Kelty Hearts . . . . . . . 4
St Andrews Utd . . . 2
St Andrews United, quite rightly, can feel hard done by to have been on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline at Central Park, Kelty, on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, points aren’t awarded for bad luck which is probably why Saints sit bottom of the Super League after two games.
Last week’s ring fiasco had been resolved so Ricky Patrick was free to resume his role as captain in the middle of midfield but manager Jim Hardie was forced into changes.
Scott Bennett will be missing for a minimum of three weeks owing to the injury suffered at Bonnyrigg so Ryan Sloan took over in goal, with teenager Matt Clarke recalled from his loan spell at Newburgh to provide cover on the bench. Adam Porteous and Kevin Cumming were both on holiday and replaced by a trialist and Gary Sutherland. Finally, Ryan Suttie came in to midfield as Allan Ramsay dropped to the bench.
United started brightly and the pace in the front line immediately caused problems for the home side as Dignan evaded the full back before firing the ball across goal but nobody was available to touch the ball home.
It wasn’t long before Saints took the lead though. Tam Courts conceded a corner after good play from McQuade and, when McMullan whipped the ball in, Sutherland nodded back across goal and Hendry was on the spot as he headed home past Scotland Junior keeper Allan Fleming.
Kelty were awarded a free kick after 16 minutes when Hendry brought down Gray but Smith hit high over the bar. The homesters had claims for a penalty turned down after 18 minutes when Conrad Courts saw a cross chested out for a corner at the near post by Hendry.
However, Kelty were level after Gray found space on the right before feeding the ball to Smith who knocked it to Ritchie and he took it on and fired past Sloan.
MacRae had a chance to restore United’s lead when he was played in by Sutherland but Fleming was off his line quickly to smother the danger.
An error by Fleming led to no less than three chances for Saints as he tipped a deep cross onto the bar instead of over. The ball dropped but the big keeper recovered to make fine saves from MacRae, Sutherland and Dignan.
Fleming made another great save when Dignan put Sutherland in and Suttie incurred the wrath of the referee and was shown a yellow card.
A poor clearance by the United defence dropped to Cargill who found Gray, the Kelty man looked up, picked his spot and curled the ball into the top corner after 38 minutes.
Conrad Courts saw an effort clear the bar and the fence behind the goal after Gray had played the ball to him. Sloan made a great save on the 44th minute to deny Cargill.
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Whatever manager Hardie said to his troops at half time paid off as Saints were level within a minute of the restart when a flowing move by United saw Dignan hit a cross that McQuade flicked on to the overlapping MacRae and the full back rifled the ball past Fleming into the back of the net.
MacRae was flying by now and he beat Philp with ease before cutting the ball back to McQuade but he shot straight at Fleming.
A mistake in midfield saw Conrad Courts attack the United defence and McMullan was at full stretch to concede a corner.
Ritchie made it 3-2 to the home side when he outpaced the defence to slot the ball beyond Sloan but Saints were far from out of it and again attacked Kelty down both flanks through Dignan and MacRae while McQuade pulled the strings in midfield. However, they were unable to make a break through and found Fleming in fine form.
Kelty put a rather unfair look on the final scoreline when Gray converted a penalty awarded for a foul by McMullan on Cargill.
Tomorow’s (Saturday) game against Carnoustie at Recreation Park (k.o 2.30pm) is a chance to halt the run of defeats and put one over their rivals from across the water.