KELTY HEARTS 0–1 COVE RANGERS
The team kept its impressive unbeaten run going in Fife, with Rumarn Burrell’s first half goal enough to make it seven without defeat. The 1-0 success was a fourth win in a row, and Nick Suman again pulled off a superb save as the defence recorded a third clean sheet on the spin.
Paul Hartley had named an unchanged line-up for what was our first ever visit to New Central Park. Josh Kerr was back in the squad having recovered from the ankle break he suffered at the end of August, and Arron Darge was also fit enough to return to the bench.
After a poignant, and impeccably observed minute’s silence to mark Armistice Day, it was Cove who kicked-off on what was a bright, crisp afternoon and they were first to threaten when Mitch Megginson broke down the right and played the ball inside. Fraser Fyvie gathered and shot from twenty yards, his effort deflected for a corner.
Former Cove keeper Kyle Gourlay scrambled Fyvie’s resultant delivery for another corner, which was half cleared, and the home defence also dealt with a third soon after.
It was all Cove, Megginson taking possession and feeding Burrell, who laid the ball off for Blair Yule. The midfielder shot powerfully from just outside the box, Gourlay diving to his right to make the save.
Kelty’s first foray forward came in the seventh minute, Johnston burrowing his way into the box, but Yule, back helping out, nicked the ball from the striker and cleared to safety.
Burrell then burst away down the left, cutting in across the edge of the area, but as he prepared to shoot, and with Yule also shaping up to try his luck, Owens made a strong challenge to thwart the Cove pair.
Mikey Doyle had our next effort, cutting in from the right, but shot well over from twenty yards.
The breakthrough came in the eighteenth minute.
Paul McGowan gathered in midfield, looked up, and chipped a ball forward into the box. Rumarn BURRELL took control, turned, and shot low, his effort zipping into the net at the near post with Gourlay well beaten. It was the striker’s eighth goal of what has been a productive season.
Kelty might have equalised almost immediately. After a good passing move, Jamie Walker found himself free sixteen yards out, but dragged his left foot shot wide of the far post.
Back came Cove, and Jones fired in a wicked cross which Gourlay gathered at the second attempt with Burrell lurking.
Doyle picked up the game’s first yellow card for a challenge on McCluskey, and Jason Thomson quickly followed him into the book for a late challenge on Suman as the keeper tried to clear having dealt with the resultant free-kick.
As the game reached the half hour mark, Kelty were seeing more of the ball, but causing few, if any, problems for our defence, and were being regularly frustrated as they probed for an opening.
With little happening for us at the top end of the pitch, Mitch Megginson was often back helping out, and proved to be a highly effective first line of defence, putting in a tireless shift.
We got back on the attack in the thirty-eighth minute when Burrell was brought down thirty yards out. Fraser Fyvie stepped up to take the free-kick, his powerfully struck effort skidding across the box, and Gourlay did well to push it for a corner.
It was to be the first of three within a minute, Megginson shooting over at the back post from the last of those.
O’Donnell had a shot deflected wide, and Thomson sliced one over, but the half drew to a close with Cove comfortably holding on to their advantage.
There were no changes at the interval, and we were quickly on the front foot, Burrell being upended twenty yards inside the Kelty half as he attempted to break away. Fyvie’s free kick was eventually cleared, but we kept up the pressure, hemming the home side in without being able to find a way through their back line.
Hearts got out in the fifty-second minute, and after a short corner, Moore crossed deep. Thomson rose highest, but his looping header dropped beyond the far post.
Fyvie then had a powerful low drive blocked on the edge of the six yard box, and from the resultant clearance the midfielder curled in a dangerous delivery which Burrell headed inches wide.
O’Donnell collected the third booking of the match for a late challenge on Megginson, but thankfully the striker was able to continue.
In what had become a game of few clear cut chances, the players were working hard to close down the home side, denying them the opportunity to break upfield, and with over an hour on the clock, were comfortably holding on to their lead.
Fyvie tried to catch out Gourlay with a long range free kick from out near the left touchline, shaping to cross before curling a shot to the near post, but the keeper was alert, and grabbed the ball.
In the sixty-ninth minute, we might have doubled our advantage. Owens mistakenly sent the ball straight to Burrell, who took a touch then tried to play in Megginson, but his pass was behind his team-mate, and with defenders getting back, the captain could only shoot wide of the far post.
There was a scare soon after when Will Gillingham, seeing the ball out, was nudged in the back by Walker and tumbled over the perimeter wall and into the fans. Thankfully, the big man emerged unscathed.
Kelty were now streaming forward looking for an equaliser, and Biabi had a glancing header which flew wide of the far post.
They came even closer soon after when Corbett unleashed a powerful eighteen-yard strike. The ball looked to be flying in under the crossbar, but Nick Suman maintained his recent form with another outstanding save, pushing it over for a corner.
The manager then made our first change, withdrawing Burrell and introducing Sena in a bid to help close down the midfield.
Both sides then had openings. First, Bavidge got in behind for Kelty, but Suman raced out of his box to clear, then we broke down the right, Yule’s cross inches away from finding Megginson’s head.
In their next attack, Walker got away from Doyle on the Kelty left, his cross flashing across the box with no takers.
Paul Hartley made two further substitutions, Darge and Connell replacing McGowan and Megginson as the game moved into its last five minutes. The subs combined when Arron made an interception and sent Kyle running free down the right, but his cross was blocked, then cleared to safety.
Kelty piled forward in a desperate bid to get back on level terms, Scully hooking away a dangerous delivery, then deep into stoppage time, at the other end of the pitch, he played in Fyvie, whose shot from inside the box deflected just wide into the side netting.
It was to be the final action of the game, the side putting in another strong away performance to extend their unbeaten record and move up to third, ahead of Tuesday’s visitors, Montrose, on goal difference.
KELTY HEARTS (4-4-2): Gourlay; Corbett, Thomson, F. Owens, Walker; McCluskey (Cunningham 74), O’Donnell, Lyon (c), Moore; Bavidge, Johnston (Biabi 65)
Substitutes: Campbell, Daramola, Tidser, L. Owens, B. Owens, Cameron, Sylla
Booked: Thomson (27), O’Donnell (55)
COVE RANGERS (4-4-2): Suman; Doyle, Gillingham, Reynolds, Jones; Yule, McGowan (Darge 86), Fyvie, Scully; Megginson (c) (Connell 86), Burrell (Sena 79)
Substitutes: Demus, Kerr, Mykyta, Stewart, Williamson
Goalscorers: Burrell (18)
Booked: Doyle (25)
Referee: Stewart Luke
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