ONLY three matches involving local sides took place on Saturday but these produced three wins.

Kelty Hearts maintained their run to stay top of the Lowland League, while in the juniors there were excellent wins on the road for Lochore Welfare and Lochgelly Albert.

Gretna 2008 1,

Kelty Hearts 3.

HEARTS really needed to win this one to keep the pressure on Bonnyrigg Rose at the top of the Lowland League.

Gretna have not had their problems to seek this season and have suffered at Kelty’s hands.

And they opened the game poorly and in two minutes they went behind when the home side gave Hearts dangerman Nathan Austin too much space and his fine shot gave the ‘keeper no chance.

Eleven minutes later the visitors went two up when Gretna gave away a free-kick outside their box and Dylan Easton’s well placed shot flew over the 'keeper.

Then in 21 minutes the home side were three adrift when Sean McKirdy did the spadework and his pass to Ross Philp created the opening for the midfielder fire home.

The home fans must have thought that another thrashing was imminent.

However, their favourites started to come into the game and 11 minutes from the break they pulled a goal back.

The second period saw both teams get chances but the defences were on top of their job.

Austin threatened for Kelty but was denied by a couple of good saves from the home ‘keeper but at the other end Ben Mackenzie had to be on the alert to keep the lead intact.

Gretna certainly looked a lot better organised in this one and at the end of the day Hearts were happy to win the points and stay two points ahead of Bonnyrigg.

Kennoway Star Hearts 0,

Lochore Welfare 3

THE Welfare got off the bottom of the South Super League table for the first time since August with this emphatic win at Kennoway.

Lochore got the perfect start to the game with a goal in 10 minutes when a corner was not dealt with by the home defence and Ethan Anderson appeared at the far post and guided the ball over the line.

As the visitors continued to attack Logan Donaldson saw two fierce shots saved by the Star ‘keeper while the hosts were struggling to put any real pressure on the Welfare.

However, the visitors needed a second goal to get a bit of distance between them and Kennoway and in 35 minutes it arrived.

At a free-kick situation Todd Arthur’s volley was deflected past the ‘keeper by Aaron Wood and it gave the Welfare a good position to be in at the break.

The second period saw Kennoway come more into the game from an attacking point of view but they did not really have many dangerous efforts and Donaldson’s trickery was seeing Lochore create chances and he again saw the home ‘keeper defy him.

However in the 70th minute the points were safe when Nathan Halley’s shot was parried by the Star ‘keeper and Donaldson followed up to score.

There was still time for Lochore to go close again while the visiting defence was very secure.

The result has Lochore on seven points from 10 games, ahead of Harthill Royal on goal difference and six behind Star, but with five games in hand so Super League survival is very much in their own hands.

Welfare boss James Adam was very pleased with the performance: “In the first-half especially we created a number of chances good chances and defended solidly.

“They were struggling to keep tabs on Logan Donaldson and the Star goalkeeper had several good saves from him.

“The win gets us off the bottom and hopefully we can keep stringing together results and put a lot of pressure on Star Hearts and Bathgate Thistle above us.”

The manager confirmed that defender Kearyn Hicks has signed for Hill of Beath, following Joe Kinninmonth to Keirs Park.

“He is a very talented young player and has done well for us over the past couple of years,” said James.

“However, the Haws see his potential and feel he can be a really useful player in the East of Scotland Premier League and I am sure he will do well.”

Linlithgow Rose JFC 1,

Lochgelly Albert 2.

A VERY useful three points for the Berts which moves them up into the top half of the South Division.

This trip to Prestonfield saw them have to be at their best to get the win which takes them onto 23 points from 17 games.

Lochgelly made a good start and James Gunn (pictured bottom) saw the Rose ‘keeper made a great save from his shot, but in eight minutes there was nothing he could do to keep his team level.

A poor pass-back was intercepted by Gunn and he rounded the Linlithgow last line and coolly netted.

As the Berts dominated possession a corner by Ross Gallagher was met by Blair Clark and his header was cleared off the line, then Sami Mitchell saw his effort suffer the same fate.

On the half hour another Gallagher corner was met by Clark and his header was blocked on the line as Rose continued to live dangerously.

In 32 minutes the Berts forced another corner and Craig McGuinness powered in a header which hit the net to double the lead and really Shaun Hunter, in the Albert goal, had hardly been called into action.

The second period was a different story though, although on the hour Liam Mann saw a good shot blocked.

Shortly after Hunter made a great save as Rose started to look much more dangerous.

Lochgelly still had chances though and good work by Mitchell put Gunn in a great position but a fine defensive tackle defied him.

Martin Perrie came on as sub, after being out with a long time injury, and a good piece of play saw him get into a good position but more fine goalkeeping by the Linlithgow ‘keeper kept his effort out.

Rose kept trying and in the closing seconds a fantastic 35 yard shot beat Hunter but it only put a better reflection on the result.

Berts boss Andy Healy was delighted with his team’s performance: “The lads really applied themselves and created some superb chances.

“The defending was solid too and result was just what we wanted to get into the top five.

“Our aim has to be get the results that can consolidate our top half position and try and put pressure on Kirkcaldy above us.”

Saturday’s fixtures, Lowland League, Kelty Hearts v Stirling University (3pm). East of Scotland Premier League, Hill of Beath Hawthorn v Sauchie (2.30), Crossgates Primrose v Dundonald Bluebell (1.30).

Super League, Lochore Welfare v Whitburn (1.30). South Division, West Calder United v Lochgelly Albert (1.30).