Lauder is hat-trick hero as Kelso hit season’s peak

Kelso United 5 Berwick Rangers Reserves 1

EOS FIRST DIVISION

George Riley reports from Woodside Park

JORDAN Lauder was the hat-trick hero for United as the home team went on to record their best win of the season.

The left winger was instrumental in most of the Kelso attacks and tormented the Berwick defence all afternoon.

A smiling United manager, Prof Blaikie, commented: “We have a good squad of players and this result shows what the boys can do, Kelso should be further up the league but we lack a bit of consistency and the game last week against Easthouses compared to this performance is like night and day.”

The game started at a fast pace and after five minutes, the first chance went the visitors’ way when striker Sam Young laid the ball across the penalty area but midfielder Shaun Hill scuffed his shot.

United went ahead in the 13th minute when a ball from midfield was played through to Aaron Swailes at the edge of the box and as the young striker drove forward towards goal, he was upended by Berwick keeper Connor Wood. Referee Gavin Thomson pointed straight to the spot.

The Berwick keeper almost redeemed himself when getting a hand to the Lauder penalty but the power of the shot took the ball into the net.

Midway through the first half, Berwick had a big shout for a penalty when Young and United full back David Richardson went for a 50-50 ball in the box but with both players in a heap the referee waved his arms to continue play.

Rangers equalised shortly after when Kevin Martin picked up the ball in his own half, ran unchallenged to the edge of the box and curled a shot beyond the diving Gary McBride in the United goal.

It remained all square until five minutes before half time when United were awarded another penalty. This time it was Andrew Renton who tripped up Lauder who again placed the ball well beyond the keeper.

United increased their advantage with seven minutes gone in the second half, a Lauder corner was met by Jamie Swailes whose header hit the underside of the bar before crossing the line.

The home team had their tails up now and kept coming forward and it was no surprise when they notched a fourth. After a good run by Liam Wallace down the right, the midfielder crossed the ball to Lauder who got the final touch to claim his hat trick.

A combination of first Steven Tait and then Gary McBride foiled Sam Young, getting a goal back for the visitors, the United keeper eventually having to save from point blank range.

It was goal number five in the 70th minute when again United pressed and a Lauder cross found youngster Liam Hill. With the Berwick keeper also going for the ball, the two clashed and the ball broke to Wallace who calmly side-footed into the empty goal.

It could have been six with eight minutes to go but Connor Wood made a terrific save to thwart a shot from substitute Jamie Milner.

The visitors did have a late rally when a free kick from Shaun Hill was tipped over by Gary McBride and then Sam Young headed wide from a Michael Robinson corner but it was all too little, too late.

Kelso United: G. McBride, S. Tait, D. Richardson, S. Harker, D. McNulty, J. Swailes, A. Swailes (C. Webb), C. Tait (J. Milner), L. Hill (G. Mabon), L. Wallace, J. Lauder.