Dunfermline Press

Kelty’s ‘optimism and energy’ delights Tidser


MICHAEL TIDSER believes that his Kelty Hearts stars are showing optimism and energy on the pitch after they earned a first-ever win over Alloa Athletic on Saturday.

Ross Cunningham’s brace either side of half- time, despite Cameron O’Donnell’s superb late free- kick in reply, gave the ‘ Maroon Machine’ all three points at New Central Park.

It was a deserved victory for player/ boss Tidser and his men, who had the better of the chances until a flurry from the Wasps in the final 10 minutes.

After losing twice, and drawing twice, with Brian Rice’s team last season, this victory was the ideal way to respond to being defeated by Hamilton Academical the week prior, and keeps up an encouragin­g start to the campaign for Kelty.

Despite not reaching the last 16, they emerged from their Viaplay Cup group with plenty of credit, following wins over Edinburgh City and Stranraer, a pulsating 3- 3 draw at top flight Ross County, and a defeat to Greenock Morton, in which Kelty played well for a substantia­l period.

They’ve now won two of their opening three League One games, which is in sharp contrast to last season, when it took them six matches to chalk up their first victory.

“It was a big turnover. I hate going back to it, but we’re still gelling and still getting to know each other,” Tidser said. “It doesn’t take two, three, four weeks. Sometimes it can take weeks. They’re a great bunch of boys, I love their spirit around training. They’re always optimistic and energetic.

“That’s what I ask. I demand it off them, and they’re starting to show it on the park. It’s a long season, I just want to find that consistenc­y. We can’t be up there and then down there, we need to find a middle ground.”

Tidser made two changes to his team that started against Hamilton, with left back Jamie Walker – absent since the Morton match with injury – returning for Billy Owens, whilst Cunningham was promoted from the bench in place of Tiwi Daramola.

Although it took the contest a while to spark into life, it was Kelty who had the best opportunit­ies in the opening period.

Adam Corbett headed over the bar, and Stefan McCluskey was off target from Walker’s centre, before Alloa keeper PJ Morrison produced a fine block to deny Craig Johnston.

Seven minutes before the break, however, the home side did break the deadlock – and it came from the penalty spot.

Morgyn Neill, who was substitute­d soon afterwards, felled Johnston just inside the area and, despite his protests, Cunningham stepped up to confidentl­y slot home his first league goal of the season.

That seemed to rattle the Wasps, who needed Morrison to react quickly off his line to prevent Johnston latching onto a long ball, before he was unfortunat­e to scoop over from a low Corbett cross.

Rice’s team, though, had a great chance of their own soon after the break when Luke Donnelly was thwarted by Kelty keeper, Kyle Gourlay, but they survived strong appeals for a penalty when Reece Lyon’s header was blocked by Euan Deveney.

A second goal was coming and it duly arrived just after the hour mark.

Lewis Moore was the creator, finding space on the left before pulling it back for Cunningham, who sent a first time effort from just inside the box beyond Morrison for his fourth goal of the season so far.

Kelty were pretty comfortabl­e until the final 10 minutes, when Alloa upped the ante in search of a route back into the game.

Bradley Rodden headed wide when he should have hit the target, and Stefan Scougall sent a speculativ­e effort onto the roof of the net, before O’Donnell, with a fine freekick from around 20- 25 yards out, lashed home in stoppage time.

It wasn’t enough, however, to deny Kelty, and Tidser continued: “The conditions are a bit tough here.

“I thought, first half, we were patient in our play. They sat off us a bit, so it had to be slow build- up at times then that quick pass to get in behind.

“We were good in the first half without creating anything but then we get the penalty, which I thought was one, to be fair, and Rossco sticks it away.

“Second half, I knew it would be a different game with the wind and our second goal is really good play; a lovely cutback from Moorey, and a great finish from Rossco again.

“We’re disappoint­ed to lose the goal at the end. Someitmes you have to just hold your hands up, the boy puts it right in the stanchion.

“That’s probably my only gripe; silly fouls in the final third for them. Other than that, I’m really pleased for the lads. I asked them for a reaction after last week and I thought they showed that.

“I’m pleased to get other boys on the park as well and keep the squad nice and fresh.

“I said that to the lads before the game, that I knew they would be physical. They’ve got good players.

“I’ll be honest, I thought they would have come out more inn the first half and try to get at us.

“It surprised me a wee bit, but that’s not for me to comment on.

“I thought our boys showed a bit of character to get the second goal. As you saw last season, which I don’t like to dwell on, we couldn’t get their number. I’m really pleased we managed to get three points today.”

Goalscorer Cunningham added: “I think it’s a good result first and foremost.

“Alloa are a good team. They’re good at what they do, they’re physical, so I thought for the 90 minutes we matched that, and to win 2- 1 is decent. To score two goals, I’m delighted with that as well.”

KELTY HEARTS: Gourlay, Corbett, Walker, O’Ware, Thomson, Lyon, Johnston ( Biabi 80), Cunningham ( O’Donnell 80), McCluskey ( Daramola 77), Tidser, Moore. Subs not used: Owens, Owens, Cameron, Campbell.

Goal: Cunningham ( 38, pen, 61). Booked: Lyon ( 26), O’Ware ( 56). ALLOA ATHLETIC: Morrison, Deveney ( O’Donnell 60), Donnelly ( Rodden 77), Hetheringt­on, Scougall, Coulson ( Sammon 60), Taggart, Neill ( Graham 41), Roberts, Debayo. Subs not used: Ogayi, Buchanan, Cannon, Rankine, Devine.

Goal: O’Donnell ( 90).

Booked: Neill ( 39), Debayo ( 42), Deveney ( 58), Graham ( 64), Roberts ( 70), O’Donnell ( 88).

Referee: Duncan Williams. Attendance: 370.

THE participat­ion of Athletic in this year’s SPFL Reserve League has been welcomed by manager James McPake.

After taking part in the Reserve Cup last season, in which Dunfermlin­e reached the final, where they lost to Kilmarnock, the club will also compete in league competitio­n.

Featuring nine teams, it is due to kick off on Tuesday, with Greg Shields’ young Pars side travelling to face Dundee, and McPake believes it will benefit their up-andcoming stars.

“I think it’s important for the developmen­t of players,” he explained.

“You see Andrew Tod. He goes out on loan (last season), he didn’t play at Elgin, but he got to play in the Reserve Cup. We can keep an eye on him.

“The benefit of that was that (Nikolay) Todorov was playing, (Paul) McGowan was playing, Paul Allan was playing. (Kane) Ritchie-Hosler played, Ewan Otoo played.

“You’re exposing these young kids to being able to play with them against other teams that are maybe doing the same.

“You see the other side of it when we go to Kilmarnock in the final. They had a really strong side because they were still playing.

“We were finished – we’d just won the league (League One) – but, again, the experience they got from that I think is great.”

As well as giving young players experience, McPake also knows it is an opportunit­y for first team players recovering from injury to build up their match fitness, as well as providing a platform for those left out of action to impress.

“I’m a big believer in reserve football, not just for the young boys,” he continued.

“If the squad is back and it’s healthy, if we get additions, if we have players that aren’t playing, they can let their frustratio­ns out for playing on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.

“It keeps their minutes up. Being a player before, I was one who always wanted to go an play in the reserves if I wasn’t playing, because you had to be ready.

“For those two reasons alone, it is very valuable and I’m looking forward to it.

“The other point is that the tempo isn’t as high; there are no stakes really. You don’t have 5,000 people booing you in a reserve game if you get beat, put it that way!

“You can put people in that maybe aren’t right or just coming back from injury.”

ATHLETIC will welcome special guests to Saturday’s Fife derby with Raith Rovers as they continue to help raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

In the run- up to National Suicide Prevention Week, the football club will host the Dunfermlin­e branch of the Samaritans at KDM Group

East End Park, marking a sixth year that both parties have had a joint working partnershi­p.

The Samaritans, who are the Pars’ main charity partner, are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and respond to around 10,000 calls for help a day across the UK, offering listening and support without judgement or pressure.

Suicide is the leading cause of death of men under 50, and of young people aged between 20- 34 in the UK, and the charity hope that their associatio­n with the football club can encourage those who find it difficult to talk about their problems to contact them.

Eddie Martin, Dunfermlin­e Athletic’s mental health ambassador, said: “Being a community football club, it is a perfect fit that the Samaritans of Dunfermlin­e hold the same values of Dunfermlin­e Athletic.

“We are proud to be partnered with Samaritans of Dunfermlin­e as the club’s main charity partner.

“Both organisati­ons recognise the importance of the wellbeing of the local community, and we look forward to working closely together in fund raising and awareness activities, such as on Saturday, that are designed to benefit both the aims of Samaritans of Dunfermlin­e, and the continued success of the Pars, within the whole community.”

Samaritans of Dunfermlin­e have served the community for over 50 years with emotional support for those in distress and despair. Locally, this year’s campaign will focus on the theme of Time Space Compassion, and Fife’s Health Promotion Service is working in with partners to provide a range of learning opportunit­ies during the campaign week ( September 4- 10).

Anyone who needs to talk can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 or by email jo@ samaritans. org.

 ?? ?? The Kelty Hearts players celebrate Ross Cunningham’s second goal on Saturday, and Cunningham on the ball during the game. Images: David Wardle.
The Kelty Hearts players celebrate Ross Cunningham’s second goal on Saturday, and Cunningham on the ball during the game. Images: David Wardle.
 ?? ?? Kelty goalkeeper Kyle Gourlay make a clean save. Image: David Wardle
Kelty goalkeeper Kyle Gourlay make a clean save. Image: David Wardle
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