Return Of The Fash
Kelty Hearts 5-0 Cumbernauld Colts
New Central Park, Kelty
Kelty welcomed Nathan Austin back to the starting line up with a five star performance to sink Colts at New Central Park. First half goals from Michael Tidser and Jamie Stevenson got Kelty on their way. Fash marked his return to the side with a second half strike to add to Dylan Easton’s double as the reigning champions finally hit top gear.
Kelty started with Darren Jamieson in goal, Dougie Hill and Scott Hooper in the centre of defence, Paddy Boyle at left back and Stevenson on the right. The usual pairing of Thomas Reilly and captain Tidser were the holding duo, with attacking midfielders Kallum Higginbotham, Easton and Robbie McNab and Austin making his first start of the season.
Colts went with Jonathan Grier in goal, a back five of Scott Gibson, Scott Davidson, Stephen O’Niell, Cameron Foy and William Mortimer. A midfield trio of Craig Murray, Luke Main and Sam Davidson and a strike partnership of Martin Wright and Lewis Bonar.
Kelty looked up for this one right from the off and only took eight minutes to get off the mark through Tidser. Highinbotham was tripped on the edge of the area and the skipper took the free-kick, clipping it over the wall and into the bottom corner.
Jamie Stevenson made it 2 just ten minutes later with the goal of the game. Wright was too hesitant on the ball and Jameo reacted instantly, nicking possession and firing home from the edge of the box.
Kelty were working hard, pressing high up the pitch, putting the defence under pressure and it was starting to show with some angry exchanges between Colts team mates. Kelty’s results this season have been good, but some of the performances have been a little flat. But Austin’s movement gives them an extra dimension up front and there was an energy and tempo about the side as the confidence started to build.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though and Colts were causing some problems of their own at the other end. Wright and Bonar had a bit of pace about them and were keeping the Kelty defence on their toes. Their shots were finding the target, but there was nothing too difficult for DJ to deal with and although he had a few saves to make, they were all pretty routine.
It was more of the same after the break: Kelty enjoying the lions share of possession and carrying the greater threat, but Colts still looking capable of grabbing one back. Kelty have struggled a little against this side in the past and although the 2 goal lead was comfortable a Colts goal would have been enough to put the nerves on edge.
Kelty had the chance to to kill the game off on 65 minutes, when Grier was judged to have pulled Austin down on his way to the bye-line. Austin took the spot kick himself, but it was a little to close to Grier, who saved well and although the rebound fell to Higginbotham, it wouldn’t sit for him to get his shot away and the chance was gone.
It took until the 72nd minute to put the game to bed, with two goals in three minutes. The first was scored by Easton, with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the area. The second was scored by Austin, a typical Fash goal where chased a ball he had no right to win, hassled the defender then nipped in to squeeze it beyond the keeper.
Colts kept pressing in the search for a consolation goal, but Kelty looked determined to avoid conceding and despite a couple of good efforts, Jamieson once again kept his clean sheet intact. Number five came with just a couple of minutes left on the watch after some good link up play between Easton and Highinbotham. Higgy looked certain to score, but Grier somehow made the block. The rebound fell perfectly for Easton though and he rifled his shot in off the post.
It was Kelty’s best performance of the season and the champs are starting look something like their best again, the difficult winter months on the way. The result lifts the Fifers up into third in the Lowland League table, just 2 points behind leaders East Kilbride with a game in hand. Colts remain in 10th spot, a point ahead of Spartans and 3 behind Berwick. In a quirk of the fixture computer, these two will meet each other again in the return match in mid-week as Kelty make the trip to Broadwood on Wednesday night.
Man Of The Match:
Plenty of candidates in maroon on a comfortable afternoon for Kelty: Tidser, Reilly and Stevenson all on top form. But with two goals to his name, it was Dylan Easton who got the vote. The tricky winger was always available, ready to take his man on and rounded off a good display with two sweet finishes.
See the whole match gallery HERE