Keith 0 Huntly 4: Maroons blown away by local rivals in Aberdeenshire Cup
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KEITH manager Craig Ewen said his side were beaten by a "hungrier, sharper and fitter team" after they went down 4-0 to local rivals Huntly in the Aberdeenshire Cup on Wednesday.
An early goal from Gavin Elphinstone was added to by a second half brace from Andy Hunter and a stoppage time Greg Buchan strike to hand the Black and Golds a well-deserved victory.
Huntly will host Aberdeen in the quarter final on Wednesday, August 17.
Ewen was disappointed with the cup exit – and his team's second 4-0 loss at Kynoch Park in four days, after Saturday's defeat to Brora Rangers.
"We were beaten by a hungrier, sharper, fitter team," he said. "Huntly got off to a good start and had their tails up and we struggled to match their energy or work rate.
"It's been a disappointing start to the season for us. We've started with a bad habit of conceding cheap, poor goals, so we are going to have to work harder to do better.
"We felt we had a decent enough pre-season, but evidently we didn't because we haven't started well. For whatever reason, we are just not at it."
Huntly went ahead within six minutes when a clipped ball over the top of the Keith defence from Reece McKeown saw Gavin Elphinstone beat the offside trap before firing home well on the half volley.
The visitors almost doubled their lead on the quarter hour mark when the impressive Andy Hunter fired inches wide from the corner of the box.
Keith started the second half with a bit more purpose, but were struck a hammer blow on 64 minutes when a ball slid through their defence was slammed in first time by Hunter for 2-0.
It would have been three just minutes later if not for Nizam Abdulkarim's last-ditch intervention to block Reece McKeown's goal-bound strike.
The goal of the night was scored by Andy Hunter as he curled a free-kick directly into the top corner from 25 yards with 13 minutes to play.
It looked as if Hunter would try for his hat-trick when he was presented with another free-kick in an identical position in stoppage time, but this time he teed up Greg Buchan who drilled a 25-yard strike in off the base of the post.
Keith travel to Wick Academy on Saturday looking to get back on track.
Ewen added: "We've got to pick ourselves up and dig in. There aren't any easy games now.
"We are on the wrong end of things at the moment so we are going to have to work harder and hopefully pick up a result soon.
"Wick is always a tough game, so we'll have to go up there and give it all we can."