Kelty Hearts continued their great form and picked up another league victory in a 4-0 win against 10-man Spartans at Ainslie Park. Goals from Shanley, Austin, Higginbotham and Philp ensured Kelty maintained a four-point lead at the top of the Lowland League.
There were no changes to the starting eleven that defeated Gretna 7-0 with new signing Ryan Shanley maintaining his starting spot after an impressive performance last Saturday.
Following on from his impressive debut, Shanley made a great start to his next appearance. Shanley picked up the ball at the edge of the box after a slack pass into the middle from Watson, took the ball around the defender and slotted the ball past Baines to get his first goal of hopefully many in a Kelty shirt. Just before the opener, Spartans had a penalty shout waved away by the referee after Atkinson went down in the Kelty box but play was continued.
Spartans were then reduced to 10 men after Grant deliberately tripped up Higginbotham in a last man position in which a red card for the number 9 was then inevitable. The foul committed seemed like it was given as a penalty but a free kick on the edge of the box was given.
That decision did not matter to striker Austin as he hammered the resulting free kick into the bottom left corner leaving the keeper with no chance of saving to double the away sides advantage. Austin, just minutes later, had the ball in the back of the net again after heading in a Higginbotham cross but it was ruled out for offside.
Austin again had a great opportunity to get his second goal just before half-time when he received the ball from Higginbotham, shrugged off defender Baur and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Baines at his near post.
After Austin had the ball in the back of the net for the second time from an offside position early in the second half, he assisted Kelty’s third of the night. He played a neat pass into the path of Higginbotham who fired the ball into the bottom left corner with a pin-point finish leaving the goalkeeper with no chance of saving.
Easton was the next to test Baines, with his strike from range which was saved well by the Spartans no.1 who had a busy night dealing with the dangerous Kelty attack and the threat that they always impose when given the opportunity to have a shot at goal.
The fourth and final goal came through substitute Philp, who received the ball after a quick free kick taken by skipper Tidser and then Philp proceeded to cut in from the right-hand side and fire a powerful shot at Baine’s near post to round off another great team performance by Barry Ferguson’s side.
Another three points at Ainslie Park against a strong Spartans side meant that the Maroon Machine maintained their 4 point advantage going into the last Lowland League fixture of 2020 on Saturday against Stirling University at New Central Park. MOTM tonight was Paddy Boyle, another superb performance from the experienced defender.
Match Report by Logan Bak