Kelso United 3
Preston Athletic 3
EoS FIRST DIVISION
GEORGE RILEY reports from Woodside Park
UNITED were two minutes away from beating leaders Preston Athletic, but a penalty in the last throes of the game gave them the equaliser to salvage a point.
In what was far from a dirty game young referee Peter Stuart managed to show 11 yellow cards and send off three players – Steven Tait and Chris Black for United and Frazer Henderson for Preston.
United got off to a flyer and were two goals up in the first 12 minutes.
The first came in the seventh minute when Chris Black took a long throw from the right touchline which was headed on at the near post by Mark Lockhart and Des Burnett was first to the ball to knock beyond Ross Gilpin in the Preston goal.
The second came as a searching cross from the right was headed on by Burnett to Liam Wallace, whose effort was parried by the keeper but the ball broke to United full back David Richardson, who bundled in from two yards.
Midway through the first half Preston got one back when a free kick from 30 yards out by Steven McCormack sped into the corner of the net with David Simmonds well beaten.
Preston put pressure on the United defence for the rest of the half and hit the woodwork twice when striker Henderson hit the post with a right-foot shot and winger Sean Martin hit the outside of the upright.
The visitors went level seven minutes after the restart when a good run down the right wing by Henderson caught the United defence sleeping and his pin-point cross was easily knocked home by Phil Hobbins inside the six yard box.
United came back and after 64 minutes regained the lead when Burnett outstripped Athletic full back Kevin Fettes down the left and crossed in to the penalty box, where Lockhart dummied to let the ball through for Wallace, who made no mistake from six yards.
Five minutes later, both teams were down to 10 men when both Tait and Preston’s Henderson were dismissed, both receiving a second yellow following an ongoing spat which saw the pair getting booked earlier.
Simmonds had to make a couple of good saves when he stuck out a hand to stop a shot from Hobbins then flung himself to the right to stop a Steven McCormack shot.
Then, with two minutes left, Damien McNulty fouled Preston midfielder Greg McColl in the box and the referee pointed straight to the spot. After dusting himself down, McColl blasted the penalty beyond Simmonds to tie the scores.
As time ran out, Chris Black was dismissed when receiving his second yellow card of the game after disputing a touchline decision.
Kelso United: D Simmonds, D Richardson, C Black, S Harker, S Tait, D McNulty, C Tait, J Swailes, D Burnett, L Wallace, M Lockhart (C Webb).