Kelty Hearts 2-0 Dalbeattie Star
New Central Park
New signing Grant Anderson got his Kelty career off to a perfect start with a goal just five minutes into his debut in maroon to set his new side on the way against Dalbeattie. A second from Jamie Stevenson was enough to take the points at New Central Park.
As well as Anderson, there were two other changes to the Kelty side that started against Civil Service Strollers last week, Dougie Hill and Ross Philp returning to the starting eleven, with Paddy Boyle, Matty Flynn and Cammy Russell making way.
With Nathan Austin still missing through a calf injury, Kelty lined up with Darren Jamieson in goal, a back three of Hill, Thomas Scobbie and Scott Hooper. Captain Michael Tidser and Thomas Reilly were the midfield anchors, with Dylan Easton on the left, Stevenson on the right and Kallum Higginbotham in the centre, with Philp and Anderson up top.
Kelty settled quickly and managed to get Anderson a few early touches to settle him into the game. It took just 5 minutes for the big man to announce his arrival. Higginbotham flicked the ball on to him at the edge of the box, he brushed off Brotherstones's tackle and with the Star players screaming for off-side, calmly rolled the ball into the net. Dalbeattie were more than a little upset that the linesman kept his flag down, but Anderson didn’t hesitate and opened his account for his new side
It was a pretty comfortable first half for Kelty, without ever really getting into top gear. Easton, Higginbotham and Stevenson were taking it in turns to probe the Star defence, but although they were creaking at times Park, Dickinson and Black were managing to keep things tight at the back.
There was a bit of a flashpoint on 10 minutes, Dougie Hill and Steele squaring up to each other after a clash in the middle of the park and Hill picked up a yellow card for his trouble.
Stevenson doubled Kelty’s lead on 21 minutes, with a cute chip from the angle of the 18 yard box that looped over Malley’s head into the net.
Dalbeattie didn’t really have too much to offer as an attacking threat in the first half. The visitors managed to carve out the odd chance here and there, but nothing that presented too much trouble for the home defence. Their best opportunity of the half came from Brotherston's free-kick which DJ gathered easily.
Kelty thought they’d made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time when Malley failed to hold onto Tisdser’s long range drive, Higginbotham reacting quickest to slam the loose ball into the net, but this time the flag did go up and the goal didn’t stand. Higgy wasn’t a happy man and wasn’t slow to share his thoughts with the officials. He was probably glad the halftime whistle came before he could talk himself into any trouble.
Gaffer Barry Ferguson seemed to revert to a 4-5-1 formation after the break, Stevenson dropping deeper into the right back position in a more orthodox back 4. The second half was a bit of a low-key affair to be perfectly honest. Kelty always looked like they had things well under control and although they were still creating chances, they never really looked like extending the lead. Philp enjoyed an good second half, popping up all over the park and always pushing his side forward, and there were chances for Anderson, Higginbotham and Easton, but number three never really looked like coming.
Dalbeattie took a bit of a hiding the last time they were on this ground, losing 8-0 to Ferguson’s side at the start of last season. Priority number one seemed to be avoiding a similar scoreline and Richie Maxwell’s side had a much more solid look about them this time around. Chances were still few and far between for the visitors, the best from a McChesney header, but the home defence had things under control and Jamieson only a couple of straightforward saves to make all afternoon. Star concentrated on packing the defence and to their credit, a thumping never looked on the cards, so they can make the trip back to Islecroft with their heads high.
There’s a full midweek card in the Lowland League this week and both sides are back in action on Tuesday night. Kelty will have the chance to go back to to the top of the Lowland League table when Vale of Leithen are the visitors to New Central Park. Star will be on their travels again, with an away trip to face Caledonian Braves.
Man of the Match: There weren’t too many candidates on a quiet afternoon for Kelty. Thomas Reilly had another fine match in midfield, but was just edged out by Dougie Hill on his return to the starting eleven. Whether in a 3 or 4-man defence, Hill looked well in control all afternoon, winning headers in both boxes and putting out fires with ease.
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