Kelty Hearts go seven points clear at the top of the Lowland League after a 2-0 win over an impressive University of Stirling side, in their last Lowland League fixture of 2020. Goals from Austin and Shanley secured Kelty’s eighth win in a row to continue their rich vein of form.

 

  [Credit: Kevin Marshall – @KayemPhoto]


There were no changes again to the starting eleven that faced both Gretna and Spartans after scoring eleven goals and keeping clean sheets in both fixtures. As for University of Stirling, they were looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat away to BSC Glasgow.

Kelty got off to a great start and seemed to have the opening goal inside 2 minutes after Hill’s powerful header struck the bar and the ball looked like it landed over the line, but the officials seen otherwise. The best chance of the game for the away side came after just 11 minutes when Kennedy’s cross left Downie with a great chance to equalise but his shot from close range was high over the bar.

 

[Credit: Billy Clark – @Clark3_Billy]

 

Higginbotham was the next player to test Stirling keeper Fry as his snap half-volley was saved well out for a corner. Minutes later, Austin put the ball through the pressing keeper’s legs, but his shot hit the post and out for a goal kick. Stevenson then stepped up from a long-range free kick and struck a powerful attempt at goal which forced Fry into a save.

Kelty finally took the lead after 28 minutes as Austin tapped in the rebound from Tidser’s low shot to continue his great goalscoring form since returning from injury. Austin in the perfect position once again to grab yet another goal in a Kelty shirt.

 

[Credit: Billy Clark – @Clark3_Billy]

 

Just three minutes later, Shanley doubled Kelty’s advantage. A low corner was played into Hooper whose shot was saved well by Fry, but the ball ended up at Shanley’s feet inside the six-yard box and he scored to get his second goal in three games since joining on loan from Hibernian.

Going into the second half, University of Stirling looked determined to get back into the game. Pressing Kelty high, moving the ball well which lead to a great chance for Penker to pull a goal back, but his shot was straight at Jamieson.

 

[Credit: Billy Clark – @Clark3_Billy]

 

Kelty then won a penalty after Easton was brought down in the box after a badly timed challenge by Burrows, Higginbotham stepped up from the penalty spot and the penalty was well-saved by Fry.

Not many chances followed as both teams defended well for the rest of the second half but with just minutes remaining, Stevenson had a massive opportunity to make it three, but his low-driven shot was saved well again by Fry, who was forced into several important saves this afternoon.

Kelty came out of the game victorious but were made to work hard for their three points against a young and well-organised University of Stirling side. The league leaders will be hoping to continue their impressive form and progress to the next round of the Scottish Cup when they play Jeanfield Swifts on Boxing Day. Man of the Match this afternoon was central defender Scott Hooper who was solid and composed at the back for the whole 90 minutes.

[Credit: Billy Clark – @Clark3_Billy]

 

Match Report by Logan Bak