Kelty Hearts 1 Annan Athletic 1

CRAIG JOHNSTON'S first league goal for Kelty Hearts was not enough for victory as Annan Athletic fought back for a share of the points this afternoon.

The former Montrose striker's fine finish just after the hour mark put Michael Tidser's team ahead, but Aidan Smith's close-range effort with 12 minutes left gave the visitors a point that, on the balance of play, they will feel they merited.

Botti Biabi saw a first half penalty well-saved by keeper, Greg Fleming, who had conceded it in the first place for felling Johnston.

Peter Murphy's side, however, had opportunities of their own in the opening half and, whilst both teams tried to find a winner late on, the points were shared.

The result leaves Kelty with seven points from their first five matches in League One, and fifth in the table, whilst Annan remain second bottom with four.

Player / boss Tidser made one alteration to his starting line-up from the team that began last weekend's late defeat to Stirling Albion, with Lewis Moore coming in for Ross Cunningham.

Annan, who picked up their first win, and points, of the season last time out against Edinburgh City, fielded former Kelty defender, Scott Hooper, and ex-Dunfermline duo, Wullie Gibson and Fleming.

In the head-to-head between the sides, it was Kelty who held the advantage, with three wins and a draw from their four League Two meetings in 2021/22, when the 'Maroon Machine' won the title.

In their most recent meeting, at Galabank last season, the Fifers came through an SPFL Trust Trophy tie, a feat that had achieved in the first-ever clash between the teams in 2019/20.

It was Annan, though, who started the brighter in the game's very early stages, with Josh Dixon shooting wide across goal, with the contest's first chance, after being slipped in by Smith.

Kelty were gradually working their way back into the game but, in the 17th minute, the suffered a blow when Moore, having gone down in the centre circle, was forced off with injury, to be replaced by Tiwi Daramola.

It was Annan who were threatening again midway through the half when veteran Gibson moved infield away from Daramola and played in Luissint, whose effort across goal finished off-target.

The game was beginning to bubble over, with a few feisty challenges, and on-loan Dundee United midfielder, Lewis O'Donnell, was first to threaten for the hosts with a shot from the edge of the area that was straight at Fleming.

However, Kelty were handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring eight minutes before the break.

Johnston did well initially, playing Biabi in with a fine pass, but Fleming did well to race from his line to block from the forward.

However, as the ball ran loose, Johnston reacted quickest and was taken out by Fleming, with referee, George Calder, pointing immediately to the spot, despite protests from the visiting players.

Biabi was entrusted with the kick but Fleming guessed the right way and stuck up a strong arm to produce a fine save and keep the scoreline level.

Almost straight away, Tommy Goss headed a good opportunity wide for Annan, before Reece Lyon was unlucky to shoot wide for Kelty after good set-up work by Johnston.

The hosts, though, hadn't been at their best in the opening period, and still Annan pressed after the break.

Dominic Docherty and Matthew Douglas, twice with headers, had efforts, before the visitors had a huge escape just before the hour.

In what was a huge scramble in and around the line, with Biabi in the thick of it, Kelty couldn't force it home amidst desperate defending, and Johnston, moments later, had an effort blocked.

Kelty, though, broke thge deadlock in the 62nd minute when Biabi sent Johnston running in on goal and, cool as you like, he produced a clinical finish to shoot beyond Fleming and open the scoring.

Tommy Goss brought a save out of Kyle Gourlay for Annan, before substitute Cunningham curled over at the other end.

Another man brought off the bench, James Graham, fired a good effort just wide of goal for the visitors as the game moved into the final quarter of an hour, and he had a huge hand in Annan's leveller 12 minutes from time.

He led a fine break down the right with fellow sub, Finlay Cross-Adair, and Graham supplied the ball across the six-yard box for Smith to finish from close range.

The visitors then sat deep as they sought to protect a point, but Graham, in stoppage time, ran in behind Kelty's defence on the break and shot over with what was a decent chance.

Cunningham, with the final kick, saw a shot deflected behind but there was no time for the corner as the spoils were shared.

Match stats

Kelty Hearts: Gourlay, Corbett, O'Ware, Thomson, Walker, Lyon, Tidser (B. Owens 86), O'Donnell (Cunningham 57), Biabi, Johnston, Moore (Daramola 17).

Subs not used: McCluskey, L. Owens, Cameron, Campbell.

Goal: Johnston (62).

Booked: O'Donnell (40).

Annan Athletic: Fleming, Gibson, Kilsby, Hooper, Douglas, Dixon (Johnston 86), Luissint, Docherty (Hunter 72), Smith, Goss (Cross-Adair 72), Galloway (Graham 45).

Subs not used: Mitchell, Muir, Campbell, Nugent.

Goal: Smith (78).

Booked: Docherty (29), Luissint (31).

Referee: George Calder.

Attendance: 346.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-1PARS

CHRIS HAMILTON'S late header ensured Dunfermline left Inverness with a share of the spoils in their Championship clash this afternoon.

The vice-captain headed in debutant Owen Moffat's centre, from a short corner, to give James McPake's team a precious point after Nathan Shaw's opener for the hosts.

There was a welcome sight on the visitors' bench as Kane Ritchie-Hosler, missing since their first pre-season friendly with FC St Pauli with an ankle problem that required surgery, was named in the squad.

He had come through almost 75 minutes of Tuesday's reserve match with Dundee, providing a boost to a Pars side looking to bounce back following last weekend's Fife derby loss to Raith Rovers.

Boss McPake made two changes to his starting eleven, with Rhys Breen dropping to the bench in favour of Chris Hamilton, whilst on-loan Celtic midfielder, Ben Summers, was handed his first start in place of Craig Wighton, who was absent from the squad.

Deadline day loan signing Moffat, who arrived from Blackpool yesterday, was also amongst the substitutes.

Summers and Sam Fisher both had early efforts for the Pars - who, prior to this one, had won just three of 20 league visits to Inverness - but they fell behind to the league's bottom side in 12 minutes when Nathan Shaw's effort found the net via the post.

Cameron Harper and Charlie Gilmour both had attempts for Caley Thistle as they tried to capitalise on their early lead, while Josh Edwards shot over for the Pars.

Gilmour, again, sent an effort just off-target for the hosts, but one goal was all that separated the sides at the break.

Michael O'Halloran had a couple of efforts for the Pars after half-time and then, on the hour, both Moffat and Ritchie-Hosler were introduced from the bench.

Captain Kyle Benedictus, who was substituted minutes later, had a header saved by Mark Ridgers before Hamilton headed home the equaliser.

Edwards had an effort blocked by Ridgers moments later, before Fisher and sub, Andrew Tod, sent shots over in stoppage time, but it ended all-square.

Dunfermline are seventh, with five points from four games, while Inverness stay bottom despite picking up their first point of the season.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Ridgers, Duffy, Harper, Devine, Gilmour, Carson, McKay, Anderson, Boyes, Shaw, Brooks.

Subs: Delaney, Doran, Samuels, Davidson, Lodovica, Longstaff, Bray, Thompson, MacKay.

Goal: Shaw (12).

Pars: Sharp, Comrie, Hamilton, Benedictus, Fisher, Otoo, Chalmers, Summers, McCann, O'Halloran.

Subs: Ritchie-Hosler, Breen, Moffat, Allan, Fenton, Sutherland, Tod, Little.

Goal: Hamilton (80).

Meanwhile, in the Lowland League, Ciaren Chalmers and Jamie Docherty gave Cowdenbeath a 2-0 win at Berwick Rangers.