Kelty Hearts made it consecutive draws on the road against full-time opposition after holding league leaders Dunfermline 0-0 in the final West Fife derby of the season.
There was no lack of endeavour from the Pars in front of a more sparsely populated KDM Group East End Park than in recent fixtures.
Dunfermline controlled the ball for much of the game but didn’t test Darren Jamieson in the Kelty goal nearly enough.
📝No changes for Dunfermline, which could be the first time this season. Kelty Hearts make one, bringing in Darren Lyon for Tam O'Ware. pic.twitter.com/lKERpGt6qh
— Craig Cairns (@craigcairns001) April 1, 2023
With Falkirk dropping points away at Clyde it means Dunfermline maintain their 11-point lead at the top of League One.
It was an even enough start to the game but Kelty were forced to retreat as the first half progressed.
Kane Ritchie-Hosler continued his excellent recent form and was a menace down the right, setting up the first chance of the game for Craig Wighton but his header was matched by Darren Jamieson.
The Kelty keeper had to be alert once again to save from Ritchie-Hosler but the Rangers loanee didn’t catch his shot well after linking with Robbie Mahin and cutting inside.
Kelty caused the home side a few issues early in the half but the closest they came was direct from a Joe Cardle corner that Deniz Mehmet had to react to.
Manager John Potter had to look to his bench around 10 minutes before the break when Nathan Austin went down injured.
He was replaced by teenage youth product Finlay Shearer.
The best chance of the opening 45 minutes came just before it ended.
Again Ritchie-Hosler was at the heart of it, skipping away from Lewis Martin before firing in a low cross but Wighton connected poorly with it.
The second half followed a similar pattern but with fewer chances.
Substitute Paul McGowan – part of a triple change not long after half-time came closest with a header that looped just beyond the far post – again from a Ritchie-Hosler delivery.
One of the three subs brought on early in the second half, Paul McGowan went close with a looping header not long after coming on, again from a Ritchie-Hosler cross.
Chris Hamilton went down in the box under the challenge of Kanayo Megwa but was booked for simulation by referee Calum Scott.
Dunfermline star man
It’s becoming a bit of a theme but the Rangers youngster was again on his game.
Ritchie-Hosler glided past opponents and put in dangerous crosses time and time again but none was finished off.
Kelty Hearts star man
It was a match with few chances for Kelty but, as they did at the Falkirk Stadium the previous week, they were solid defensively.
Aberdeen loanee Jack Milne was excellent in centre midfield against Falkirk and was just as good in central defence at Dunfermline in the absence of Tam O’Ware.
He benefitted from having the experience of Jason Thomson alongside him but looks very assured for such a young player.
Managers under the microscope
In a rare move by James McPake he stuck with the same lineup from the previous week.
There were no changes in personnel at the break but the Pars switched to a back four, followed soon after by a triple change.
There was one change for Kelty, with Tam O’Ware dropping g out for Darren Lyon, and John Potter was forced into another shortly before half-time when Austin was taken off injured.
Didn’t go out to defend but inevitably found themselves having to do so for large parts.
It was another competitive performance against a full-time team – not just in the last two weeks but over the course of the season.