Kelty Hearts 1 - 1 Hill of Beath Hawthorn (Kelty win 5-3 on penalties)
It took a penalty shoot-out to decide the Fife and Lothians Cup 3rd Round tie between Kelty and Hill of Beath at New Central Park. This was the fourth meeting of the season between the local rivals, with the previous three all going Kelty's way.
Kelty were unchanged from last week's league win over Carnoustie, with Cargill, Sheerin and Ritchie all starting in an attacking looking line-up, and they soon had the visitors on the back foot. Positive early play from Conrad Courts forced a string on early corners, but the Haws defence were up to the task. Having shipped 13 goals to their rivals this season, the visitors were settling for keeping it tight and taking their chances on the break.
Kelty had a great chance in the 20th minute when Thomson robbed Renton in midfield and slipped the ball through to Sheerin. The striker went round the keeper, but took it too wide and by the time he cut it back for Husband, the Haws defence had re-grouped and the chance was gone.
The home side were made to pay for their missed chances ten minutes later. There seemed no danger when Hay picked the ball up in midfield, but the defence backed off and gave him space to chip his shot over the keeper, and Beath were in front.
Kelty responded with another run of corners, but they still couldn't make them count. Sheerin wasted a golden chance when the ball fell to him at the back post and all he could do was scoop it over the bar from close range. It was another frustrating afternoon for the big striker, who still hasn't hit form since his move from Berwick back in February. There can be no faulting his effort, but he just couldn't get the break of the ball, and he was replaced by McCabe on the hour.
Hill of Beath lost Renton just before the break, when the midfielder went down unchallenged with what looked like a bad knee injury.
It was more of the same in the second half, with Kelty controlling possession, but failing to make their dominance count. McCabe's introduction brought more energy to the side, but a set piece still seemed to their best chance of getting back into the game. The Haws almost wrapped it up with another rare attack, but a fantastic Marley save kept Kelty in it.
The corner count was mounting up, but the Haws defence were coping well. With ten minutes to go, Courts delivered another dangerous looking corner. For once, the defence failed to clear their lines, and the re-cycled ball fell back to Courts, who turned his marker and crossed for Cargill to nod home the equaliser.
Kelty were throwing everything at them, with Cargill, Ritchie and substitute Campbell all having chances to nick a win in the 90 minutes. But it finished one each, and with no extra-time, the game went straight to penalties.
Cargill went first for Kelty, and scored. Reid went first the Haws, and sent Marley the wrong way, but his kick struck the base of the post to give Kelty the advantage. From then on the standard of spot-kicks was excellent, with everyone scoring. That left McCabe with the opportunity to put Kelty into the next round, which he duly did with a fine penalty high to the keepers left.
So Hill of Beath crash out of a cup competition at the hands of their neighbours for the third time in as many months, while Kelty continue to battle on four fronts as the business end of the season approaches.