Struggling Jeanfield Swifts shrugged off their relegation worries to hand Kelty their first league defeat of the season and New Central Park. 45 points separated the two teams before kick-off, and the Fifers were keen to get back to winning ways following their Scottish Cup exit 7 days ago. The runaway leaders were without Brian Ritchie (suspension) and Sean O'Neil (virus), but would have still fancied their chances against a side who've only had 1 away win all season long.
The home side started brightly enough with McCabe crashing a header off the crossbar and Thomson going close with the rebound. It was the visitors however who opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Husband was robbed in midfield and the Swifts broke quickly on the left. The ball was cut back but the forward shot wide of the open goal, only for the referee to pull play back and award a penalty for a tug on the edge of the box. To make matters worse, Carstairs was judged to be last man, and shown a straight red. A harsh decision maybe, but the Swifts didn't object and Holt scored a fine spot kick low to the keepers left.
With a man short, the host's defence looked vulnerable and Swifts gave them a mountain to climb 6 minutes later. Keeper Allison failed to deal with a low angled shot, and the ball broke to Dewar in the 6 yard box, who had time to take a touch before rolling it into the empty net.
Kelty started to get their passing game going, but with a two goal cushion to defend, the Perth side got plenty of men behind the ball and were tough to break down. Conrad Courts was trying hard to lift his side, was causing plenty of problems down the left side, but the final ball always eluded the home side.
Hearts introduced Leighton in the centre of defence at half-time and began to look more solid but, with the extra man advantage, Swifts always looked threatening on the break. Kelty were pressing hard, but clear cut chances were few & far between. Cargill had a great opportunity when he beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one, but the keeper parried the shot wide and the angle was just too tight for the second effort. The newly formed Cargill / Sheerin partnership hasn't quite clicked yet, and it was a frustrating afternoon for both frontmen.
Gaffer Tam Courts brought on Campbell and Moore to try and give is side more options up front, but it was Thomson who gave them a lifeline 5 minutes from time. After some neat passing on the edge of the box, Thomson cut in from the left and curled his shot into the top corner. Hearts threw everything at Swifts in the dying seconds, but the visitors held on for a valuable 3 points.
So two defeats in a week for the Hearts, who now have a Fife derby for their next fixture. Although they still enjoy a comfortable lead at the top of the Superleague, Courts will want to get back on track quickly for the short trip to Cardenden to face Dundonald Bluebell next Saturday.