Determined Swifts fight to the end History-makers but Perth side fall just short
sound performance from goalkeeper Mark Mitchell was going to be required.
And in the opening couple of minutes he was forced to beat away a Dylan Easton drive from the edge of the box.
It moved quite considerably in the air but the experienced number one stood tall.
Moments later Swifts should have taken the lead when a deep corner was headed back across goal by Jake Dolzanski. Whitehead connected with the ball from six yards but could not direct beyond Darren Jamieson.
Whitehead was soon sent tumbling to the ground in the Kelty box after a clear push in the back from Scott Hooper.
Loud appeals for a penalty echoed around the stadium but, for reasons unknown, referee Iain Sneddon was not pointing to the spot.
The hosts, whose quality was clear to see, had been keen to keep the ball on the deck in the howling wind and heavy rain. Perhaps the strong gale played a part in their 31st minute opener. But there was no denying that Ryan Shanley connected sweetly with his strike from way out on the right flank. It was a set-back.
Swifts battled and remained in contention. Then a piece of training ground work just shy of the hour mark caught them out to devastating effect.
Experienced Michael Tidser opted not to have a strike from a free-kick situation and instead shuffled the ball to the side of the wall and into the path of Easton. He took a quick touch and rifled high into the net.
Perth players did not throw in the towel. And a lifeline arrived with 20 minutes remaining when substitute Mark Smith’s shot after neat build-up play bounced back off the post.
Fellow striker Chris McLeish picked up the scraps and delicately side-footed into the bottom corner before sprinting to collect the ball from the net.
Connor McLaren went close to a leveller near the end with a well-hit effort which required a goalkeeper’s glove to tip behind for a corner. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
“I thought we more than matched Kelty and were unlucky not to get something out of the game,” said Swifts goalscorer McLeish.
“Conditions were definitely up there with the worst I’ve played in. It was tough but I thought the boys did very well.
“We tried everything in the last 10 minutes. We are obviously disappointed but there were a lot of positives.
“We did ourselves proud against a very good team. We’ve beaten teams in the Lowland League before so we know we can compete at that level.”