Kelty Triumph In Freezing Fife Friendly
Kelty Hearts 3-2 Dundonald Bluebell
New Central Park, Kelty
Kelty had to come from behind and needed a late Scott Dalziell strike to win this hastily arranged friendly. With the scheduled fixtures for both side postponed due to the weather, Dundonald made the short trip along the A920 for run out on the New Central Park astroturf, in what turned out to be a classic game-of-two-halves.
There's a good relationship between these local rivals, which can be seen in the number of players that have moved back & forward of late. Defender Sean O'Neil is back at Kelty after a short spell at Moorside Park, while the 'Bell kicked-off with two ex-Kelty players - Archie Campbell and Chris Gay - in the starting lineup. Meanwhile Kelty starlet Ross Mutch, who is currently on loan at Dundonald, lined up for his parent club for the day.
'Bell started quickly, with Gay bossing the midfield in the early exchanges. Gay had been a little bit unlucky in his short spell at Kelty and didn't really get as much game time as he would have liked. He was clearly in the mood to show his former employers what they were missing.
Kelty had the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot after Jamie Devlin was pushed in the back while going for a Willis Hare cross. Ian Nimmo's spot-kick was well enough struck, but James Lennox dived to this left to pull out a fantastic save.
As is often the case, it was the ex-Kelty players who did the damage for Dundonald in the first half. After a swift move down the left wing, Ness fired in a tempting cross and Campbell got enough of a touch on it to beat Scott Christie and give the visitors the lead.
It got worse for Kelty 10 minutes later, and again it was the old-boys network that caused the trouble - Gay's surging run through the midfield was laid off to Campbell, who twisted & turned before setting up Callum Smith to double the lead.
Kelty gaffer Barry Ferguson made a host of changes at the interval, and the hosts had a much different look to them in the second half. Husband, Chalmers, Dalziell & MacKenzie all coming into the game, but it was youngster Ross Mutch that really made the difference for the home side. His pace down the Kelty right caused all sorts of bother for the visitors as he set up Devlin to open his Kelty account. Five minutes later, Mutch did the damage himself with a precision finish for the equaliser. He has only just started his loan spell and if he was using this opportunity to impress Ferguson, it was definitely mission accomplished.
Given the freezing wind and rain, both sides could have been forgiven for settling for a draw. Scott Dalziell had other ideas though, getting on the end of a Husband through-ball and sliding it past Lennox into the corner of the net to snatch a late winner. It was a little bit harsh on Bluebell, who had been easily the better side in the first half.
Kelty will have been glad to get back to winning ways after their first home defeat of the season last week to BSC, and Ferguson will be pleased at the spirit his side showed to get back from 2-nil down. But with a visit from Raith Rovers coming in mid-week in the Fife Cup, Kelty will need to tighten up at the back, and re-discover their clinical touch in front of goal.
Full match gallery HERE