Caledonian Braves’ losing streak stretched to three games as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at Lowland League leaders Kelty Hearts on Saturday, writes Roy Campbell.
Early on, Braves’ Ross McNeil capitalised on a mix up in the Kelty defence but couldn’t keep his knock on from crossing over and out of the pitch.
Nathan Austin then forced Alex Marshall into a great double save to deny the league’s top goalscorer McNeil an early opener.
Marshall was again called upon as he kept out Stephen Husband’s fizzed effort before making a remarkable save from a Matty Flynn volley.
The effort was only six yards from goal and hit with pace but Marshy was able to get the slightest of touches to put it onto the bar.
McLaughlin was next to try from distance but fell short before Kelty would open the scoring.
The ball was sent forward to Austin who had time to turn from the byline inside the box and unleash a fantastic strike which thundered into the back of the net.
Craig Quinn came close just before half-time but his shot headed straight at the keeper.
Into the second half and there was another Kelty goal. Austin rose highest in the box and his downward header went into the bottom corner of the net.
Following this Kelty would stroll to the victory. Dylan Easton popped up next with the third.
A great turn on the edge of the box preceded a shot which deflected off David Sinclair and nestled into the opposite corner.
A fourth came a minute later. The Braves defence attempted to play Austin offside but the Englishman had time and space to loop the ball over the oncoming Marshall to grab his hat-trick.
Substitute Serge Makofo did however grab a consolation goal for the Braves.
Makofo showed great work-rate to win the ball from Thomas Scobbie on the byline, cut inside and slot past the Kelty keeper.
This was a tale of two halves as the Braves fell to defeat in Fife.
Braves welcome Civil Service to Alliance Park this Saturday 8, 3pm kick-off.