SPL v Hearts

HEARTS 2 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 24/08/02

Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League

Attendance: 11367, Kick Off: 15:00

A large travelling support travelled to see if their team could come of age and lay the ghost of O`Boyle and Jack`s 1990 victory that is regurgitated on each subsequent visit to Tynecastle.

So in the current capital of culture were the paying audience going to witness great drama? The scene is set in contemporary Edinburgh where the flamboyant football fashioned by Jimmy Calderwood longs for the status of success, respect and revenge.

Calderwood made two changes as they took the stage in the Festival City: Gary Mason and Gus MacPherson coming in for Steven Hampshire and Sean Kilgannon. Hearts were missing the Southampton bound Anti Niemi and Graham Weir replaced Kirk.

As you`d expect with third playing fourth in first half was a tight encounter where defences were on top. Hearts kicked off towards the Roseburn Stand where the unexpectedly (well at least by Hearts) large travelling support were being ushered into the overflow section.

The ball was quickly in amongst them us as Marco Ruitenbeek tipped over an Alan Maybury shot with only 50 seconds on the clock. The Republic of Ireland internationalist was not closed down and popped in the early effort from 30 yards out.

Dunfermline`s first prospects came in the 6th minute when a flowing move from Stevie Crawford, through Dempsey and Dair reached Craig Brewster. The big man`s touch on to Crawford on the edge of the Hearts box seemed to take the Scotland touted striker by surprise and no shot was achieved.

Scott Thomson pushed up to support Crawford and when Brewster set up Jason Dair the cross was on but Roddy McKenzie collected easily. There was fast open play and Lee Bullen was glad to concede a corner after Steven Boyack`s penetrating pass was deflected into danger off Scott Thomson.

After 18 minutes De Vries got the better of Bullen producing great skills and requiring a first class cut out by Andrius Skerla. Dair got in one of his long range effort two minutes later from a Brewster lay off, but the right footed effort was high and wide.

Next Crawford made a good run up the right flank but he delayed his final pass and despite Nicholson and Dempsey waiting in the penalty box he chose to try finding Brewster but Valois cut out the pass and so the threat was squashed. Next Crawford did manage a shot on target but McKenzie easily took the weak attempt from the edge of the box.

Another two minutes passed and again Crawford had a chance when he glanced a MacPherson cross wide to the left of goal. MacPherson found Nicholson the next time but Barry`s ball across the penalty box got no takers. Hearts reminded us of their presence with Jean Louis Valois sending in a cross which Marco took well. MacPherson took a knock when sending in that first cross and despite treatment from Pip, he was substituted by Chris McGroarty with Dair switching to the right.

A Nicholson free kick was headed over the bar by Scott Thomson and then McGroarty with his first real involvement set up Dempsey whose pass sent Stevie Crawford storming up the left. His cross was good but not good enough to stop McKenna reaching it before Craig Brewster.

Sunshine returned and with it the match heated up. Both sets of supporters roared on their team but Hearts responded better to finish the half strongly.

De Vries rounded Bullen on the left side of the box. The big Dutch striker travelled across the area with Thomson in pursuit and was not properly closed out until Dair stepped in to yield to another corner. De Vries despatched that eventually over the crossbar from 6 yards.

Valois then fed the ball to Simmons, 30 yards and he was allowed time to pick his spot but fortunately Marco saved. A minute before half time Dair picked out Dempsey with a good strong pass which the wee Irishman did well to control before hitting his shot just over the bar from 20 yards out.

Dunfermline finished the half with a free kick won when Boyack axed McGroarty. Nic`s effort though went straight into the hands of Roddy McKenzie. Half time 0-0.

Dunfermline replaced Dempsey with Kilgannon a t half time but the Hearts change of Twaddle for Simmons probably had the bigger influence on what was to follow.

Right away Dair got a shot on target after Brewster had won back possession on the edge of the area. The keeper saved well and then just minutes later saved another from the same player after an overstruck McGroarty cross fell to him.

Paul McMullan seemed to be getting plenty of room down the left. He managed to send over a ball that soared right through the penalty box before winning a corner with another as Thomson played safe by heading behind. Marco took a knock as he successfully challenged for the ball from Pressley.

Dunfermline had lost their way a little and Valois punished them for it in the 53rd minute. He beat off McGroarty down the left and sent in a simple cross that dropped behind the well marked De Vries and left Graham WEIR an easy header into the left side of the net to set Tynecastle off.

Kilgannon managed to cross from deep on the right but Brewster`s shot was tame and easily dealt with. Then within four minutes of going behind the deficit was doubled. Poor goals from the Dunfermline point of you which the manager was later to call "defending like amateurs".

The second goal came from the left side as McMullan beat Nicholson and then swung over the high ball that with perfection, DE VRIES rose to and the ball was in the back of the net. Immediately Jason Dair was withdrawn and Steven Hampshire came on.

Brewster was on the end of a high cross from Nicholson but did not get enough power on it to bother the keeper. Kilgannon should have got one back in the 61st minute when Crawford did wonders not just to keep the ball in at the right byeline but also to send in a cross to the far post that took every one including Sean by surprise.

Next Kilgannon provided for Crawford when he returned the ball that had been accurately played wide to him through Nicholson and Mason. Craw tried a neat flick at the near post which almost came off.

Bullen struck in a shot from the 64th minute corner, Dunfermline`s fourth of the game but the Jambos got the ball away. Valois had a shot that Marco saved before Bully and De Vries found themselves lying on top of each other on the edge of the Pars box. In such situations referees normally find something to blow up for in the defenders favour but this time there was no whistle from Kevin Toner.

De Vries rose from the pile and half struck a shot that trickled wide of Marco`s right post. At the other end Hampshire should have headed in a goal from a 72nd minute Crawford cross but Hamps effort went over the top from close in.

McKenzie was doing well in his new position as Hearts no.1 but a miskick in the 79th minute gave the visitors a corner. Kilgannon sent in a good ball and Scott Thomson was desperately unlucky as Pressley stuck out an ankle that blocked the shot. No clearance however and there was an almighty struggle to get in shots by Crawford and McGroarty before Thomson again sent the ball over the crossbar to the relief of the frantic Hearts defence.

Chris McGroarty was yellow carded for "diving" in the box. A harsh decision especially when the penalty award was expected.

De Vries did not give the two man Pars defence any peace as he headed over a Boyack cross with two minutes remaining. Thomson looked to be in to scre in the 90th minute after he took Skerla`s ball, played a one two with Crawford and then hit a good shot that rebounded off the near post.

In the three added minutes Stevie Crawford was heavily tackled by Valois and from the subsequent free kick (pictured below) Sean Kilgannon forced a great save out of McKenzie.

So it was extremely disappointing for everyone; fans, manager, board and players that the Tynecastle test provided failure once more. The first half display had been energetic and promising. The second half weak then unlucky. Crawford was on fire throughout but the big red fire engine belonged to Hearts. This was a Fringe show where the locals pulled the punchlines and the visitors inventiveness was insufficient to confirm their new found optimism.