Kelty Hearts 8-0 Edinburgh Utd
Football Nations Cup 2nd Round
New Central Park, Kelty
A Matty Gay hat-trick and a double from on-form striker Stuart Cargill helped Kelty through to next round of the Football Nations Cup, as the Fifers breezed past Edinburgh United at New Central Park.
With a punishing Saturday / Tuesday / Saturday schedule, Kelty gaffer Tam Courts freshend up the side, making four changes from last weekend's trip to Vale of Leithen. In came Garry Leighton, Brian Ritchie, Matty Gay and under-20's sensation Ross Mutch, while Elliot Ford, Conrad Courts, Ian Nimmo and Scott Dalziel all got a well earned rest.
Kelty were quickly into their stride and it wasn't long before they were testing Newman in the United goal. In the seventh minute, Stephen Husband found a gap in the United defence and managed to squeeze the ball through to Cargill. The linesman's flag saved the visitors with Cargill ready to pull the trigger, but the writing was already on the wall. Three minutes later, Husband was at it again, picking up the ball wide on the right, skinning his man and drilling a low ball across the front of goal for Mutch to slam home at the back post. The youngster hasn't looked out of place in the first team since making the step up, and his first goal for the club was a sign of how well he's slotted into the senior side.
Even this early in the game, Kelty looked in the mood, and with their noses in front, there was an ominous air about their play. Mutch was electric every time he got on the ball, and Gay too was looking lively. To their credit, United were scrapping hard to stay in touch, but weren't offering much up top. Their best effort came form a long range free-kick, but it was too wide & high to trouble Christie.
Despite all their possession, Kelty were toiling to find number two, and with half-time approaching, United would have been pleased to still be in the game. But just as it looked like they would survive until the interval, the wheels came off as Kelty found another gear. In the 40th minute, Newman spilled a cross under pressure from MacKenzie. The ball broke loose in the box and Cargill was on it in a flash to fire home number two. It was the striker's 150th goal for the club, and the perfect illustration of the instincts that made him the East of Scotland League's top scorer last season.
Seconds later, Gay came close to grabbing number three, but it only delayed the inevitable. Mutch cut in from the left and setup Cargill, who tapped home his second from point blank range at the front post.
Gay got in on the act, pouncing on the loose ball to score number four, and Ritchie added a fifth on the stroke if half-time, slipping it past the keeper after a powerful run. It was a devastating five minute spell of football from Kelty and the whistle couldn't come quick enough for the shell-shocked United.
With the game beyond the visitors, Courts withdrew Errol Douglas at the break, reshuffling his back four and introducing another teenager, Liam Woods, on the right. With the two youngsters on the wings, Kelty now had plenty of pace down the flanks. Mutch was tearing United to shreds and he was coming in for some strong treatment from the visiting defence, but incredibly the ref kept his card in his pocket. Woods was up to speed quickly, and soon setup Matty Gay for his second of the game. Gay hasn't played as much football as he would hoped since arriving in the summer, but got his hat-trick from the spot, and with his man of the match performance, the striker must have staked a claim for a place in the starting lineup.
Another two new arrivals who haven't had as much game time as they would have liked, Chris Gay and Willis Hare, were introduced midway through the half, and although neither got on the scoresheet, both played well and Hare in particular looked really lively.
Centre half, Murray Carstairs rounded off the scoring as the hosts cruised towards the finishing line. In truth, the second half was nothing more than a formality, and Kelty can be excused for taking their foot off the gas slightly. Safely through to the next round, Kelty can now look forward to getting back to league business this weekend.
With some strong performances all round, Courts now has plenty to think about as he prepares for the visit of East Stirlingshire, in what is sure to be one of the biggest games of the season at New Central Park. The Fifers go into the game in good form: twelve goals and two clean sheets in their last two matches, but Shire were one of the pre-season favourites, and Kelty will need to be at their best to keep the run going. The match is on Saturday 08 September with a 3pm kick-off.
Full match photo gallery HERE