chalked off, the Dunbar man ruled offside.

Jones told Courier Sport that “rotten luck” and “individual errors” had cost his side a place in the competition’s third round.

He said: “It was a sore one to take for us losing a goal with literally the last kick of the game but that’s what happens when you switch off against good players.

“We were the better team for all but a 15-20-minute spell, which was pleasing against a mid-table Superleague team.

“However, the game went like so many others this season in that a bit of rotten luck – with a perfectly good goal given offside – coupled with individual errors at key moments cost us dearly.”

The ex-Dunbar striker, who hung up his boots to take on the manager’s role three years ago, was encouraged by his side’s performance but was keen for his young side to learn from their mistakes.

“It’s a steep learning curve for our young defenders and goalkeeper at the minute but they need to start learning, and quickly,” he said.

“The way the Hill of Beath bench celebrated both their equalising (at 4-4) and then their winning goal told me that they knew they’d got out of jail on Saturday.

“We should take great confidence from the performance but the reality is we conceded five goals and lost the game, so everything else is a bit of a sob story again.”

The 40-year-old was keen to look ahead to Saturday’s league encounter with Thornton Hibs.

While Jones said the match was not “must-win”, he added: “we certainly need to start picking up points as the league is so tight and a couple of defeats can see you in trouble, the same as a couple of wins propels you up the table.

“We played Thornton last year in the Scottish Junior Cup and needed a replay and penalties to go through, so clearly we are closely matched.

“With the player turnover we had in the summer, which was unplanned and unexpected from my perspective, we are a bit like a new team and we need to be patient as the players get used to each other.”

And the Dunbar boss maintained that his side’s focus for the season ahead was to retain their place in the East Premier League, after winning promotion as the South Division champions in May.

Jones said retaining their status in the second tier would be “good progress”.