THE big Fife and Lothians Cup-tie on Saturday went all the way to a penalty shoot out while there were fine wins for Dundonald Bluebell and Lochgelly Albert.
Indeed, Albert have kept their chances alive of making the promotion run-in by beating the South Division leaders.
Kelty Hearts 1, Hill of Beath Hawthorn 1.
(Hearts win 5-3 on penalties).
THIS was a really tight Conservatory Converters Fife and Lothians Cup tie with Kelty only really coming into their own in the closing minutes of the game.
The opening stages did not see a lot of open chances but Hearts had one raid which saw Brian Ritchie find Stephen Husband but his low shot was blocked by a resolute Haws defence.
Hill of Beath were probing for a chance and in 25 minutes Calum Adamson gave Aaron Hay the ball and he advanced to send in a curling 22 yarder which deceived home ‘keeper Kyle Marley and ended up flying over him and into the net.
Hearts came back and Ritchie saw a shot blocked before Conrad Courts fired in a drive which took a deflection and just went over.
Haws led at the break and Kelty started the second period in lively fashion but good work by Stuart Hall kept out Sheerin and Craig Thomson.
But Soon after Haws had a golden chance for a second goal. Hay’s long pass set up Adamson only eight yards out but he his shot was finger-tipped over the bar by Marley.
From then on Kelty started to get stronger and Haws had to defend well and they battled hard but with only 11 minutes left the equaliser came. Conrad Courts gathered a clearance from a corner and floated the ball to the far post where Stuart Cargill was waiting to head home.
That tied it up and in the remaining minutes Kelty had two efforts which went close to getting the winner.
It was on to the shoot out and and Stuart Cargill scored for Hearts before Lee Reid saw his shot come back off a post.
Brian Ritchie scored Hearts as did Archie Campbell, Craig Thomson and Nelly McCabe while Haws saw conversions from Greg Smith, Adamson and Hay, which put Hearts through to the next round.
Hearts boss Thomas Courts tweeted after the game: “The lads found a way to get the win. Congratulations to them for staying composed and getting the equaliser and a great standard of penalties.”
Haws boss Bobby Wilson was proud of the way his team handled the tie: “We were short of a few regulars and the first-half injury to Scott Renton meant that Barry Smith had to go on for almost an hour and he did well.
“The game plan worked well and a key moment came when their ‘keeper made a great save from Calum Adamson.”
Dundonald Bluebell 3,
Musselburgh Athletic 1.
BLUEBELL made it three wins in a row at Moorside and they moved into the top four of the East Super League with the result.
Musselburgh have lost their way a bit in the league over the past couple of months and Dundonald started the more confident side with Barry Sibanda posing them problems.
There were a few chances for the ‘Bell which were missed but on the half hour they went ahead when 17 year-old Graeme Walker provided an excellent finish.
Then three minutes later they were two up. With the Athletic defence finding the going hard Sibanda made an expert job of the finish from close in after a long kick out from James Lennox posed them problems.
Credit to the visitors though they started the second period brightly and got one back in 51 minutes through an own goal after Lennox and his defence got in a mix-up but this only galvanised the Dundonald challenge and they went looking for the killer third and the Musselburgh ‘keeper pulled off two good saves.
Then four minutes from time Ross Lennie’s effort this time eluded the last line and the points were safe.
The result moved Dundonald on to 41 points from 26 games and fourth place ahead of Boness, who do have games in hand.
Said Bluebell manager Stevie Kay: “I felt we were always in charge of the game but we missed a few good chances to get the key third goal earlier.
“However, to win three Super League games in a row is very pleasing and the players deserve it for the work they are putting in.
“Now we want to win as many of our last four games as possible to finish the season strongly.”
Lochgelly Albert 1,
Blackburn United 0.
SOUTH Division leaders Blackburn came to Gardiner’s Park having lost only two games all season but they were soon under the cosh at the Tap of the Toun.
Goalkeeping coach Colin Rushford had to play in this one due to an injury to Lee Wilson but the veteran had little to bother him early in the game as the Berts’ midfield took command.
There was an Albert penalty claim on the half hour when John Ferguson went down in the box but the referee waved play on then Lewis Elder was set up but he fired over from a good position.
Somehow Blackburn got to the break level but the Berts stepped up the pressure after the break and hemmed Blackburn in.
Elder and Martin Rennie went close but the opening goal was proving elusive for the home side.
Then in 62 minutes it came when John Duffy got his head on a cross and he gave the ‘keeper no chance at the far post.
Blackburn tried to respond to this but with Ian Miller and Scott Gibson rocks at the back for Albert they got few chances while at the other end there were opportunities for a second goal.
However, it ended with the single goal splitting the sides and a third defeat of the season for the visitors who still are a point ahead of Pumpherston.
Albert lie fourth on 40 points from 19 games, with five games in hand over Blackburn and second top Pumpherston who they could close to within three points of if they keep winning and who they still have to play. So it is all to play for at Gardiner’s Park.
Crossgates Primrose 1,
Dunbar United 5.
THIRD top of the South Division, Dunbar, were just too strong for Crossgates at Humbug.
Although Primrose opened well enough after they conceded the opening goal in 14 minutes things started to go wrong for the home side defensive.
In saying that a fine finish from Dale Prattis in 32 minutes levelled things but a double whammy from United in 37 and 43 minutes put Primrose 3-1 down at the break.
Crossgates tried hard to work a goal early in the second period but good defending by Dunbar kept them out and on the hour the fourth visiting goal put the game to bed.
Primrose never gave up and had a few decent chances but could not get the second goal they needed and the fifth goal came with seven minutes to go.
Dundee North End 3,
Lochore Welfare 0.
WELFARE headed for Tayside not really expecting to upset the top seven Dokens but they gave a really good account of themselves.
The home side started strongly but Lochore defended well and there were a few half chances at the other end.
However, the opening goal came when the Lochore defence was caught out and it gave North End the impetus to go forward strongly and they grabbed another.
Welfare kept working hard and they always were posing the Dokens problems when they went forward and were unlucky not to hit the target.
But North End had their moments in attack and they grabbed number three late in the game.
So Lochore have four games, left mostly against sides around them and they will be looking to post a win or two to try and get to the top of the bottom four sides in the league.
Saturday’s fixtures: McBpookie.Com East Super League, Hill of Beath Hawthorn v Musselburgh Athletic, Broughty Athletic v Kelty Hearts, Dundonald Bluebell v Boness United.
McBookie.com South Division, West Calder United v Lochgelly Albert, Blackburn United v Crossgates Primrose. McBookie.com North Division, Lochore Welfare v Newburgh (all games 2.30pm).