Kelty Hearts 11-0 Vale of Leithen
New Central Park
Rampant Kelty destroyed a sorry looking Vale of Leithen side as Barry Ferguson’s men ran riot at New Central Park. Once again, Nathan Austin was tormentor in chief, with a double in each half to take his tally to an astonishing 37 for the season so far. Two from Cameron Russell and a goal each from Arnauld Bembo, Ross Philp, Dylan Easton and Stephen Husband added to Scott Linton’s penalty to complete Lowland League high score record.
Vale propped up the league table at the start of the day and any hopes they had of causing an upset against the leaders were all but wiped out before they’d even broken a sweat, Austin bagging his first of they day with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
Kelty were clearly in the mood, Russell adding another two in quick succession - a deflected shot from the edge of the box and a 25 yard goal of the season effort into the top corner - to give the hosts a 3-nil lead with just 10 minutes gone. Vale looked shell shocked, they had barely drawn breath and were already staring down the barrel of a real doing.
Eight minutes later, Easton danced his way into the box and was pulled down, Linton converting from the penalty spot for his fifth goal in five matches, to give Kelty a 4-0 lead. Vale managed a couple of minutes of possession to ease the pressure a little, but it didn’t last long. Bembo scored number five, his first for the club, with a daisy cutter from 20 yards which Gilpin could only watch on its way into the bottom corner.
It was a young looking Vale defence and they were struggling to deal with Kelty’s attacking options. The wind was picking up and making life difficult for the visitors, but the Fifers were picking them off from all over the park and the fans were already consulting Google for record score lines.
Ross Philp was popping up all over the place and set up Austin for his second of the day, skinning his man down the right wing and bursting into the box before clipping a peach of a cross onto Fash’s head. Philp then got on the scoresheet himself just before half-time, Russell’s corner falling to him on the edge of the D and prodding home through a ruck of bodies to make it 7-nil at the break.
Kelty were playing into the wind in the second half and it took them a little while to get used to the stiff breeze. Vale were enjoying the advantage now, managing a decent spell of possession and creating a couple of half chances.
Ferguson made a double substitution on the hour mark, Linton and Bembo making way for McKirdy and new signing Chris Humphrey. It took just sixty seconds for Humphrey to have an impact, winning possession down the right, beating his man for pace and swinging in a cross for Austin to slide onto and round off his hat-trick.
It might be the season of goodwill, but Kelty were in no mood to give anything away. Easton was next to get in on the action, finishing off a sweet team move for number 9 on 66 minutes. Reilly was withdrawn to be replaced by fit again Stephen Husband on 70 minutes, before the Humphrey / Austin combination clicked again, Fash grabbing his fourth of the day to take Kelty into double figures.
The Kelty boys were heading to their squad Christmas bash immediately after the game and were obviously looking to get the party started early with a record Lowland League winning margin. Vale were getting plenty of bodies behind the ball, packing the box and trying to deny Kelty space. They managed a couple of chances of their own to relieve a bit of the pressure, but never really looked like troubling MacKenzie in the Kelty goal.
Any time Kelty made it into the Vale box, they were having to try and pick their way through a packed defence. It was substitute Husband that eventually grabbed goal number 11, finishing into the top corner to give the Fifers the Lowland League’s biggest ever winning margin.
Kelty have one more fixture before Santa gets to work, with a long trip down to Gretna next Saturday, before back to back home games against Stirling Uni and East Stirlingshire either side of the New Year. Before that though, the squad can head off to their Christmas party with a record score and a 2 point lead at the top of the table under their belts.
Fans Man of the Match: It was a bit of a tough call, because in reality every one of the Kelty front men had a bit of a field day against an youthful defence. Philp, Austin and Russell could all have made a case, but in the end the fans gave it to Dylan Easton. He was always dangerous on the ball, turning the defence inside out time and time again.
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