Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Kelty Hearts 4 - 0 Kilmarnock Colts
Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Cup
New Central Park, Kelty
Kelty eased through to the second round of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup with a comfortable win over Kilmarnock Under 21s. First half goals from captain Murray Carstairs and Nathan Austin got the Fifers on their way, before a Ross Mutch strike and a Scott Linton free-kick made the tie safe in the second half.
With a couple of the squad struggling with knocks, gaffer Barry Ferguson made two changes to the side that started against Caledonian Braves on Saturday: Chris Dodd starting on the bench and Dylan Easton sitting the game out, with Ross Philip and Ross Mutch back in from the start.
The game started at a fair old pace, both sides going full pelt right from the first whistle. There were openings at both ends, but nothing clear cut and neither keeper was tested too severely in the opening few minutes.
The Killie back four were winning the aerial battle and seemed to have the measure of Kelly’s direct style. At the other end, the visitors were getting forward quickly and working the Kelty defence.
Kelty were pressing high up the pitch and it was beginning to pay off, Austin, Mutch and Philp all having chances. The opening came on 25 minutes after Danny Ashe was fouled wide on the left. With the box packed, Stephen Husband played the free-kick short to the front post where Carstairs was on hand to flick the ball into the net for his first of the season.
Killie had a chance to get themselves back into it straight away, Olly McDonald's free-kick went going just over the crossbar with Ben McKenzie at full stretch. With their noses in front, the hosts began to grow in confidence, Austin in particular starting to have more of an influence. Austin is a real handful, the type of player that unnerves defences and that in turn creates opening for the other attackers. He got his goal ten minutes before the break, Gary Cennerazzo’s cross was flicked on to the back post and Linton played it back across the face of goal where Fash was waiting for the easiest of tap-ins.
Kelty were looking pretty comfortable by now and put the result beyond doubt within five minutes of the restart. Austin won a tackle in the middle of the park and quickly played it forward to Mutch, who skinned his man for pace and clipped it beyond Curtis Lyle in the Killie goal.
Mutch nearly got his second a couple of minutes later with another quick ball over the top, but Lyle was quicker off his line this time to snuff out the danger. The Kelty winger took a clattering in the process, but was able to continue after a quick rub with the magic sponge.
The tie was pretty much done & dusted by this stage and although Killie were giving it a go, they struggled to make any impact in the home side. The energy of Reilly and McKirdy running the midfield with Husband and Philp always driving the team forward. Anything into the last third of the park was mopped up quickly, the Carstairs / Ashe partnership once again controlling things easily and nipping any danger in the bud. McKenzie had another fairly comfortable shift between the sticks, his clean sheet never in any real danger.
Linton put the icing on the cake ten minutes from time after Austin was tripped on the edge of the box. The left back has already demonstrated his ability with the dead ball and once again placed his free-kick into the very top corner with Lyle rooted to the spot.
It would have been a bit of a disappointing performance for the fans that had made the long trip from Ayrshire, their team never really able to impose themselves on the Lowland League outfit. Kelty were good value for their victory, playing with a pace and tempo that Killie simply couldn’t match, while still looking like they had another gear if needed. The win means the maroon machine will be on the road again with a second round trip to Solway to face Annan Athletic next Tuesday. Before that of course, there’s league business to be taken care of with Saturday’s visit from Civil Service Strollers to New Central Park.
Fans Man of the Match:
Despite some eye catching performances from the front men, the Kelty defence continues to look rock solid. It was a tough call between Carstairs and Ashe and in the end it was Danny Ashe that just edged it.
Full match photo gallery HERE