Kelso United 2
Leith Athletic 4
United found the loss of five team regulars too much as they went down to promotion-chasing Leith Athletic, writes George Riley.
The home side found themselves three down at half-time but gave a much better display after the break with goals from Garry Mabon and Des Burnett.
Manager Prof Blaikie said: “Leith are a decent team and it took us a while to come to terms with so many changes, but we played much better in the second half and had them under pressure for a while later in the game.”
The visitors started brightly and United keeper Scott Dowie had to move swiftly to save a Jason Stevens header at his near post.
Kelso retaliated when Garry Mabon sent Calum McClure away on the right wing. The teenager cut inside the full back and fired a shot which Athletic keeper Iain Gordon saved with his legs.
Leith went ahead on the quarter-hour mark when Stevens outpaced Damien McNulty to score.
Athletic went further ahead in the 39th minute when midfield schemer Lewis Cairns found Craig Hume in the box. The ball seemed to hit the Leith player’s hand before he swept it into the net but referee George Salmond ignored the United plea for hand ball and the goal stood.
The visitors then went three up in their next attack as left winger Matthew Watson’s shot beat Dowie at the near post.
It should have been four just after the break, but Gavin Tainsh’s shot went over the bar from four yards.
Midway through the half, some good interchange by Kelso’s Des Burnett and Liam Wallace saw the latter hit the post from the edge of the box.
United got on the scoresheet after 73 minutes when good work in midfield by substitute Greg Porter found Darren Bowie. The big midfielder crossed to the near post and Mabon got in front of defender Liam Jack to head into the net.
Then, after Burnett struck the woodwork on connection with a Sean Angus free kick, the striker did get his goal with two minutes remaining when he outjumped the defence to head home a John McCutcheon free kick.
The scoreline flattered the visitors – they scored on practically the full-time whistle, substitute Sean MacPherson heading home a Stevens cross.
Kelso United: S. Dowie, J. McCutcheon, S. Angus, D. McNulty, G. McNulty, D. Bowie, C. McClure (L. Hill 80), M. Laidler (G. Porter 70), D. Burnett, L. Wallace, G. Mabon.