Kelty Hearts are out the Scottish Cup after being narrowly defeated 3-2 by an in-form Stranraer side. First half goals from Austin and Higginbotham wasn’t enough to send the Lowland League side through to the Third Round of the competition after a second half comeback from the League 2 side.

There was one change to the Kelty team who defeated Jeanfield Swifts on Boxing Day, as Ross Philp came into the starting eleven in replacement of loanee Ryan Shanley. As for Stranraer, they have been in great form after being undefeated in their last ten fixtures with players such as Paton and Orr both in impressive goalscoring form.

 


Photo Kevin Marshall @KayemPhoto


With the fixture changing venue to Stark’s Park just days before due to New Central Park being unplayable, this game had the potential to be one of the ties of the round.

Kelty started the game by being comfortable in possession but failed to create any chances as Austin found himself offside on a few occasions. The first dangerous shot on goal came from Kelty skipper, Tidser, whose low free kick struck the post and then cleared. 



Photo Kevin Marshall @KayemPhoto


Kelty took the lead after 25 minutes after a superb finish from their top goal scorer, Austin. After picking up the ball on the right-hand side, the forward cut inside onto his favoured left foot and hit an audacious strike from range towards the far corner which left Fleming with absolutely no chance in the Stranraer goal.

After a few dangerous attacks from the away side, one being a low cross from Stirling into the back post which just evaded the experienced striker, Duffy, Kelty won a penalty. Higginbotham picked up the ball in his own half and threaded the ball through to Austin who used his pace to get into the box when he was then brought down by defender, Robertson. Higginbotham made no mistake from the penalty as he sent Fleming the wrong way to double Kelty’s lead.

 

 Photo Kevin Marshall @KayemPhoto

 

Early into the second half, Stranraer pulled a goal back. Stirling picked up the ball on the left, played a one-two with central midfielder McManus, who then found former BSC Glasgow striker, Orr, whose shot hit the bar and into the back of the net to give the League 2 side a lifeline. 

Austin, minutes after Stranraer got their first, had a great opportunity to get his second and Kelty’s third after heading the ball over the defender to put himself through on goal but Fleming was out quick enough to block the striker’s shot and prevent his side conceding another. 

Stranraer got their second of the tie and the equaliser after Stirling’s corner was met by Robertson at the front post who headed past Jamieson to set up an enthralling end to this Scottish Cup tie.


Photo Kevin Marshall @KayemPhoto

 

With the game looking like it was going to extra time, Stranraer won a penalty with just seconds to go. Kelty defender, Hooper, tried to get a foul againstHilton which was not given as the attacker stole the ball, dribbled into the box and then was fouled himself by Tidser to give his side the opportunity to complete their comeback. Paton, with the last kick of the ball, sent the ball into the top right corner and sealed his side’s place in the Third Round, leaving Kelty heartbroken.

After going two goals up in the first half, Kelty will no doubt be disappointed with exiting the competition at this stage and in this manner. As for Stranraer, coming from two goals down to win the tie required a solid second half performance which is what they provided. Stranraer will now play the winner of Camelon/Brora vs Heart of Midlothian.

MOTM tonight was striker Nathan Austin.

 

Photo Kevin Marshall @KayemPhoto

 

Match Report by Logan Bak