SPL v Hearts
DUNFERMLINE 2 HEARTS 1 Date: 06/12/03
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 6199, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Charlie Richmond, Weather: Overcast 7C
The Pars came out on top in a match that fairly heated a drab December afternoon. Hearts skipper Alan Maybury cancelled out Derek Young’s 21st minute opener but Scott Wilson headed the winner in the 62nd minute. It was a match that the officials struggled to find decisions that won the support of both the players and the fans but the three points were warmly applauded by the home supporters.
The absence of the injured Scott Thomson meant that David Grondin was back in Jimmy Calderwood’s plans to start his seventh SPL match of the season. Hearts were without Steven Pressley, Marc de Vries and Phil Stamp as they kicked off towards the McCathie Stand.
Both sides took time to settle and Stillie was the first keeper called into action when a Scott Severin ball penetrated the defence. In the 6th minute Derek Young conceded a free kick 30 yards out that Paul Hartley curled over the four man wall into the hands of Derek Stillie.
The Pars keeper was back on call a minute later when an Andy Webster ball into the box was headed on by McKenna in the direction of Graham Weir but Stillie easily dealt with it. On the tenth minute Patrick Kiisnorbo held down Derek Young and managed as a result to send a move through Severin for McKenna to shoot at goal but for Stillie to save diving to his left.
Austin McCann conceded a corner two minutes later from which Nicholson found the head of Andy Tod but the big defender headed over the bar. A long throw from Tod sent Derek Young down the right to the byeline. The ball was cross firmly in the direction of the six yard line, dummied by Crawford to Brewster whose shot was deflected off Neilson for a corner narrowly missing the left goalpost.
The next break came when Andruis Skerla pushed up and played the ball off Brewster but Stevie Crawford nicked in to receive the return only to see his shot from 10 yards saved by keeper Gordon. A weak clearance from Stillie gave Hearts a chance as Kisnorbo punted the ball back towards the Psrs goal but Weir was judged to have fouled the keeper as he raced to latch on to the loose ball.
Hearts were moving the ball about well and it was slightly against the run of play when Derek YOUNG grabbed the opener in the 21st minute. Severin had just seen his effort land on the top of the Pars net when play swung dramatically east. A long kick from Stillie was headed on by Brewster into the path of Stevie Crawford as he burst into the right side of the visitors box. Craw flicked a back heeler for the ex Don to hammer home at a 45º from 10 yards out.
The Pars clung on to their lead. Kevin McKenna headed a Hartley corner over the bar, them the Hearts defender turned striker tested Stillie after Nicholson had skied a clearance. In the 28th minute Stillie was caught out of his goals having sent a clearance straight to Scott Severin. The Hearts no.7 tried a speculative stab from 45 yards that was only just wide of the right goalpost.
The Fifers reply came courtesy of a Craig Brewster cross in from the left. Derek Young went up to challenge and Barry Nicholson accepted the chance that dropped for him but unfortunately his shot was blocked. There were loud appeals that incensed the travelling support as Skerla tackled Weir on the edge of the Pars box. Crawford switched the play back to the Hearts end and Nicholson got in another shot at goal which slipped wide left.
Ten minutes from the interval Darren Young’s tackle on Neil MacFarlane won Hearts a free kick 25 yards out on the right channel. After treatment to the offended, Paul Hartley stroked the ball left for Alan MAYBURY to drive a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net. It was an annoying goal to lose and almost a carbon copy of the first goal conceded the previous Saturday to Eric Deloumeaux.
Before the break Darren Young took a free kick as the Jambos defensive wall was forming. Crawford could only win a corner from it and Andy Tod couldn’t get up high enough for Nicholson’s cross and when the ball dropped behind him Wilson was taken by surprise when the ball landed at his feet.
Calderwood brought on Lee Bullen for David Grondin at half time but Hearts launched into the Pars as the second half commenced. In the 49th minute a Severin ball to Weir was taken from the halfway line to the edge of the Dunfermline box but Derek Stillie advanced to narrow the angle and deflect the shot wide for a corner on the left.
This was possibly the result changing save. Both sides forced corners as Nicholson and McKenna troubled their opponent’s defences. Hartley sent in a free kick that Tod turned over his own bar from 6 yards and although Hearts were putting together much more coherent play it was Athletic who notched the decisive strike. After Craig Brewster had limped off to be replaced by Noel Hunt, with 62 minutes gone, Darren Young swung in a free kick from the left touchline that Scott WILSON rose to head in from the edge of the six yard box.
Hearts keeper Craig Gordon was called upon to head away a Derek Young through ball, winning the race despite Hunt’s pursuit. Next minute in the 68th of the match a Bullen clearance was picked up by Maybury who cut inside and fired in a left footed shot from 25 yards. The Irishman’s shot hit the crossbar and Hartley was unlucky with the rebound. Andrius Skerla did enough to stop the Hearts player who was attempting to force his way towards goal.
The Assistant Referee on the far side waved a free kick for the Pars after Crawford was victim of excessive marking. Tod got a shot in from Nicholson’s corner but a deflection sent the ball wide.
In the 74th minute a Maybury cross was sent behind for a corner by Wilson and Neilson shot in after the corner was defended out to him 35 yards out. Derek Stillie parried the shot left then a Neilson cross was missed by McCann at the far post as the Tynecastle team reminded us that the match was far from over.
Barry Nicholson had the ball in the net five minutes from time but he was offside when Bullen played the ball through. Hearts had a final push for the goal they sorely wanted. Maybury’s ball to substitute Gary Wales was forced away by Tod. Stillie was out to fist away a corner that had come after Skerla and Tod had problems clearing the box.
The 90 minutes had come and gone by the time Neilson’s cross for Weir was deflected behind for a goal kick. This merely confirmed that the officials’ continued their indecisions and mistakes to the end. Four added minutes brought chances at both ends. Darren Young was through after Craw push on a Labonte ball.
Back in front of Stillie Maybury started the move through Valois and Severin that ended with him shooting against Wilson and into Derek Stillie. The home fans were all on their feet in the 93rd minute when Kisborno appeared to use a hand to prevent Hunt getting in one on one on the keeper. Consistently the match officials were unmoved and the final chance came in the 95th minute when Maybury’s cross cannoned off Webster and out for a goal kick.
The final whistle was music to the Athletic supporters ears. Three hard earned points despite the fact Jimmy Calderwood felt that Hearts were probably worthy of a draw. The RAC Auto Windscreens Man of the Match Award went to Derek Young but the back three deserve lots of credit and Darren Young had one of his best games so far for the club. He appeared to be particularly comfortable linking up in midfield with his younger brother.