Kelty Hearts - 9
Coldstream - 0
East of Scotland League
New Central Park, Kelty
Scores: Husband (3), Dalziel (3), Cargill (2), Carstairs
Kelty overcame their midweek disappointment with another convincing league win against Coldstream at New Central Park. The Fife side were knocked out the League Cup by Lothian Thistle last Wednesday night, but put that behind them to keep their perfect league record going.
Kelty received a pre-match boost with the news that the league's top scorer Stuart Cargill has agreed a long term contract extension at the club, and he started up top alongside Brian Ritchie and Neil McCabe. Midweek hero Sean O'Neil was missing from the squad, so Garry Leighton started in the centre of defence alongside Murray Carstairs. Stephen Husband returned to the midfield in place of club captain Shaun Greig.
Coldstream gave a good account of themselves in the return fixture back in August, and are the only team to score more than one goal against Kelty in the league all season, so must have approached the game with some confidence. They lined up with a fairly solid looking formation of four at the back, a five man midfield and a lone striker up top.
Kelty started quickly, passing the ball well and creating chances for all three front men, but they had to wait until the 14th minute to open the scoring. Husband was already seeing plenty of the ball, and when he collected it wide on the right, it looked like he was trying to pick out a target for the cross. But as the defence backed off and the space opened up, he saw his opportunity and fired a long range shot past Shiel in the Coldstream goal.
Coldstream were stung into action, and quickly forced a corner that ricocheted back of the cross bar. The visitors were scrapping for a way back into the match, and Dixon was lucky to escape a booking for a heavy challenge on Scott-Taylor MacKenzie. But Kelty were starting to take a hold on the game, and two quick goals on the half-hour mark put an end to Coldstream's challenge
First Carstairs rose highest to nod home Husband's corner for his fifth goal of the season, then MacKenzie broke up play in midfield and fed Cargill, who broke clear and slid a cool finish past Sheil for number 3. With the cushion, Kelty were cruising now and Husband, Cargil and McCabe all had chances to increase the lead before half-time, but the score stayed the same as they headed for the break.
The teams emerged from the dressing rooms to a torrential downpour of rain and hail, and they could have been excused for allowing the standard to drop in these conditions. But that's not how this side roll, and within eight minutes the celebration tune was playing again, Cargill out-jumping everybody to finish off a Husband corner for number 4. Three minutes later, another Husband corner and another goal, but this time it didn't even need a header. Both Carstairs and Leighton were in close attendance, but the midfielder's corner kick went straight for his second of the game.
Eight minutes later and Hubby had his hat-trick, and if his second was unusual, his third was sublime. Husband's set-piece delivery is normally flawless, but even by his standard this one was a peach: a free kick from 25 yards that was in from the moment it left his boot, curled righted-foot up, around the wall and past the keeper.
By now Coldstream had nothing left in the tank, they were unable to respond and had the look of a side that had already chucked in the towel. If they had any hopes of a quiet end to the game, these were soon dashed by a triple substitution from the home side. Off went Cargill, Ritchie and Nimmo, replaced by three fresh strikers, Sheerin, Douglas and Dalziel. Any one of them would be a handful on their own, but for a side who were already well beaten, all three at once was a daunting prospect. In the end it was Dalziel who did the damage with a devastating hat-trick, three goals in just nine minutes, to finish them off.
Competition for the jersey is stiff in the Kelty squad, especially amongst the strikers and credit has to go Kelty manager Tom Courts for the way he has managed to keep six of the league's most potent front men on their toes. Watching the substitutes being put through their half-time shooting drills, it occurs that with 36 goals between them, Dalziel (17), Douglas (12) and Sheerin (7) could command a starting slot in any team at this level.
There has been much said among opposing fans (and managers) about the strength of the Kelty squad and size their budget. Whilst they certainly have the spending power that's helped them to build the best squad in the league, it would be wrong to think this tells the whole story. Money can help attract quality, but it can't buy the desire, the hunger, the drive that this team shows week in & week out. It can't buy the determination to keep pushing forward, searching for goals long after the match is in the bag. From the sidelines, you can hear the way the players demand the very best from each other from the first whistle to the last, never accepting any dip in standard, constantly expecting for more from themselves and their team mates. These are qualities that do not come from the transfer market, they come from within, from the players, the coaching staff and the manager.
This was ruthless display from Kelty once again, and another star performance from Stephen Husband. They now have another home game, league match number 17, against Peebles next Saturday at New Central Park.
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