Kelty Hearts 7-1 Edinburgh University
New Central Park
Kelty jumped back to the top of the Lowland League with a demolition of Edinburgh University at New Central Park. Despite a slow start and going behind early doors, the Fifers finally got into their stride with a double strike from Dylan Easton. A hat-trick from Nathan Austin, one from Cammy Russell and a Scott Linton penalty put the icing on the cake as they racked up their eighth win on the bounce.
Kelty were without Stephen Husband and Sean McKirdy, both still struggling with injuries picked up last time out.
Barry Ferguson’s side lined up with Ben MacKenzie between the sticks behind a back four of Gary Cennerazzo, Scott Linton, Thomas Scobbie and Fernandy Mendy.
Thomas Reilly and Ross Philp were the anchor men in midfield, with Cammy Russell on the left, Chris Dodd on the right, Dylan Easton through the middle and top scorer Nathan Austin up front.
Despite the emphatic result, it wasn’t quite as routine as the score suggests. In fact it was a scoreline that looked unlikely for the first hour of the game as Kelty struggled to convert possession into pressure. It was actually Edinburgh Uni that took the lead with just eight minutes gone, Patrick Baird’s long ball cutting Kelty open and Ross Watters with a sweet first-time finish across MacKenzie into the bottom corner.
It didn’t take long for Kelty to respond though, Dylan Easton cutting from the left edge of the box and firing the equaliser low into the near post just four minutes later. Kelty took the lead in the eighteenth minute, Russell’s cross to the back post found Dodd, who cut back for Easton to side-step three defenders and finish inside the right-hand post. Easton had a chance to bag his hat-trick just a couple of minutes later but his shot from the edge of the box went high over the bar.
Most of the crowd inside New Central Park would have expected Kelty to kick-on from there, but despite plenty of possession, clear-cut chances were hard to come by. Austin went close with a header which just slid past the post, Russell hit the side netting and Linton smacked a shot off the crossbar but they couldn’t find number three, and it stayed 2-1 at the interval.
Stuart MacFarlane almost gifted Kelty the perfect start to the second half when his attempted back-heel went wrong and fell perfectly for Philp, who beat the keeper but saw his shot hit the base of the post and roll behind for a bye-kick.
With just the one goal lead, it wasn’t exactly comfortable for Kelty, who looked slightly vulnerable, especially when the Uni front men were driving with pace at the back four. Uni forced a free-kick in a dangerous position and MacKenzie needed to dive at full stretch to his right to push it past the post for a corner.
Kelty finally got some breathing space on 52 minutes, Russell playing a corner deep to the back post for Austin to out-jump McGuire and and head home his first of the match. Suddenly it was all Kelty and the chances were coming thick & fast – Austin, Russell, Easton and Linton all with opportunities to get number four. It came on 67 minutes, Dodd getting to the bye-line and cutting back for Austin who found space to turn and tuck away his second into the far corner.
Any resolve that Uni had left was melting away rapidly and it began to look like they were in for a bit of a hiding. Cammy Russell had been having a fine match and got a well-deserved goal in the 72nd minute, pinching the ball off Hamilton and slotting away number 5.
Austin completed his hat-trick four minutes later, bundling home another deep cross at the back post to kick-start the “Feed the Fash” chants from the Ultras. At 6-1 and with fifteen minutes left on the watch, the Uni fans must have been fearing the worst as Kelty looked back to their ruthless best and seemed capable of scoring with every attack.
Number seven came from the penalty spot with less than ten minutes to go, Ross Philp tripped inside the box and Linton making no mistake with the spot-kick. Ferguson immediately made double substation: McBride for Scobbie and Ashe for Austin, but the scoring finished there, and the Uni players & fans would have been relieved to hear the final whistle.
Back to the top of the table, with the two point lead over Bonnyrigg restored, Kelty now turn their attention to the Football Nation Cup 2nd round tie at home to Berwick Rangers on Tuesday night.
Supporters Man of the Match: You need to go some to get MoM ahead of a player who’s just scored a hat-trick, but Dylan Easton more than deserved the award. His two first half goals dragged Kelty back from a slow start, he was the driving force in the Kelty midfield and looks right back on form since recovering from his early season injury.
Click HERE for all the match photos.