Kelty Edge Out Bo'ness To Grab A Valuable Win
Kelty Hearts 2 Bo'ness Utd 1
Kelty kept their title challenge on track with a narrow home win against Bo'ness at New Central Park. The finishing line is in sight for Kelty, with only three Superleague games left for the Fifers. And with reigning champions Bonnyrigg Rose beginning to clear their fixture backlog, the title race looks like going right to the wire.
Both sides got out of the blocks quickly, but it was Bo'ness who took the lead in only the fourth minute. Kelty keeper Marley was a bit too casual with Husband's back-pass, trying to control it with a header, but could only nod it into the path of United striker Fraser Keast, who was on it in flash to tap into the empty net.
The setback had clearly rocked the home side, and they nearly conceded again when Keast teed up MacLennan on the edge of the box, but he could only fire he effort over the bar.
But Kelty soon got over the early shock, and began to carve out a few chances of their own. Brian Ritchie was looking dangerous, but the linesman's flag stopped him in his tracks twice. On 20 minutes, Ritchie beat the off-side trap and got on the end Carstairs' cross but his diving header went just wide.
But the home side were back level on the half hour. O'Neil send a long back forward towards Cargill, who controlled it with his first touch, before slotting home a neat right footed finish. It was the wee striker's 100th goal for Kelty, and it brought his side right back into the title race.
It was turning into cracking game, with skill and grit in equal measure. Kelty stand-in skipper Craig Thomson was on the receiving end of a few strong challenges, and Carstairs was lucky to escape with just a booking when he needlessly got involved and pushed an opponent.
McCabe had a great chance to put the home side ahead, but somehow scooped his shot over the bar for the six-yard box, and the sides stayed level at the interval.
Cargill could have got his 101st goal in the opening minutes of the second half, but the linesman pulled it back for Ritchie, even though he wasn't interfering with play. It was Ritchie who got the winner on the hour with a fine header at the back post from Conrad Courts' inviting looking cross. In a day of milestones, it was Ritchie's 150th appearance for Kelty, and he marked it with an absolutely crucial goal at a vital time.
Both sides had chances as the game drew to a close, and United pushed the home defence right to the whistle, but Kelty held on for a valuable 3 points. The title is now a two horse race between Kelty and Bonnyrigg Rose, with Rose having to play three times a week to clear their games in hand.
Next up for Kelty is a break from league business, with a trip to Tranent for their Fife & Lothians Cup quarter final.