Hearts cruise into the next round.

Saturday 1st April 2017.

Kingdom Challenge Cup 1st Round.

Cupar Hearts were back to Cup duty this time the matter of the Kingdom Challenge Cup where the visitors to Duffus Park were a struggling Balgonie Scotia side.

Player-manager Lee Sibanda led the team to an emphatic win grabbing himself a hattrick along the way.

Hearts should have opened the scoring on 7 minutes when a quality shot from distance by Steven Pennington was well saved and Aaron Leadbetter unbelievably scooped the rebound over the bar from close range.

Poor defending by the visitors allowed Hearts to take advantage 4 minutes later when Kyle Watson cut the ball back for Ryan Gray who fired home.

Then the Scotia goalie Grant Henderson was lucky to see only yellow when he bundled over Lee Sibanda in the box. The same man stepped up and coolly dispatched the penalty to put Hearts two to the good.

Balgonie got themselves back into the game on 16 minutes when Gordon McKinnon surprised everyone when his corner kick curled straight into the net.

Superb one touch football by Hearts deservedly produced goal number 3. Steven Pennington, Ryan Gray and Lee Sibanda all linked up well with Sibanda finishing off the move with a perfectly placed shot.

Cupar were inviting some pressure as half time approached and had to defend a series of corners with Lewis Hutton for Scotia coming the closest with a header just over the bar.

A free kick early in the second half by Steven Pennington was equally matched by Grant Henderson and Balgonie were quick to break on the counter attack with Lewis Hutton disappointingly firing a soft shot for Jason Inglis to easily save.

Lee Sibanda completed his hattrick on 77 minutes when he latched onto a Ryan Gray pass and cheekily chipped the ball over the advancing ‘keeper.

Substitute Morgan Dow concluded the scoring when he got himself on the scoresheet with 2 minutes remaining when he danced around his defender and blasted the ball over the line.

Ceres Butchers Meat Tray winner was Pat Kinhart (Cupar).

Cupar Hearts: Rann, K. Brown, Murdoch, McInroy, Leadbetter, G. Brown, Gray, Wainwright, Pennington (c), Watson and Sibanda. Subs: Thomas and Dow.