On Tuesday, I ticked New Central Park off of my list as I watched Kelty knock Kilmarnock Colts out the newly named Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.
Barry Fergusons men ran out comfortable 4-0 winners on the evening and look a side to watch out for this season in the Lowland League.
The Hearts took the lead on the 25th minute through Murray Carstairs and the lead never looked in doubt as they went on to score three more as Nathan Austin, Robbie Mutch and Scott Linton also scored in a result that could have easily been six or seven-nil.
Kelty started the much better and stronger side from the outset and to be honest the game was a prime example of the definition” Men against boys”.
The first chance of the evening came on the tenth minute, when Luke Barlow took a heavy touch outside his own box which allowed Ross Mutch to steal the ball and have a shot at goal which was tipped around the post by Curtis Lyle.
On the 15th minute, a fantastic flick on by Nathan Austin sent Mutch on his way down the wing before he drove into the box. The 20-year-old was just about to unleash his effort at goal, but Ewan McLevy tracked back and made a vital last ditch challenge to stop a goal-bound effort.
It was Thomas Reilly who was next to go close for The Hearts, as he found himself in space 25 yards from goal, before his powerful effort whistled by the left-hand post.
It only looked a matter of time until Kelty broke the deadlock and they deservedly done so on the 25th minute, when a teasing free-kick by Stephen Husband was flicked home by Murray Carstairs at the front-post.
Barry Fergusons men doubled their lead through Austin, who has been a significant addition for The Maroon Machine. A long ball was taken to the corner by Austin before laying it off to Gary Cennerazzo. His deep cross found Scott Linton at the back-post and he unselfishly squared it across goal for Austin to tap home from a couple of yards out.
Half Time- Kelty 2-0 Kilmarnock U21
Kelty weren’t messing around as they made it 3-0 within three minutes of the re-start. Austin was involved once again as this time he battled by few Killie defenders and slid the ball through towards Mutch, who beat his man and coolly slotted it home past Lyle.
The game was well and truly over by the 50th minute and a few of the Killie youngsters were beginning to show some inexperience which led to a few dirty challenges and a couple of them losing their heads.
The next chance didn’t come until the 72nd minute when some brilliant interplay between Austin and Mutch led to Lyle coming off his line and nearly getting caught out.
The fourth goal came via a defensive mistake. A cross-field pass by Barlow was intercepted by Austin, who took a touch and burst through towards goal and was cynically brought down in the process. However, Scott Linton stepped up and curled a beauty into the top left-hand corner to round off a fantastic night for Kelty and a earn them a place in the second round against League Two side, Annan Athletic.
Full Time- Kelty Hearts 4-0 Kilmarnock U21
Kelty were a joy to watch on Tuesday and I’m glad decided to go. I’ve had them on my list since I saw how heavily they had invested during the summer and I was keen to see what Barry Ferguson has done. Nathan Austin is a real class act and it’s fair to say he could easily still play for Inverness, where he was signed from. He will easily score 20+ goals this season, in fact he is already 1/4 of the way there after just 3 competitive games.
Kilmarnock were disappointing, but to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from them. They just weren’t anywhere near as strong as Kelty who were brilliant.
After watching both Kelty and East Kilbride I think The Hearts are a better side and I’ll be surprised if they don’t give Kilby a decent run for the Lowland League title this season.
What The Managers Said;
Barry Ferguson told Kelty’s YouTube channel in his post match interview
” I thought our attitude and desire to go and close down and do the right things we spoke about was there and the boys throughly deserved their win”
Kilmarnock U21 boss Andy Millen, told the Kilmarnock FC website that he hope his players will learn about the jump to senior football and believes it will be a valuable learning experience going forward for the Killie kids.
He said ” Obviously you don’t like losing games, but the biggest thing was about showing the players the jump they need to take.”
After watching his side made a few costly errors he stated ” At senior level if you make mistakes you will be punished”
Kelty Hearts XI
McKenzie, Cennerazzo, Linton, Carstairs, Ashe, Reilly, Husband, McKirdy, Austin, Philp, Mutch
Subs- Cargill, Campbell, Dodd, Ritchie, Jardine
Kilmarnock U21 XI
Lyle, McCraken, McLevy, Barlow, Lynch, Ross, Barr, Brindlay, Cameron, Monk, McDonald
Subs- Walker, Walker, Warnock, Deveney, Sloan, Russell