By Connor Ryan
Albion Rovers were well beaten this afternoon by a Kelty Hearts side who showed their class by scoring three unanswered goals, with all three being scored by Nathan Austin.
The match started off as a cagey affair as both sides attempted to gain control of the midfield with little chances being seen from either side. However, Kelty would make the breakthrough just eleven minutes into the game as Nathan Austin bagged his first of the afternoon as he was played in over the top allowing him to smash the ball into the top right hand corner of Binnie’s goal.
Kelty would then continue to impose themselves on the game and show their composure through the back by thwarting any Rovers attempts at getting forward.
Nathan Austin would then be able to double his tally just ten minutes later as a brilliant ball in from the right hand side by Kelty captain Kallum Higginbotham found Austin who managed to rise above the Rovers defence and head the ball beyond Binnie to make it 2-0.
Rovers first big chance of the game would follow just two minutes later as David Wilson seen his strike from the edge of the box smash the crossbar following some good play down the left hand side from Kyle Doherty. Rovers then had multiple opportunities to get a shot off in the Kelty box following a corner but too many passes in the box seen the ball cleared to safety.
Callum Wilson had to be substituted in the 42nd minute after requiring treatment on the pitch and was replaced by Lewis Wilson. Joseph Cardle then went down two minutes later and forced another stop to play but following a short break he was able to carry on.
Both sides would then see chances for the rest of the second half but none really tested either keeper as both defences were kept on their toes. However, Kelty did go into half time looking the better side of the two with great performances being seen from Joseph Cardle, Nathan Austin and Robbie Mcnab.
With the start of the second half, Rovers would start on the front foot as a poor punt up the park from Darren Jamieson in the Kelty goal fell to David Wilson just over the half line but sadly he failed to capitalise and sent his shot straight back at Jamieson.
Kelty would then threaten once more in the 50th minute as El Zubaidi picked up a yellow card resulting in a free kick being sent into the box which led to a Kelty player sending the ball just wide of Binnie’s goal. Kelty would then gain a succession of corners which forced Binnie to tip the ball over the bar but eventually the ball was cleared to safety by the Rovers defence.
Kelty would go on to show their dominance even more as they extended their lead to 3-0 through Nathan Austin again in the 62nd minute as El Zubaidi passed the ball straight to Austin’s feet in the Rovers box, allowing Austin to smash the ball past Binnie.
Eight minutes later, Rovers would make more substitutions which seen Max Wright and El Zubaidi come off and be replaced by trialist Jordon Morton and Alfie Robinson. This would be followed by Rovers seeing their first big chance of the second half as Darren Jamieson done brilliantly to save a strike from distance giving Rovers a corner. The resulting corner was a poor one and easily cleared by the Kelty defence.
Binnie would then go on to make another brilliant save after Higginbotham was played through on goal with ten minutes to go, then Rovers would make another substitution seeing Jamie Leslie be replaced by Paul Sweeney.
Rovers would see one last chance from Lewis Wilson blocked in the last minute but the game would end 3-0 to Kelty Hearts.
Rovers were well beaten throughout the entire game as they were bossed about, by a Kelty side who look set to finish near the top of the table, for the majority of the game. Sean Fagan picked up the man of the match award and Rovers will now set their sights on an away trip to Forfar next Saturday who currently sit 3 points above Rovers in 4th place while Rovers remain 7th after 7 games played. Kelty Hearts remain top of the table with 17 points from 7 games.
Brian Reid’s thoughts during the post-match press conference: