Kelty Hearts 1 Elgin City 1
cinch SPFL League Two

KALLUM Higginbotham scored a superb last-minute equaliser as Kelty remained unbeaten in the league.

The midfielder fired home a 25-yard piledriver to cancel out Archie MacPhee’s first-half penalty.

Kelty had dominated early proceedings but fell behind when Dougie Hill was adjudged to have brought down an Elgin City man in the box on 29 minutes.

MacPhee duly converted and left Kelty work to do in order to preserve their unbeaten start to life in League Two.

With just moments left to play, it was ex-Dunfermline man Higginbotham who would prove to be their saviour as he struck from distance with 90 minutes on the board to earn a well-deserved point.

How did it play out?

Kelty should have been a goal up after 40 seconds. Jamie Barjonas did well to flick the ball to the onrushing Alfredo Agyeman inside the box and the striker had just Thomas McHale to beat but he couldn’t find the net. He failed to get his laces through the shot and it was kept out by McHale’s feet from just six yards out.

Agyeman would turn provider as Kelty threatened again on 19 minutes. He set Joe Cardle through with a neat pass and after the winger twisted and turned in the box, his shot was well dealt with by McHale once more.

Moments later the man between the Elgin sticks had to be alert again as Jamie Barjonas nearly scored a one-man effort. He picked up possession on the halfway mark and drove forward. With no passing options available, he had a go himself and his drive stung the palms of McHale down low.

Agyeman would then be replaced midway into the half as a foul from Darryl McHardy forced him to limp off for Nathan Austin.

Kallum Higginbotham would try to score through a back-post volley from a Cardle free-kick, but it was at an angle and he was off-balanced, leading to the ball flying over.

It was all Kelty but it was the visitors who went ahead. Archie MacPhee swung a deep free-kick into the box and Dougie Hall was adjudged to have conceded a foul. The referee pointed to the spot and MACPHEE sent Darren Jamieson the wrong way from 12 yards. He scuffed his effort but it went in as Kelty conceded yet another penalty this season.

That was the difference at half-time as Kevin Thomson and his men were left to rue missed chances in a frantic encounter.

Half-time: Kelty Hearts 0 Elgin City 1

Kelty introduced Cammy Russell at half-time for Scott Hooper as they moved to a more attacking shape but they struggled after the interval to create chances.

Nathan Austin had the best of them on 50 minutes when he rose well in the box but he couldn’t aim Russell’s delivery either side of McHale in the Elgin goal.

Kelty looked devoid of ideas as wave after wave resulted in a loose pass, Elgin clearance or free-kick to the visitors.

Kevin Thomson decided to put Thomas O’Ware on to support Austin as Kelty continued to play directly and in the air, eventually having five men in attack.

O’Ware nearly scored from a corner on 85 minutes. A drilled ball made its way through the penalty box and it hit O’Ware with the goal at his mercy, but it struck the defender-turned-striker's thigh and flew over after seeing it late.

Joe Cardle’s delivery from a deep free-kick nearly ended with a goal but Jordon Forster didn’t get enough on his half-volley to test McHale as the ball ended up in his gloves.

Kelty’s determination eventually paid off though as Higginbotham rescued a late point. The forward let loose from 25 yards and his strike flew past a diving McHale and into the net.

It sparked wild scenes around New Central Park and it could prove to be a vital point in Kelty’s quest for the League Two title this season.

Full-time: Kelty Hearts 1 Elgin City 1

Kelty Hearts: Jamieson, Hooper, Hill, Forster, McNab (Peggie 66): Philp, Black (O’Ware 78), Barjonas: Higginbotham, Agyeman (Austin 22), Cardle.

Subs: Donaldson, Finnan.
Booked: Hill, Forster.
Goal: Higginbotham (90).

Elgin City: McHale, Grivosti (Cooney 66), McHardy, Little, Mailer, Spark: T.Dingwall (Sopel 70), R.Dingwall, MacEwan (Peters 78), MacPhee: Cameron.

Subs: Hoban, Allen, Lawrence, Machado, O'Keefe.
Booked: Spark, McHale, R.Dingwall.
Goal: MacPhee (pen, 29)

Referee: Lloyd Wilson
Attendance: 608