Kelty Hearts - 12
Peebles Rovers - 1
East of Scotland League
New Central Park, Kelty
Kelty turned in another devastating performance at New Central Park, blowing away Peebles Rovers and racking up a double figure score for the fourth time this season.
While many of the games around Fife were off due to frozen pitches, New Central Park's 4G pitch was immaculate in the February sunshine, freshly brushed thanks to their new apprentice groundsman. And if the park was looking smart, the football was even smarter.
Manager Thomas Courts had shuffled the pack again, switching Scott-Taylor MacKenzie to left-back and Conrad Courts into midfield. The ever versatile Ross Philp was in at right-back, with Murray Carstairs and Garry Leighton in the centre of defence in front of keeper Scott Christie. Captain Shaun Greig was back in at the heart of the midfield with Stephen Husband on his right, Neil McCabe on his left and up top Scott Dalziel was back in the starting line-up alongside Stuart Cargill.
When Peebles were the hosts to Kelty back in October, they were on the end of a seven goal hammering and things started to go wrong for them again as early as the second minute, with a back-pass looping over keeper McGinley into the net. This Kelty side have dismantled most opponents this season, and giving them a goal of a start while the turnstiles are still clicking is nothing short of suicide.
Within five minutes, Husband had doubled the lead with another clinical strike from distance - a carbon copy of last week's goal against Coldstream - which once again caught out everybody, including our cameraman. It was another fine strike from the classy midfielder, who was once again running the shown for the home side.
2-nil up in less than ten minutes, and the signs were already there for Rovers. They did give themselves a faint glimmer of hope, when Robbie Renwick beat Courts and slid a neat finish into the bottom corner, leaving Christie to pick the ball out of his net for only the fourth time this year.
Kelty soon restored the two goal cushion. Carstairs met Husband's deep corner at the back post, and headed it back into the danger area, where Leighton was waiting to nod it into the net. There's been a fair bit of debate in the Kelty dressing room this week over one of the goals from last week's game - both Husband and Leighton claiming credit - but there was no mistake about this one.
The hosts added another three goals before half-time, the first a special strike from MacKenzie, who jinked past his marker and slammed a left-footer into the top corner. Then Dalziel got his first of the game, stooping low to head home under pressure from the keeper to make it five. Rovers defence shot themselves in the foot again, leaving Dalziel unmarked at the back post to head home again, making the score 6-1 at the break.
Kelty were well in control of this game, but the visitors were not doing themselves any favours, the midfield failing to stop the service and the defence giving their keeper nothing in the way of protection. Dalziel burst into the box and was surrounded by three markers, but still managed to find the net with a left-footed shot for his hat-trick.
With the game already secure, Kelty afforded themselves the luxury of substituting keeper Christie, to hand a first team debut to youngster Michael Gibb. With his job done, Dalziel also got and early finish, replaced by Brian Ritchie.
Cargill was next on the scoresheet, finishing from a tight angle for his first of the afternoon, before two powerful headers from substitute Ritchie took the score into double figures. The Rovers defence were becoming more ragged, and starting to give away a lot of silly fouls, which the were eventually punished for when Cargill got his second of the match from the penalty spot.
Cargill could have completed a second half hat-trick seconds later, bursting clear of the defence, but McGinley did well to narrow the angle, and the striker shot into the side netting. It was only a temporary reprieve though, the wee man out jumping a static defence to head home McCabe's cross for his third and Kelty's twelfth and final goal of the day.
It had been a tough afternoon for Peebles, and especially for keeper McGinley, who bizarrely enough did a decent job, making some fine saves without which, who knows what the score could have been. Rovers just could not live with Kelty's movement, the slick passing and clinical finishing from the league leaders completely overwhelming the visitors.
Kelty will definitely have tougher afternoons in front of them, but for now they remain unbeaten in the league all season long and sit top of the league with a ten point cushion and a quite incredible goal difference of +113. Next up is a Fife derby, with trip the short Burntisland in the cup.
See the whole photo gallery HERE