League One / New Central Park / Attendance:
Sat 16 Mar 24 / 15:00

Kelty Hearts




Cove Rangers



The team bounced back to winning ways at Kelty with a deserved, if narrow, success.

The only goal was high quality, Fraser Fyvie’s superb free-kick expertly guided home by Mitch Megginson, but the victory was also down to a strong defensive performance as the side secured a seventh clean sheet of the season.

With Blair Yule still out and Sena sidelined with a groin injury, Paul Hartley made one personnel change as Paul McGowan returned to the starting line-up. The manager reverted to a back four with Kerr moving forward and Doyle partnering Reynolds in central defence.

Cove got the game underway and were to enjoy plenty possession in the early stages without making any kind of breakthrough. The closest we came was in the fourth minute when Fyvie sent an inviting long ball over the top, but with Burrell’s pace getting him in behind, Gourlay was quickly off his line to head clear.

In our next attack, Darge and McGowan combined, the midfielder winning a corner, but Scully’s inswinging delivery was headed away by McKay.

Kelty then forced a corner, Mark Reynolds making an important interception to concede it, and when the ball eventually fell to O’Ware, the defender’s shot from distance flew high over the bar.

We were almost caught out in the thirteenth minute when Doyle failed to cut out a high ball forward. Johnston raced away clear, but Balint Demus was alert, advancing to the edge of the box to make the save.

Bavidge was next to threaten after collecting the ball on the edge of the box. Matty Shiels did enough to take the steam off his shot, and Demus dived to prevent the corner.

Connor Scully did well to intercept an angled switch of play by O’Ware, but after driving forward, his ball inside was cut out by McKay. We kept up the pressure, Shiels flashing in a delivery, but the home rearguard again stood firm.

We came agonisingly close to opening the scoring midway through the half. Arron Darge fed a pass through to Fyvie who laid it off for Megginson. Mitch made for the byeline and sent in an accurate cross, Burrell climbing above Gourlay to flick a header over the keeper. He was desperately unlucky to see the ball clip the crossbar.

The boys kept pressing and McGowan passed wide to Fyvie who swung in a dangerous cross, McCluskey racing back to sweep it behind for a corner. Fraser’s subsequent delivery was just too high for Kerr, who could only head wide at the back post.

Kelty might have snatched the lead with thirty-two minutes on the clock. After a scramble on the edge of the box, and with Shiels down injured, Bavidge fired low, his angled effort rebounding from the left post. With Demus trying to recover, McGlynn pounced on the ball, but shot wide from six yards out.

Matty was forced to leave the field after treatment, Jacob Jones his replacement.

We hit back quickly, Megginson and Darge combining well down the right, but when the cross came in, Burrell was closed down by two Kelty defenders.

Cove were seeing plenty of the ball, but struggled to find a way through what was an organised and well-drilled Kelty midfield and back line.

It had, nevertheless, been a much improved first half from last week, and the team were again on the front foot after the restart. With Fyvie heavily involved in the build-up, Burrell was shut down in the box before Megginson had an angled drive blocked.

O’Ware collected the game’s first booking for pulling down Megginson, the foul leading to us making a deserved breakthrough. From the free-kick, the ball ran to Fraser Fyvie, who whipped in a vicious delivery towards the back post. With the home defence watching on, Mitch MEGGINSON timed his run to perfection, diverting the ball low past Gourlay.

Kelty then won a corner, and with the ball bouncing around the area, Johnston unleashed a powerful close range shot, Balint Demus diving to make an outstanding save. It would not have counted, as the flag belatedly went up for offside, but it was still an outstanding stop.

Superb skill from Megginson just inside the Kelty half saw him move clear of his marker and the pass which followed found McGowan running into the box. The midfielder’s cross was headed behind by McKay, and the resultant corner easily dealt with.

Good link up play between Josh Kerr and Fraser Fyvie set up Rumarn Burrell to run at the Kelty back line, but Paterson was able to stop the striker, conceding a throw-in down by the corner flag.

The home side were creating little at this stage, Moore’s long range effort which flew well over a sign of their frustration, and we were soon back on the attack, without creating any clear cut opportunities.

With ten minutes remaining, Paul McGowan was withdrawn, Kyle Connell coming on for his twenty-first substitute appearance this season, a new club record in the SPFL.

We came close to adding to our advantage when Burrell did well to keep the ball in and passed to Megginson. Mitch switched the play wide to Fraser Fyvie on the right and his well-struck angled drive forced Gourlay into making a diving save to punch clear.

Kelty might then have levelled in the last minute. Megginson, back defending, headed the ball out, but it fell for McCluskey and from twenty-three yards his volley bounced just wide of the right post.

They also claimed loudly for a penalty deep into stoppage time when Fyvie, acrobatically clearing a corner, appeared to catch O’Donnell with his boot, but referee Calder was unmoved by their protests.

The win narrowed the gap on fourth placed Montrose ahead of next week’s visit of Hamilton, another match crucial to our hopes of making the playoffs.

KELTY HEARTS (4-4-2): Gourlay; McCluskey, McKay, O’Ware, Paterson; Bavidge, Tidser, O’Donnell, Moore; McGlynn (Cunningham 83), Johnston (c),

Substitutes: Campbell, Biabi, L. Owens, B. Owens, McAllister, Shearer, Garvie


Booked: O’Ware (51)

COVE RANGERS (4-1-3-2): Demus; Darge, Doyle, Reynolds, Shiels (Jones 35); Kerr; Fyvie, McGowan (Connell 80), Scully; Megginson (c), Burrell

Substitutes: Suman, Gillingham, Stewart

Goalscorers: Megginson (52)

Booked: Darge (55), Kerr (90)

Referee: George Calder

Attendance: 352

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