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Newtongrange Star v Kelty Hearts on 21st June, Derek Hall’s Report

todayJune 25, 2021


Newtongrange Star 0-2 Kelty Hearts
A good pre-season workout for both teams as the hosts welcomed the countries newest Division 2 side to New Victoria Park. Three minutes in and a dangerous cross into the Star box saw Glendinning do really well to turn the ball behind whilst facing his own goals, and soon after a speculative 30 yard drive from Baronjas for the visitors went well wide. After 12 minutes, Cardle got to the goal line but his pull back was well held by home keeper Brennan, before Cardle then sent a 20 yard drive a yard over as play continued to flow towards the Star penalty area and this was then followed up by a Russell drive which was also too high. On 20 minutes, another Cardle cross flew across the six yard area and Webb did brilliantly at the back post to put Baronjas off and get the ball clear. Star’s first real chance of note came on 27 minutes when Porteous tried a left foot angled snap shot on the half volley from just inside the box which Donaldson watched carefully as it flew across the face of goal and wide. Back came Kelty and star performer Cardle put in yet another teasing cross but Russell just couldn’t grow enough to get on the end of it at the back post. On 31 minutes, a Higginbotham cross saw Brennan punch clear and Tidser couldn’t get his follow up effort away but the opener was only delayed 60 seconds, as a free kick 24 yards out saw Tidser’s left foot strike deflect off a head in the wall and despite Brennan re-adjusting brilliantly to make the save to his left, the ball dropped sweetly into the path of Higginbotham who prodded home from four yards. Two minutes later the lead was doubled and this time it was a real thing of beauty as, after a foul on Cardle 25 yards out, Higginbotham stepped up to unleash a rocket right footer from 25 yards which tore into the postage stamp top corner past a helpless Brennan for about as clean a strike as you will ever see. Another Cardle corner dropped at the back post for Forster but he could only find the side net before Cardle set up another chance for Higginbotham which keeper Brennan grabbed at the second attempt. So a thoroughly deserved lead for the visitors at the break with Higginbotham grabbing the goals and Cardle very much to the fore in the creativity department.
A second half of numerous personnel changes for both sides began with a word in the ear of Star’s Bremner from referee Alex Shepherd just to keep things nice and calm. Two minutes later, Star’s Webb again did well at the back to block a Russell effort before some lovely inter passing from Kelty ended with Reilly slipping in O’Connor but he didn’t get hold of his shot from 14 yards and Brennan saved easily. Muir then played a long ball up to Mitchell for the home side which Forster initially misjudged but the experienced former Hibs, Dundee and Plymouth defender got back to retrieve the situation. Another 30 yard drive from Tidser saw keeper Brennan in action once more before Cardle picked out Reilly with yet another cross but home keeper Brennan had his angles right. On 71 minutes, a long ball towards Russell was well defended by Star’s Glendinning who managed to find his keeper with his intercepting header. With ten minutes remaining, a corner into the Kelty box caused some confusion when the ball was allowed to bounce and sub keeper Jamieson appeared to lose his bearings as the visitors managed somehow to scramble the ball clear at the back post. At the other end, nice work from McGinty saw him lay the ball off to McNab but his fierce 18 yard drive was straight at keeper Brennan. Right on 90 minutes, another Reilly drive was well blocked by Star’s Ferguson but an offside flag ended the move before Bridgeford had another go for Kelty and then Russell fizzed in a 20 yard drive which Brennan dived full length to his left to not only save, but also hold. In the end, a comfortable win on the night by the visitors who did the hard work in the first period and then very much managed the game in the second. Star will feel this was a very worthwhile runout against excellent opponents and this will help set them up nicely for some tough games to come.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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