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Forfar 2 Kelty Hearts 2: Nathan Austin double denies Angus club stunning win over League Two title favourites

Kelty Hearts star Nathan Austin netted twice to deny Forfar victory
Kelty Hearts star Nathan Austin netted twice to deny Forfar victory

Sub Nathan Austin netted a double to deny Forfar a stunning Station Park win over joint leaders Kelty Hearts.

Austin helped his side twice come back from a goal down after Matthew Aitken’s penalty and Craig Thomson’s strike had put the hosts ahead.

But while Kelty are odds-on favourites to run away with League Two, Forfar proved they have the fight to take the title fight all the way.

This had all the hallmarks of a classic and, thankfully, it lived up to that billing.

Kelty started well as they zipped the ball about the park with ease.

Kallum Higginbotham and Joe Cardle looked particularly menacing for the visitors and Higgy’s eighth minute 25 yard effort deflected wide.

Joe Cardle threatened early on for Kelty Hearts at Forfar

Aitken fires Forfar ahead from spot

Forfar keeper Marc McCallum then denied on loan Aberdeen star Connor Barron.

With that, the hosts started to get a grip the game.

Archie Thomas began dominating the midfield and his low 15 yard drive was held by Darren Jamieson.

Jamieson then clattered into Forfar star Aitken and the striker stepped up to slam home the resultant penalty for his third goal in three games.

Forfar had missed their last three spot-kicks but Aitken made no mistake.

Instant Kelty response at Forfar

Kelty Hearts boss Kevin Thomson saw his side battle back twice against Forfar

However, Kelty responded almost immediately with sub Nathan Austin meeting a deflected Barron cross to head home.

With Kelty heavily favoured to win this one, you would forgiven for thinking Forfar had blow their chance.

But this Angus side are made of stern stuff and showed immense battling qualities to force themselves back into it.

Thomas cracked a stunning 20 yard strike off the base of the post to signal Forfar’s intent.

And they took the lead in stunning fashion.

A poor Kelty free-kick was charged down on the edge of the Forfar box with PJ Crossan, Craig Slater and Craig Thomson charging forward on the counter-attack.

The trio combined for Thomson to fire under Jamieson and make it 2-1 at half-time.

Kelty started the second period with purpose.

McCallum did well to turn around a low Jamie Barjonas effort from close range.

And the Fifers made their second half pressure count as poacher Austin scrambled home from close range to make it 2-2.

Kelty had further chances through Austin and sub Alfredo Agyeman but McCallum was on top form to earn his side a point.

Forfar v Kelty Hearts starting line-ups

Forfar: McCallum: Meechan, Strachan, Irvine, Munro, Slater, Thomas, Thomson, Crossan, Shepherd, Aitken. Subs: Sanderson; Steven Anderson, Travis, Grant Anderson, Doris, Hussain, McCluskey, Harkins.

Kelty Hearts: Jamieson; McNab, Hooper, Forster, O’Ware, Tidser, Cardle, Barjonas, Biabi, Barron, Higginbotham. Subs: Donaldson; Black, Austin, Philp, Russell, Agyeman.

Referee – Chris Graham

Matthew Aitken insists Forfar will ‘work in the dark’ as spotlight shines on League Two favourites Kelty Hearts

 

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