KELTY Hearts strengthened their place at the top of the Lowland League while Hill of Beath Hawthorn rattled in nine to stay joint top of East of Scotland League Conference A.

Saturday’s football card also saw Lochore Welfare win with style against Bathgate Thistle.

Kelty Hearts 2,

Gala Fairydean 0.

THIS was a big day for Hearts as new boss Barry Ferguson took charge of his first Lowland League game and a good crowd was at New Central Park to see the Borders side try to stop the Kelty charge to league football.

The visitors are in the lower half of the table but have been playing with a lot of solidity in their play and they certainly were no easy opposition.

But Hearts were determined to give their new boss a good start and opened strongly in front of an impressive 560 fans.

To be fair to Gala they defended pretty well but there were a few close calls from Stuart Cargill before in ten minutes the club’s top scorer found a trademark finish to put the home side ahead.

Fairydean were struggling a bit and when Ciaran Chalmers fired in a header in 26 minutes things were looking good for the hosts.

But gradually the Gala midfield started to do much better and stop the supply to Cargill and Matt Gay although a shot came back of the Fairydean bar before the break.

The second period did not see many good chances at either end as defences did well and there were no more goals, although East Kilbride’s defeat by CS Strollers has given Hearts a three point lead at the top of the table with a game more played.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn 9,

Arniston Rangers 0.

AN eighth successive EoS League Conference A win for the Haws and this was as emphatic as it gets.

Hill of Beath were 6-0 up at the break as the East Lothian side struggled badly to contain the home side.

Haws took the lead in 15 minutes when Lewis Elder netted from close in after a good home move and five minutes later Daniel Watt’s header from a Greg Smith corner doubled the advantage.

As Arniston were chasing shadows Elder scored again from close in then Calum Adamson fired in another.

So by just after the half hour the game was virtually over but before the break Lee Reid headed in another Smith corner and Adamson scored again.

There was little respite for Rangers in the second period and goals continued to come and Elder and Adamson completed their hat-tricks while Rikki Dair also netted to give Haws another big win.

They sit on 24 points, three behind Penicuik with a game in hand and manager Kevin Fotheringham was much happier than he was with the win at Hawick: “That was like night and day compared with last week.

“We played some really good football and the finishing was excellent and this time we kept our foot on the gas throughout the 90 minutes.”

Dundonald Bluebell 3,

Boness United 3.

THIS turned into a thriller as Bluebell missed the opportunity to add another three points to their EoS League Conference B tally against a team who finished the game short handed.

Dundonald opened the game well and took the lead in 20 minutes when Barry Sibanda scored from close in but United came back at them and levelled from a spot-kick after a foul in the ‘Bell box then the visitors had a man red carded.

There were chances for both sides before the break but when the whistle went the game was level.

The ‘Bell opened the second-half well and looked like scoring and they regained the lead in 55 minutes after a fine move when Ross Drummond scored a well taken effort, but back came Boness and they squared the game.

Dundonald had a great chance to retake the lead in 70 minutes when Archie Campbell missed from the spot but restored the advantage in the 75th minute when Scott Durie finished well and there were other chances for the home side to move out of sight.

Bluebell went for more goals but failed and credit to United for they got an equaliser late on to leave the Moorsiders on 20 points from nine games and two behind leaders Bonnyrigg Rose.

Bluebell manager Jason Dair was disappointed not to pick up full points: “We literally missed a couple of sitters before they got the late equaliser.

“It was a real case of two points dropped.”

Crossgates Primrose 2,

Burntisland Shipyard 1.

A FIFE derby for Humbug Park fans, in EoS League Conference B, and it turned into a really tight affair.

The first 45 minutes saw defences dominate but to be fair Primrose had the better of things.

The home side created the better chances but their finishing was off target in the first period.

Crossgates started the second-half well and got the breakthrough in 65 minutes when Steve Hynd scored a well taken goal from close in.

But the home defence chose to switch-off and within two minutes the Shippy were level.

For a spell Shipyard looked to be looking for all three points, but Crossgates got a grip of the game and in 75 minutes Darren Aitken got number two to win the game and take the home side onto 12 points in mid-table.

Newburgh 3,

Lochgelly Albert 1,

THE Berts paid for some poor defending in this South Division clash on the Tay coast.

New Albert boss Andy Healy watched the game and the former Lochore boss will know that he has work to do to get the Berts up the table.

Yet Byron McGuigan failed from close-in inside a few minutes when he allowed the ‘keeper to smother a good chance and in virtually Newburgh’s first attack a low cross was slid in to the net.

Then five minutes later it was 2-0 when a free header was accepted.

However, for a spell Lochgelly started to look much better and they might have got on the scoreboard but on the half hour more indifferent defending saw a long ball not dealt with and it was 3-0 for Burgh.

However, the Berts came back and the home defence got in a right mess and there was Aaron Gowans to pull one back.

The second-half saw neither side create many good chances but late on the Berts thought they had a second only to see the ball cleared off the line.

Berts secretary Ian Patrick was pleased to be able to announce Andy Healy’s appointment: “We know what a good job Andy did at Lochore and we hope he can produce the same at Gardiner’s Park.

“It is not a pleasant feeling being bottom of the table but hopefully that will change in the coming weeks.”

Lochore Welfare 3,

Bathgate Thistle 1.

WELFARE produced a good all round performance and they collected three points from a side who were once one of the best teams in the country.

Caretaker boss James Adam encouraged his young team to go out and take the game to Thistle and they soon had the visitors under real pressure.

They had to defend well but eventually they fell behind when Kearyn Hicks pounced from a set piece.

This gave Welfare confidence and went looking for a second and came close twice before Sean Johnstone fired in number two.

To be fair to Bathgate they looked decent in some raids and before the beak they pulled one back.

However, in the second period it was Lochore who had the momentum and there were several close calls for Thistle which they survived but there was nothing they could do to stop Ethan Anderson’s piledriver ensuring all three points were staying in Crosshill and take the club up to seventh spot.

Caretaker boss Adam was delighted with the performance: “We started the game very well and deserved to be two up but Bathgate came back at us before the interval.

“In the second-half we were much the better team and Ethan Anderson’s goal was a great way to collect the win.”

Saturday’s fixtures, Lowland League Kelty Hearts v The Spartans (3pm). East of Scotland League Conference A, Leith Athletic v Hill of Beath Hawthorn. EoSL Conference B, Dundonald Bluebell v Dunipace, Crossgates Primrose v Tynecastle.

South Division, Thornton Property East Region League Cup, Kirkcaldy YM v Lochore Welfare, Pumpherston v Lochgelly Albert (all games 2pm).