Match Report by Jamie Burns.
Kelty Hearts, with two clinical goals at the end of each half, edged out Spartans Development in the SWFL Division Two Cup Final at Ainslie Park.
Kelty got the game underway to start this cup final, with the ball being knocked about the park well by both teams. As both teams started to settle it was Spartans who adapted quicker to the game. Spartans right back, Katie Frew, started the game very brightly and energetically, delivering many balls into the box after some great solo play.
Spartans asserted their footballing ability on this game creating many early chances, the best being Brogan Anderson’s thunderous strike which rattled the post from 30-yards. This was a very lucky let off for Kelty Hearts as an early goal would have filled Spartans with confidence, possibly changing the whole complexion of the game.
Kelty responded well to this early threat from Spartans, creating opportunities for themselves. Kelty striker Debbi To latched onto a long ball from the heart of defence. To controlled the ball very well and made the decision to try to take the ball round the keeper. Unfortunately for To she did not finish as she came tumbling down in the box, possibly via contact by the defender or goalkeeper. This was a huge penalty claim for Kelty but it was waved on by the referee.
As the game progressed Kelty did create some more opportunities. One being an audacious attempt from centre back, Nicola Halfpenny. Her 40-yard effort was nearly awarded with a goal but it was inches over the bar. Halfpenny had a consistent game proving to be tough to get past at the back.
The game now turned slightly scrappy with lots of battles in midfield. Kelty seemed to get the best of these battles as they created a chance from a battle. Their captain, Claire Thomson struck a low powerful shot but it was just wide.
Something seemed to click for Spartans though as the half was ticking on and they dominated the next 15 minutes. Many passes being slipped in and great football being played all round. Spartans striker Leah Boak played very well up front, constantly applying pressure with a great work rate during the whole game. One of her best moments being when she slipped in Brogan Anderson from 30-yards, unfortunately Anderson could not get to it as the ball was put out for a corner. Kelty keeper Angela Comrie was a huge presence from corners, she made an excellent job of them all night not making any mistakes.
Spartans continued to apply pressure however, just before the half time whistle came a Kelty goal, arguably against the run of play on the basis of the chances in the contest. Thomson took the ball well and then, with great technique, lobbed the keeper from outside the box. It was almost the last kick of the half and what a time to score.
Spartans got the second half underway andthey started brightly almost as if the goal they had just conceded did not affect them. Shannon Todd got her head on a great ball in but it swept passed the post very narrowly.
They continued very persistent play into the second half, this time Boak shooting from just outside the box at a very tight, acute angle. She smashed the side netting although it was a great strike from a tough area.
Jessica Nimmo was continuing her pressing play down the right hand side. Within the space of ten minutes she delivered a few great crosses, again no one meeting the ball to capitalise on this.
The game largely followed a pattern of corners and free kicks for both teams for a while. The nerves were starting to creep in for both teams as we approached the 70th minute, with Spartans needing to score they became very attacking and many half chances were created. Jade Stenhouse had the best chance as she attacked a header but it glanced just wide. On another day these may have went in but it was not meant to be for Spartans.
Jade Ferguson was the definition of a super sub and she had an immediate impact in midfield. She then managed to get on the score sheet as she scored a bullet header leaving Spartans ‘keeper, Nicola Martin, with no chance. Ferguson had now ended the game for Kelty thanks to her aerial ability.
Congratulations to Kelty Hearts but commiserations to Spartans as they played a great game but didn’t come out victors. They will feel a bit hard done by as they played so well but did not take their chances.