Kelty Hearts - 4
Preston Athletic - 0 East of Scotland League
New Central Park, Kelty.
Kelty celebrated their first home league game in 10 weeks with a comfortable win against Preston Athletic. After a light snowfall on Friday, the game looked in some doubt, but the 4G pitch passed an early morning inspection and the game was able to go ahead.
The Fifers won this game in a devastating 20 minute spell either side of half-time that Athletic had no answer for. The visitors had played host to Kelty just 2 weeks ago and been on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline, so were clearly looking to keep things tight from the start. They did well to keep Kelty at bay in the opening minutes, but didn't really offer too much as an attacking force.
Kelty struggled to get their passing game going as they battled for control of midfield, and were restricted to mostly long range efforts that didn't trouble Pennycuick in the Preston goal. As the half wore on, Kelty began to bring their wingers into the game and the chances started to come. Scott Dalziel was through one-on-one with the keeper, but was flagged for off-side.
Steven Husband had a go from distance that just went over the bar, then Scott-Talyor Mackenzie had two goes with the same outcome. Conrad Courts penetrating runs down the left and Elliot Ford's on the right were causing the defence some nervous moments and it looked like it was only a matter of time.
The Athletic defence held firm until 3 minutes before the break. A fine team goal saw Ian Nimmo and Ford combine well on the right, the cross beat the keeper, and top-scorer Dalziel was waiting at the back post to knock the ball home from close range.
The defence didn't learn their lesson though, and Stuart Cargill grabbed a second on the stroke of half-time with a carbon copy goal to make it 2-nil at the break.
Kelty started the second half as strongly they had finished the first and within 10 minutes of the re-start they had a third, and again it came from the right. Ford beat his man and slipped it inside for Ross Philp to slam home.
The Kelty midfield had the game well under control by now, and were starting to go through the gears. Nimmo, Husband and Mackenzie all had a go, before Courts made to the bye-line and set up Cargill, who took a touch and fired in from the edge of the box to make it 4-0.
That killed off Preston, and Kelty were able to ease off a little and control things from midfield. Mackenzie thought have had scored number five, but it was chalked off for off-side. Cargill and Dalziel were withdrawn, replaced by Jordan Sheerin and Errol Douglas, but the game was won the scoring was done for the day.
Not a vintage performance from the Fifers, but on a bitterly cold day, it was an important win against the side third in the table. A win that keeps their 100% record in tact and maintains thier five point cushion at the top of the table.
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