SATURDAY’S opening day in the non league football structure saw impressive starts from Kelty Hearts, Dundonald Bluebell and Crossgates Primrose, but the day will be remembered for an horrific injury to Hill of Beath Hawthorn’s Ricky Patrick.

The veteran midfielder suffered a triple leg break which held the game at Tranent up for 50 minutes and the 36 year-old spent the weekend in hospital.

Kelty Hearts 4, Edinburgh University 0.

HEARTS, desperate to win the Lowland League to open up the path to the SPFL, made a very solid start against Edinburth University at New Central Park.

After their good showing against St Johnstone in the Betfred Cup in midweek, Kelty started the game strongly and Kallum Higginbotham went close inside 10 minutes but the Students defended well and after half an hour there were still no goals.

In 35 minutes the breakthrough game for the hosts. A hand ball incident saw the referee point to the spot and Kallum Higginbotham stroked the ball into the net.

Three minutes later they doubled their lead when Robbie McNab went over a delightful cross and Matty Flynn headed home.

Uni were struggling now and when Ross Philp sent a fine shot past the ‘keeper in 57 minutes that was more or less game, set and match.

Hearts were totally in charge and really ‘keeper Scott Jamieson was simply a spectator, but the goal of the game was still to come.

With 73 minutes on the clock Higginbotham latched onto the ball in the middle of the Uni box and his spectacular overhead kick left the ‘keeper for dead. A fine end to a good performance and puts Hearts joint top with Bonnyrigg Rose, albeit after one game.

Tranent 2, Hill of Beath Hawthorn 1.

A DRAMATIC day in East Lothian for the Haws, with veteran midfielder Ricky Patrick seriously injured and two goals in the last five minutes seeing a lead turn to a defeat in the club’s opening East of Scotland Premier Division fixture.

The midfielder was the victim of a fierce tackle on the half hour which saw him left in severe distress on the park.

The game was delayed for 50 minutes whilst the paramedics made Ricky comfortable and took him to hospital.

The first-half had seen Haws’ ‘keeper Stuart Hall save a penalty, after the ball struck Kieryan Hicks hand but over the piece chances were limited.

On the hour Hill of Beath were awarded a penalty when Shaun Leishman was hauled down in the box and Lyle Kellichan converted and there were a couple of half chances for the visitors to get a second.

However, with all three subs committed Haws were struck by another injury when skipper Rikki Dair was left limping and Tranent took advantage to level, then with two minutes left they grabbed the winner leaving the visitors stunned.

It was a traumatic day for Hill of Beath boss John Mitchell: “It was as bad an injury as I have seen in all my years in the game.

“Ricky was taken to the Royal Infirmary but was needing an operation to set the bone.

“The game was very tight but we were defending well and when we went ahead I felt we could see it out but, then Rikki Dair’s injury left us with ten fit men and they grabbed two late goals. One of those days I am afraid.”

Whitehill Welfare 0, Dundonald Bluebell 1.

A VERY tight Premier League fixture but the ‘Bell defended well to ensure a narrow victory.

Bluebell dominated possession in the early stages and Lewis McKenzie and Ross Mutch produced superb saves from the Whitehill ‘keeper before Craig Wedderburn headed inches over from a set piece.

Whitehill went close a couple of times but at the break there were no goals.

In the second period Whitehill had a man red carded for a second booking and this saw Dundonald start to cause real problems for the hosts.

However, the home ‘keeper was in fine form and he pulled off two fine saves, then, in 65 minutes Mutch chased a long ball and got there first and his cut-back was superbly finished from eight yards by Stuart Cargill.

Bluebell kept working hard and soon after Callum Strang was the latest ‘Bell striker who was defied by the home ‘keeper.

However, solid defending by the Bluebell ensured a winning start and manager Kevin Fotheringham was delighted with the result: “I have seen us play better but to be honest it was only some remarkable goalkeeping that stopped a more emphatic win.

“Our defensive work was very sound, which was really encouraging so there were plenty of positives to take from the day.”

Linlithgow Rose 1, Crossgates Primrose 1.

A VERY good result for Crossgates who handled the challenge of the West Lotihan giants well in this Premier League fixture.

The first period saw both sides look eager to get a goal and Primrose’s Archie Campbell had a couple of good efforts which went close.

To be fair Rose started to mount pressure and took the lead in 17 minutes when the Crossgates defence got into a fankle and the ball took a touch off a visiting defender before it crossed the line.

However, within six minutes the Humbuggers were level. A free-kick on the edge of the box was expertly fired into the net by Scott Lawrie.

The defences were working hard and at the break the game was level.

However, in the second period Crossgates continued to pose real problems for Linlithgow and both Lawrie and Campbell went close to grabbing a second but at the other end there were chances for Rose but visiting ‘keeper Rhory Mooney was in fine form.

As time was running out Primrose were awarded a penalty after the harassed Linlithgow rearguard gave away a foul but Lawrie’s spot-kick was saved. However, a very good point for Primrose.

Newburgh 3, Lochore Welfare 0.

A POOR start to their East of Scotland First Division Conference B programme for the Welfare.

After a good start by Lochore, which saw a couple of shots go close, but a penalty situation sent Newburgh up and running in 20 minutes when Ethan Anderson tried to head the ball back to Ged Crowe only for the ball to run down his arm and hit his hand.

The spot-kick was converted but still Lochore went forward and Calum Murray went close after a Peter Thomson pass set him up and then Sean Cusick saw his finish go just wide.

The second period, however, saw Newburgh take over only for the Lochore defence to respond and keep ‘Burgh out.

However, in the 88th minute a free-kick flew into the net, then in time added on Anderson put his clearance into his own goal to complete a bad day for Lochore.

Manager James Adam reflected: “It was not a good display but there were opportunities in the first-half to get the goals which could have put us in charge.

“However, after the break we lost our way completely.”

Oakley United 3, Lochgelly Albert 0.

LOSING a goal in 35 seconds put the Berts in real trouble at Blairwood Park in this Conference B fixture, see Jim Payne’s pictures from Oakley.

A back header was intercepted and the Oakley striker ran through to open the scoring.

However, Lochgelly gradually got into the game and Darren Clegg went clean through only for the home ‘keeper to save.

But in 37 minutes a corner situation saw two men left unmarked and the ball was headed in to the net to give Oakley a 2-0 break lead.

A third goal in 61 minutes sealed the win for the home side but in the last ten minutes Stephen Stark fired in two great shots which saw fine saves from the Oakley ‘keeper.

So a bad day for the Berts and secretary Ian Patrick reflected: “Oakley are among the favourites for the title and we could not afford to give them a goal in the first minute.

“We are a very young team and losing such an early goal was a real nightmare, but later in the game we fought back but could just not get the goal to get back into the picture.”

This weekend’s fixtures, Saturday, Lowland League: Civil Service Strollers v Kelty Hearts (3pm).

East of Scotland Premier League, Hill of Beath v Hawthorn v Blackburn United 2.30pm; Dundonald Bluebell v Lothian Thistle Hutchie Vale 2.30pm, Crossgates Primrose v Tranent 2.30pm.

East of Scotland League Conference B Lochgelly Albert v Hawick Royal Albert 2.30pm, Lochore Welfare v Peebles Rovers 2.30pm.