Updated: Sep 1, 2019
Kelty Hearts 10-0 Gretna 2008
New Central Park
Kelty’s incredible scoring run continued as they slammed 10 past Gretna at New Central Park. With four each for Nathan Austin and Chris Dodds, another for Murray Carstairs and one for Scott Linton, the Fifer’s took their tally for the season to 40 in just 7 league games.
Gaffer Barry Ferguson was forced into one change from the midweek win over Spartans, Sean McKirdy given time to recover from his knock meaning Ross Philp was in from the start.
The back line virtually picks itself at the moment - Ben McKenzie in goal behind a back four of Garry Cennerazzo, Linton, Carstairs and Danny Ashe.
With McKirdy missing, Stephen Husband dropped back into the holding role alongside Thomas Reilly, Philp through the middle, Dodds in the left, Cammy Russell on the right and Austin up top.
The gusty wind made for difficult conditions and Kelty were straight at it from the very first whistle, a couple of corners and a Linton free kick putting early pressure on the visitors. It took just nine minutes to make the breakthrough, Ross Philp dancing his way to the bye-line and pulling it back to give Austin the easiest of finishes.
Dodds was already looking lively, enjoying plenty of possession wide on the left. He almost doubled the lead after 14 minutes, beating his marker and cutting inside but his shot was straight at Copland. Philp almost set up Austin again and although the shot was blocked by the defence and nothing came from the corner, it was already clear that Kelty were in the mood for more.
Gretna had clearly opted for the physical approach to try and stop Kelty playing, Austin, Philp, Russell and Dodds all on the receiving end of heavy challenges. The wind was still making life hard and anything near the goal had a chance of catching the keepers out. It probably played a part in number two, Carstairs’ header from Russell’s corner just sneaking in at the back post. Everyone looked to the ref to see if it crossed the line and when he pointed to the centre spot, the captain was able celebrate his second goal of the week.
Number three came just after the half hour, Chris Dodds finding himself in acres of space to take it round the keeper for his first of the game. Just two minutes later Linton made it four with another of his perfectly placed free kicks from the edge of the box. With only 36 minutes on the watch, Kelty already looked out of sight, Gretna failing to offer anything in the final third and keeper Ben McKenzie had yet to get his gloves dirty.
Gretna looked a different side when they emerged from the interval and almost dragged themselves back into it in the opening minute. The Kelty defence for once looked hesitant and Connelly should have made them pay in the goalmouth scramble, but the ball somehow stayed out. The visitors came again, buoyed by confidence, Cennerazzo just managing to pinch the ball from Connelly on the edge of the area.
It fell to Austin to lift the pressure from his defence, his low shot going in off the post to make it five. Suddenly, Kelty had their tails up again, Austin grabbing his hat trick on the hour mark. Ferguson’s side have been guilty of taking the foot off the gas a little when they’re comfortably in front, but now they were showing Gretna their ruthless side, Austin again doing the damage with his fourth and Kelty’s seventh in the 68th minute.
Job done for the day, Fash was given a rest for the remainder of the game, he and Ashe replaced by Brain Ritchie and Thomas Bragg.
Gretna looked well beaten by now and could only muster attacking moves in brief flashes, but each time they found the Kelty defence as watertight as a ducks nether regions. The visiting defence by contrast were looking more and more ragged and Kelty were in no mood to let them off the hook.
On 69 minutes, Dodds made it 8-nil with his second of the game, and claimed his hat trick just six minutes later. With the game well won, the fans could have been forgiven for heading for an early pint, but with the magic ten a possibility, nobody was going anywhere. Dodds duly obliged in the 80th minute, saving the best for last, clipping the ball over Copland from the tightest of angles for his fourth of the day. It was all too easy for Kelty, and with ten minutes left Ferguson gave one of his youth team players Tyler McKenzie a taste of first team action.
Gretna were grateful for the final whistle and it would have been a miserable trip back down the M74. After the perfect afternoon at the office, Kelty now turn their attention to cup business in preparation for next weekend’s visit from Solihull Moors in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup. There’s no doubt the National League side will be a very different proposition.
Ref watch: Craig MacRae had his work cut out early in the first half with a series of crunching tackles to deal with as it looked like Gretna were up for the fight. He only flashed a couple of yellow cards though and as the game wore on, Gretna’s heads dropped and in truth, they went down without a whimper. In the end, MacRae's only danger or writers cramp came from trying to keep track of the goals.
Man Of The Match: Kelty were once again solid at the back, but with 10 goals in the scoresheet, the award was always going to go to a forward player. With four goals apiece, the supporters couldn’t choose between Austin and Dodds and so decided to give it to both of them.
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