Kelty Hearts 5-0 The Spartans
New Central Park, Kelty
Kelty’s home scoring spree continued with another demolition job under the floodlights at New Central Park. The Spartans were the victims this time, goals from captain Murray Carstairs, Stephen Husband and Cammy Russell, added to another brace from Nathan Austin, to bring the season’s tally to 22 in just 4 games on their own patch.
Gaffer Barry Ferguson made just one change to the side that started Saturday’s 7 goal win over Vale of Leithen, Ross Philp making way for Chris Dodds.
Kelty lined up with keeper Ben McKenzie behind a back four of Gary Cennerazzo, Carstairs, Danny Ashe and Scott Linton. Sean McKirdy and Thomas Reilly were the two deep midfielders, with Husband through the middle, Dodds on the left, Ferguson’s newest signing Cameron Russell making his home debut on the right, and Austin up top.
The game got off to a flying start, both sides keen to get the upper hand with an early goal. Russell looked keen to impress the home fans, seeing plenty of the ball in the early stages. It was the visitors that registered the first clear cut chance after 10 minutes, McKenzie needing to be at full stretch to touch Dean Hoskins’ driven free-kick over the crossbar.
Kelty got the opener on 18 minutes, McKirdy’s front post corner and Carstairs’ flicked header enough to beat Carswell in the Spartans goal. Russell nearly doubled the advantage five minutes later after Dodds set him up but Carswell reacted quick to smother the ball.
Spartans were still well in the game, moving the ball nicely and working the Kelty back line but without really testing McKenzie. The front two were maybe a little small compared to the Kelty back line and looked like they were struggling to compete physically. Arron Murrell came closest to equalising for the visitors but pulled his shot wide.
With half-time approaching, Kelty made it two-nil, Ashe winning the ball at the back and quickly knocking it up for Austin to chase. As Carswell raced from his line, Austin reacted quickest and nodded it over him into the empty net.
2-0 at half-time was probably a little harsh on Spartans, who had given as good as they’d got. Their build up play had been tidy enough, but their lack of cutting edge in the final third was the difference between the two at the interval.
Kelty have already proved a tough nut to crack when they get their noses in front, Ferguson’s side more than capable of finishing opponents off when they have them on the ropes. Dodds almost tee’d up Austin within five minutes of the re-start, but Carswell was first to it, gathering it up to keep his side in it.
There was one cloud on the horizon for the Fifers, Sean McKirdy limping off to be replaced by Ross Philp. McKirdy has been the energy in the Kelty engine room this season and they will not want to be without him for too long.
Number three came on the hour mark after Russell was sent tumbling on the edge of the box. Referee Sean Henderson had a quick word with his linesman before awarding a penalty which Austin converted for his thirteenth of the season. With plenty of big games on the way for Kelty, Fash was given a rest shortly afterwards, replaced by Brian Ritchie.
Husband made it four in the 64th minute, his low half-volley flying past the keeper after the ball broke to him on the edge of the box. Kelty were flying now and were in no mood to let their visitors off the hook. Russell got his first goal in maroon, picking up Philp’s knockdown and clipping a sweet left footed finish over the helpless Carswell, for number five and the pick of the bunch.
By now, there was no way back for Spartans, but that didn’t stop them playing some nice stuff and keeping the pressure up on the home defence. A couple of substitutions gave them a bit more presence up top, but they still lacked the clinical finishing of their hosts and in the end there wasn’t an awful lot for Ben McKenzie to do to keep his fifth clean sheet of the season. While Fash’s goals are grabbing all the headlines, McKenzie and his back four are looking pretty solid, giving the side a strong foundation to build on.
Another convincing win then for a Kelty side that seem to be growing in confidence and looking more ruthless with every passing game. This was the first of three important home games for Kelty. With this one out of the way, they can now turn their their attention to Gretna visiting on league business at the weekend before next week’s cup tie against English National League side Solihull Moors.
Ref Watch: Henderson had a quiet game without too many big decisions to make. He did seem to let quite a lot go at times, waving play-on despite some heavy looking challenges. He made a point of getting the attention of Dean Hoskins when the big defender was trying his best to ignore him, all over a fairly innocent looking foul. Took his time to talk to his linesman before awarding a penalty for the crucial third goal.
Man of the Match: Danny Ashe once again had a fine game at the back, his partnership with Carstairs always looking solid and un-flustered. Ashe’s long ball out from defence has quickly proved to be a real weapon for Kelty, setting his side up for the quick counterattack and finding Austin more often than not.
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