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Brora Rangers’ promotion hopes ended after 6-1 aggregate defeat to Kelty Hearts

Nathan Austin celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Brora Rangers.
Nathan Austin celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Brora Rangers.

Brora Rangers’ promotion dream is over after Nathan Austin’s hat-trick secured a 6-1 aggregate victory for Kelty Hearts in their pyramid play-off.

Brora had already trailed 2-0 from Tuesday’s first leg at Dudgeon Park, however Greg Morrison’s opener at New Central Park briefly revived the tie.

Kelty’s two-goal cushion was restored by Austin within 60 seconds however, with the former Caley Thistle striker adding a quickfire double early in the second half, before Dylan Easton struck in stoppage time to set up a play-off final against Brechin City for a place in League Two.

Brora made two changes from the side which was defeated at home on Tuesday, with Ali Sutherland and James Pickles drafted in to replace Jordan MacRae and Tom Kelly, with Morrison tasked with leading the line.

The Cattachs started brightly on the artificial surface, with Andy Macrae sending a strike wide after being played through by Bjorn Wagenaar, who shortly afterwards saw a free-kick well claimed by Darren Jamieson.

Greg Morrison celebrates his opener for Brora Rangers.

Brora took a deserved lead on 28 minutes though, when Wagenaar’s exquisite through ball picked out Morrison, who showed excellent composure to stroke the ball low into Jamieson’s far corner.

The Sutherland outfit were dealt an immediate setback however, with Austin equalising within 60 seconds when he latched on to a long ball before doing enough to squeeze an effort past Joe Malin.

Andy Macrae in action for Brora Rangers against Kelty Hearts

Brora looked to reduce the deficit again before half-time, with Wagenaar seeing a strike from distance drift narrowly over, while at the other end Thomas Reilly could not keep his strike down.

The visitors knew they needed a strong start to the second half in order to keep the tie alive, however their hopes were all but ended on 58 minutes when Austin got on the end of Paddy Boyle’s delivery to nod past Joe Malin.

Austin killed off the tie for good just four minutes later, when he powered a free-kick past Malin from the edge of the box.

There were few chances in the remainder of the match, however Kelty still had time to add a fourth goal in stoppage time as Easton volleyed home from 20 yards, meaning the Highland League champions have to do it all again next season.

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