Peterhead 2 Kelty Hearts 1

Sep 18, 2022

Ten-man Peterhead picked up their first three-point haul of the season thanks to not one, but two, cracking goals from Conor O’Keefe as visitors Kelty Hearts were seen off 2-1.
O’Keefe scored long distance strikes either side of a Jamie Barjonas goal for the Fifers with the Blue Toon handling the dismissal of Chris Kisuka just before the break by showing a resilient side to their game.
Balmoor boss Jim McInally had to shuffle his pack with Max Gillies ruled out and David Wilson started in his place with Prince Annor Asare making way for a fit again Andy McDonald in a 4-1-4-1 line-up. Peterhead forced a couple of early corners and Ryan Strachan, who was playing in the defensive shield midfield role, almost opened the scoring after five minutes however his close-range shot struck a post. The Blue Toon had much better fortune a minute later when O’Keefe spotted Kelty goalkeeper Darren Jamieson off his line and lobbed a shot over him from 20 yards. The visitors looked to hit back quickly and Joe Cardle came off his wide-role to fire for goal three minutes later but thankfully for the hosts his shot was blocked. The game that went through a scrappy phase with referee Steven Kirkland keeping himself busy by issuing cautions to Peterhead captain Paul Dixon as well as the visiting Jason Thomson and Kallum Higginbotham. On 28 minutes Jordan Forster looked to trouble Tom Ritchie in the home goal however his shot was charged down before the shot-stopper was required to make a save. Three minutes later Kisuka went into the book for a foul on Darren Lyon. Kelty won three corners in a five-minute spell however the Blue Defence stood firm from the set-pieces as they also did when Higginbotham had a pop at goal on 40 minutes. Just when it looked like manager McInally was going to have the easiest half-time team talk of the season, the dynamics of the game changed in injury time, with Kisuka tripping Michael Tidser to pick up his second yellow. Peterhead came out with a re-jigged tactical line-up with O’Keefe attacking on his own and Ryan Strachan dropping deeper to help his defensive colleagues however before the changes had time to bed in Kelty equalised. On 50 minutes Nathan Austin found space to fire towards the hosts’ goal with Jamie Barjonas on hand to nod in the rebound after his striking colleague’s effort came back off the bar. Kelty sensed that home hopes of a win had taken a hit, and they moved to take the lead within the next five minutes, with Austin and Higginbotham firing wide before Austin forced Tom Ritchie into a save. Peterhead showed their mettle by weathering the storm and playing themselves back into the game with Ryan Dow leading a charge before firing a shot wide on 56 minutes. Danny Strachan replaced Dixon shortly afterwards with O’Keefe almost snatching a superb second just after the hour mark with a rocket shot from 25 yards that just flashed wide of Jamieson’s goal. Kelty did not heed that warning and on 64 minutes they lost possession just inside their own half with O’Keefe taking full advantage by smashing a shot from 40 yards high into the visitors’ goal. It was a stunning goal and the striker’s team-mates rushed to him to celebrate. Despite their numerical handicap three points were within Peterhead’s grasp and Jack Brown looked to create a two-goal advantage two minutes later only for Jamieson to save. The Blue Toon got a fright on 69 minutes when Barjonas clipped the woodwork with manager McInally making a second change on 77 minutes when two goal hero O’Keefe was replaced by Robbie McGale. Kelty pushed and probed for an equaliser with Lyon and substitute Nicky Low denied before a third home change was made with Jordon Brown replacing Jack Brown who had put in a fine display in midfield. In added on time Forster shot over the bar and after Jack Wilkie had been fouled by Scott McGill the final whistle was sounded with everyone of a Blue and White persuasion delighted with the effort put in by the team.
Peterhead – Ritchie, Wilson, McDonald, Jason Brown, Wilkie, O’Keefe (McGale 77), Dow, R Strachan, Jack Brown (Jordon Brown 88), Dixon (D Strachan 56), Kisuka
Unused substitutes – Asare, Scullion, McLeod, Wood (G/k)
Jim McInally after-match
Conor O’Keefe after-match