Kelty Hearts got their Super League East challenge back on track with fine 2-0 win over mid-table Broxburn Athletic at New Central Park. The runaway leaders put their recent bad run behind them, and picked up another 3 valuable points to tiptoe ever closer to the title.
Player manager Tam Courts fielded an unfamiliar looking Kelty side with Ritchie, Thomson and Cargill all missing from a line-up that also saw centre half Sean O'Neil starting as striker.
The home side started brightly, with makeshift target man O'Neil and his striking partner Sheerin giving the visiting defence plenty to think about. On the half-hour mark, the visitors got a simple free kick horribly wrong, and O'Neil reacted quickest to pick-up the loose ball. As he made for goal, Broxburn keeper Wallace raced from his line, and brought the big man down on the edge of the box. The referee awarded a free-kick and showed the keeper a red-card.
Despite being a man down, the Broxburn back line was standing firm, and looked like holding onto their clean sheet until halftime. However 10 minutes before the whistle, Kelty finally broke the deadlock. McCabe and Leighton combined well on the right, before finding Sheerin on the penalty spot. The Hearts striker held off his marker, and slid a cool finish past substitute keeper Donaghue to give his side a narrow half time lead.
After half-time, Kelty began to dominate possession, but were failing to make the extra man count. Far from being hemmed in, Broxburn were breaking with purpose, and gave the home fans a few scares. It was only some poor finishing and a couple of decent saves from Marley in the Kelty goal that allowed them to keep their slim lead. Husband finally made the points safe 15 minutes from time, when he got on the end of another decent Leighton cross and fired home with a fine finish from 12 yards out.
The home side saw out the rest of the game comfortably, and had a few half-chances to extend their lead further. There was controversy in the dying minutes when substitute Gribben saw yellow for going through the back of Kelty sub Moore. He obviously pled he case too vigorously for the ref's liking and quickly got a second yellow for his trouble, leaving his side to see out the last few minutes with 9 men.
So, not exactly a vintage performance from the league leaders, but another 3 points on the board will please Courts. Next up for Kelty is a Fife double header, with a visit from near neighbours Hill of Beath in the East of Scotland Cup, before a trip to Dundonald on SuperLeague business.