Kennoway Star Hearts’ hopes of preserving their Superleague status suffered another blow after a 4-1 defeat to title contenders Penicuik Athletic.
Two goals from Ponton and efforts from Kateleza and Jones rendered Rolland’s effort on 51 minutes barely a consolation as Kennoway remained in second bottom, four adrift of Jeanfield Swifts before hosting Camelon.
This was the first meeting between Penicuik and Kennoway Star Hearts and after defeat to Rob Roy in the Scottish Cup the previous week, KSH were rocked with five defenders unavailable.
Forced into playing two wingers at full back and a midfielder in the centre of defence, it was pretty much a makeshift defence that lined up in what was to provide another action packed game.
Penicuik took the lead in the tenth minute when Kateleza set up Ponton who shrugged off the tackle to drill the ball low past keeper Paterson for his first Penicuik goal.
Despite the heavy pitch and unfavourable overhead weather both teams got the ball down and played football that was easy on the eye. In particular C.Gay skippered the away side with real authority.
At the other end, A Kennoway free kick from the edge of the penalty box flew high over the bar. Penicuik then had a chance to double their lead as Jones’ strike beat the keeper, but was cleared off the line.
It was an open and attacked-minded match and the sizeable crowd were revelling in the play of both sides.
Right on the half time whistle, a hammer blow for KSH as Jones set up Kateleza and he finished with a powerful shot through a ruck of players.
Kennoway started the second half strongly and with the Penicuik defence under pressure, pulled a goal back in the 51st minute. Following a corner to Kennoway the ball was crossed in to the back post from Collins that saw Rolland rise above his marker to head home from six yards.
With a real desire to force themselves back into the game KSH looked a threat with every attack.
Cordery pulled off an excellent save to deny Shaw, the wide man picked the ball up forty yards from goal and advanced before unleashing a powerful shot that saw the `keeper dive high to his right and palm the ball clear.
A fine run and shot from M.Gay saw the ball crash back off the post and into the path of Bryce who hit his shot first time goal-wards only to see a last ditch clearance from a defender.
Pressure continued to mount on the hosts with an equaliser looking likely. However Penicuik knocked the stuffing out of the Fife side when a cruel deflection from a Jones’ shot left Paterson helpless and KSH with a mountain to climb with eighteen minutes remaining.
Three minutes later a free kick was conceded on the edge of the Kennoway box and Ponton stepped up to score with a expertly delivered shot that crashed in off the post. A harsh lesson after such a promising effort from the away side.