First Team

Braves slip to narrow defeat against Kelty

2nd November 2020

It was a wet and windy Halloween as champions Kelty visited Alliance Park looking to maintain their 100% record in the league, but the Caledonian Braves were looking to provide a fright to Hearts early season form.

The Braves had a good result on Tuesday with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Dalbeattie Star and Ricky Waddell's men will feel hard done by not to have gained something from this encounter.

Hearts went ahead after ten minutes as defender Scott Hooper headed home from a Dylan Easton corner in the six yard box, in what proved to be the only goal of the game.

Despite the blustery conditions, both teams should be commended for trying to play some nice football. The first half was fairly even, with the best of the Braves' efforts coming from David Winters - a long range shot just going over the bar on the 12th minute.

The Braves' defence were keeping any chances from Kelty at bay and forcing the Fifers into a lot of sideways passes. The Jambos had a couple of long-range efforts, the closest coming from Kallum Higginbotham near the half-hour mark. There was a slight claim for a penalty when, in the 37th minute, Bouchentouf took on two men in the box and fell to the ground but nothing was given.

As the second-half got underway it was more of the same, with neither team really getting on top until the last 15 minutes when Braves started to really apply some pressure.

Hearts replaced their new signings, Higginbotham and Anderson, with former Braves player Matty Flynn and Robbie McNab, proving the Braves defence were having a good day. The Hearts captain, Michael Tidser, then had a long range effort sail past Marshall's post.

Braves first substitution saw Winters replaced by McLaughlin after the hour mark, and 'Neily' added a bit more composure to the midfield before providing the best chance of the day as he looked to add to his collection of world-class strikes.

He picked the ball up approximately 30 yards and sent in a strong effort that was slightly too close to Darren Jamieson in the Hearts goal as he palmed it over.

At this stage the only team who looked likely to score were Braves and just before full time, Guthrie was fouled. Every player, bar keeper Alex Marshall, was in the 18 yard box, but Jamieson snuffed out any chance by collecting the ball safely.

Ricky Waddell and his players will take a lot of positives from a game against a team already looking like they will be in title contention again, and more performances like the last two will see Braves pick more wins up along the way.

Braves: Marshall, Reid, Dowie, Forrester, Walker, Guthrie, Docherty, Sinclair, Smith, Winters, Bouchentouf
Subs: Chardon, McDowall, Watson, McLaughlin, Slattery

Kelty: Jamieson, Stevenson, Boyle, Hooper, Hill, Reilly, Higginbotham, Tidser, Anderson, Easton, Philp
Subs: Donaldson, Reid, Scobbie, Bembo, Flynn, McNab, Russell

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