Hearts and Haws strengthen status with solid successes

KELTY Hearts strengthened their position in the Lowland League with a good win on the road, while Hill of Beath Hawthorn are nicely placed in the East of Scotland Premier League after two successive home wins, but there was a blow on Saturday for Dundonald Bluebell with a shock home defeat.

Elsewhere there was a tremendous win for Lochgelly Albert but there were defeats for Crossgates, and Lochore.

Civil Service Strollers 2,

Kelty Hearts 3.

HEARTS have won both their matches in the Lowland League, but they trail four clubs by three points, albeit with a game in hand.

Manager Barry Ferguson said pre-season that he expected it to be a very competitive division this term, and CS Strollers, one of the less fancied sides in the division, showed at Christie Gillies Park they are a much improved team.

Indeed, they grabbed the lead early in the game with a good finish but Kelty were soon back in it and a fantastic 25 yard drive from Michael Tidser made the scores level at the break.

Hearts started the second period well and grabbed the lead in 52 minutes when Dylan Easton was pulled down in the box and Kallum Higginbotham converted from the spot.

And when Ross Philp turned in a Paddy Boyle cross to add a third with 23 minutes left it seemed the points were safe but Strollers hit back to make it 3-2 and it meant a more difficult closing few minutes than they would have expected, but they earned full points.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn 2,

Blackburn United 1.

AFTER the horror start to their East of Scotland Premier League programme the Haws experienced last weekend at Tranent, they won in midweek and went into this home match with high hopes of keeping in touch the top of the table group of sides.

They opened impressively and took the lead in 15 minutes when Joe Kinninmonth latched on to Joe Kirby’s assist and tucked the ball into the net.

Then in 25 minutes Kinninmonth made ground into the Blackburn box and was hauled down, allowing Lyle Kellichan to net his third spot-kick in as many matches.

Ryan Connelly twice could have increased the lead before the break but was defied by the visiting ‘keeper.

On the hour United got back in the game in the weirdest of ways when Russell Grierson, in trying to clear outside his box, saw the ball fly off his boot over ‘keeper Stuart Hall’s head for a spectacular own goal.

However, Haws soon took over again and Calum Adamson was defied by a super save and the home side defended well to win the points which puts them on six from two games, three off top spot.

Manager John Mitchell was pleased with the performance, short of several experienced campaigners: “It was a great show but perhaps we should have scored a few more goals.

“We defended well and it was good to get back-to-back wins on the board.”

Dundonald Bluebell 0,

Lothian Thistle HV 2.

BLUEBELL, after two successive wins, found the loss of two players in the first 20 minutes to injury, too much to overcome at Moorside.

In the opening stages Lewis McKenzie saw a good finish defied by a magnificent stop from the Thistle ‘keeper and then Calum Strang’s header was superbly saved.

However, soon after McKenzie, and striker Ross Mutch, had to limp off but still the ‘Bell were in charge and there were a couple of half chances before the break which were not converted.

On the hour Hutchie Vale, with one of their few chances, grabbed the lead, but within minutes Stuart Cargill went close to an equaliser, and then Craig Wedderburn’s header cannoned off the Thistle bar.

However, the equaliser would not come and with five to go Thistle went up the park to grab the goal which sealed the win.

Bluebell boss, Kevin Fotheringham, felt his team did not match Thistle’s work rate: “We warned the lads that Hutchie Vale work really hard and never give you a minute’s peace and we did not match that.

“OK we had several good chances, but we did not play as well as we did in the first two games.”

Crossgates Primrose 2,

Tranent 3.

EAST Premier League shock troops Tranent, made it three wins in a row when they took on Primrose, at Humbug Park, with a last minute winner.

Primrose started the game well and created some early half chances and in 25 minutes went ahead when Darren Aitken finished expertly.

Tranent were struggling to pose many problems for the hosts but Primrose wanted a second and were defied by a couple of good stops from the East Lothian side’s ‘keeper and eight minutes from the break they took advantage to fire in the leveller.

The second period saw both sides create a few decent openings but a goal would not come for Crossgates and then with 18 minutes left Tranent grabbed a second goal.

However, back came Primrose and Aitken squared the game three minutes later.

The home side went for the winner, but Tranent defended well and with seconds to go they grabbed the winner to shock the home troops and stay joint top of the table.

Lochgelly Albert 3,

Hawick Royal Albert 2.

THIS battle of the Berts, in East of Scotland First Division Conference B, saw both teams score some good goals and the local team hold on to get their first win.

Lochgelly opened the game well, despite losing Ryan Cowie to an injury in 12 minutes with Darren Clegg going on, and took the lead in 21 minutes.

A long lob was misjudged by Hawick’s defence and Sammi Mitchell headed home, then six minutes later Stephen Stark headed a second goal for the Gardiner’s Park Berts.

Lochgelly missed two really good chances around the half hour but in 35 minutes Clegg was hauled down in the box and got up to slot home the penalty.

However, Cammy Sneddon had to be carried off four minutes from the break before Mitchell came within inches of a fourth goal for the hosts.

Hawick started to come back into the game in the second period, and in 66 minutes pulled one back and two minutes later converted a penalty to make it 3-2.

However, the local Berts rallied and defended well but it took a fine late save from Shaun Hunter to earn the win.

Secretary Ian Patrick reflected: “It was great to get our first win, however, we had chances to be four or five up at the interval but did not take them and it made for a tight finish.”

Lochore Welfare 2,

Peebles Rovers 5.

BEING on the wrong end of a couple of decisions saw Lochore lose their second successive Conference B game.

Peebles Rovers were the visitors to Central Park and got the benefit of being handed an early lead through some poor home defending.

However, the remainder of the first-half saw Lochore in charge and Aaron Wood levelled and then went close to a second which brought out a great save from the Peebles ‘keeper, before the Rovers’ bar was hit.

Peebles were given a penalty early in the second period and converted it before a 35 yarder made it 3-1, but back came Lochore and Kellar Harris pulled one back.

Then a red card saw Welfare down to ten men and Peebles took advantage to add two late goals.

Said Lochore boss James Adam: “We were a bit short for the game with two guys self isolating and three out injured, but the penalty and red card were key moments and the opposition manager felt these were very harsh. We just can’t get a break at the moment.”

Saturday’s fixtures: Lowland League, Kelty Hearts v Dalbeattie Star 3pm.

East of Scotland Premier League, Lothian Thistle v Hill of Beath Hawthorn 2.30pm, Penicuik Athletic v Crossgates Primrose 2.30pm, Tynecastle v Dundonald Bluebell 2.30pm. East of Scotland First Division Conference B, Hawick Royal Albert v Lochore Welfare 2.30pm. The Soccer Shop Direct Challenge Cup first round, Jeanfield Swifts v Lochgelly Albert 2.30pm.