Cumbernauld Colts 3-2 Kelty Hearts
Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
Kelty's rollercoaster start to the season continued, going down to a last minute winner in a gripping encounter at Broadwood Stadium. The two sides served up a Friday night treat, but it was the hosts who grabbed the points thanks to a late goal from Coleman to break Kelty hearts at the end of a hectic first week in the Lowland League.
Going into their third game in six days there were a few knocks & bumps around the squad, but gaffer Courts made just one change to the side that won convincingy at Whitehill on Tuesday: Ian Nimmo back in the starting line-up, with Scott Dalziel dropping to the bench.
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Kelty came out of the blocks quickly as always, with Matty Gay having an early chance. But the hosts were soon into their stride and it wasn't long before they were testing Christie in the Kelty goal. For a few moments Christie looked like he was struggling and substitute keeper Michael Gibb started to get warmed up, but Inchy quickly signalled he was fine and the panic was over.
Colts had the visitors pinned back in their own half early in the game, and the pressure paid off in the tenth minute. Kirwan charged forward unchallenged on the right, and when he squared it, Team was there to stroke the ball low past Christie to give a deserved Cumbernauld lead.
Kelty responded with three corners in quick succession, but the Colts defence dealt well with the threat. The visitors were nearly caught again with a quick break and Christie had to be on his toes to keep it at 1-nil. Cumbernauld were pressing quickly, denying Kelty time on the ball and pilling the pressure on the defence. Douglas and Carstairs were coping well at the heart of defence, but Kelty were not looking comfortable and Colts carried a threat every time they ventured forward.
Ritchie & Gay were working hard up top, but weren't getting the supply and chances were scarce. A free-kick from wide on the right gave Kelty their first real chance of the half and gave them some momentum. Nimmo pulled the ball down in the box and cut back for Ritchie, but he couldn't find the target. With the clock ticking round towards half-time, Kelty won another corner on the left, which Husband delivered onto the head of Chalmers to nod home his first goal for his new club.
1-1 at half-time flattered Kelty slightly, but they came back out from the interval with renewed confidence and looked more positive in the opening seconds. They were delivered a major blow five minutes in however, when Ross Philp went down in agony. The game was held up for a couple of minutes before he was carried off with what seemed to be a bad knee injury. Philp provides the energy that drives the maroon machine, and everyone at the club will be hoping he isn't missing from the side for too long.
Colts were still looking dangerous, and came close to restoring their lead ten minutes after the break, Coleman somehow missing the target from close range. It was a real let-off for Kelty, but they responded quickly, Nimmo finding space in the midfield before slamming his shot in off the far post to give Kelty the lead.
Matty Gay made way for Stuart Cargill on the hour, and with Dalziel on for Philp, the attack had a more familiar look and Kelty began to create few more openings. Cargill came close with an acrobatic effort and the physicality of Dalziel gave Colts plenty to think about. Kelty were looking more and more comfortable, but Colts were not going away and got themselves back on level terms 10 minutes from time. Team muscled Douglas off the ball and centred for O'Neil who slipped his shot beyond Christie to set up a grandstand finish.
Goalscorer Nimmo was taken off, and Willis Hare introduced. The Kelty fans haven't seen too much of the summer signing yet, but he instantly gave the visitors a lift as they searched for the winner. Both sides were going for it and both hit the woodwork in the closing minutes. Christie tipped a Brown shot onto the post at one end, while Dalziel slammed a header off the cross-bar at the other. But it was to be Colts who had the final say, Coleman rising highest to nod past Christie in the dying seconds to grab all three points for the home side.
It was a thoroughly watchable game and a great advert for this level of football. Played in a great spirit, with no bookings, by two teams with plenty of genuine quality. So a mixed introduction to the Lowland League for the newly promoted side with a draw, a win and now a defeat in a busy opening week. Four point out of a possible nine isn't a bad start to life at this level, and underlines the quality of opposition Kelty will face this season.
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