CIS Insurance Cup v Hearts
HEARTS 4 DUNFERMLINE 1 (AET) 25/09/07
Fixture: CIS Insurance Cup
Attendance: 10,500, Kick off 19.45
Referee: Brian Winter
Match Picture Gallery
The scoreline might suggest otherwise, but the Pars showed a vast improvement over their performance at Clyde on Saturday in tonight`s CIS Cup match at Tynecastle. While Hearts were deserving winners over the piece, the Pars could at least hold their heads high after ninety minutes, while their hosts were roundly booed off the pitch.
Match Picture Gallery
In the early stages the game did not look like it could ever spawn five goals, and it took over half an hour to scrape the first. Perhaps unsurprisingly it took a penalty to break the deadlock. The game had seen its fair share of wasted corners, wasted free kicks and half-hearted shots off target before either team managed to threaten, though occasionally the Pars defence was called upon to get involved, with Sol Bamba providing a couple of important tackles early on.
The game perked up a little after twenty minutes when Stephen Simmons picked up a booking for a hard tackle on Nade - given the Pars` record this season, many were surprised he was not awarded the almost obligatory red card. The visitors` closest effort arrived when Nick Phinn brought a high ball down neatly at the edge of the box and sent a powerful drive inches over the bar, while early substitute Ruben Palazuelos made his first contribution with an equally close effort at the other end.
Hearts eventually got themselves in front a little after the half hour mark when clever wing play by Ivaskevicius saw the ball cut back to Calum Elliot, who was promptly felled by the otherwise outstanding Woods.
From the resultant spot kick Christian NADE sent Paul Gallacher the wrong way. The young Pars defender made amends minutes later when a slack free kick by the Pars gifted the visitors a golden opportunity to extend their lead; Ivaskevicius was stopped at the last moment by a superb Calum Woods tackle and the Pars kept the deficit to a single goal.
The Pars created a half chance when a one-two between McManus and Crawford saw the latter`s shot blocked but they were soon under pressure again - even from themselves. When a pass by Simmons was left by Sol Bamba, it nearly cost the Pars another goal and Simmons and Bamba ended up having to be pulled apart by their own players. The visiting fans must have wondered where that same passion was on Saturday.
Half time: Hearts 1 Dunfermline 0
The second half settled into a similar pattern as the first, with Hearts having the majority of possession but chances being limited to desperate shots and spurned opportunities from set pieces. The game picked up pace about quarter of an hour after the restart when Phinn and Nade both fired shots close again.
A free kick from Stephen Glass provided the Pars` first clear-cut chance when Crawford`s flick on dropped just inches from the boot of Bamba in front of goal. It`s here that the script should read something about Hearts being shaken into action and getting a couple more goals but incredibly within the space of three minutes of each other Calum Elliot and Christian Nade both conspired to put glaring chances straight at Gallacher. The Pars were undoubtedly feeling the strain but did not give up and when a foul on Jim Hamilton gave Tam McManus a shooting opportunity twenty yards out, the striker hit a sweet free kick which hit the inside of Banks` right hand post and bounced back out again.
It didn`t quite silence the Hearts fans, who were only too happy to remind former Hibee McManus just how fond they were of him; but silence came to the home support soon enough and from another target of their jeers. It seems that it doesn`t matter which Edinburgh team you used to play for, for ironically while McManus got booed for being an ex-Hibs player, ex-Jambo Simmons found himself being equally welcomed.
With six minutes remaining, he made his mark. A woefully misjudged clearance by Kancelskis gifted the Pars with a corner kick. Owen Morrison`s floated ball found SIMMONS at the back post who squeezed between a crowd of players to nod the ball home from close range.
With three minutes remaining, Hearts should really have grabbed the lead for keeps when Robbie Neilson controlled the ball six yards out and lashed it past the post. Neilson is currently entering his testimonial year; if he plays for another ten years he`ll still be wondering how he managed to miss such an opportunity.
The drama didn`t stop there however and in injury time Dunfermline had a couple of opportunities to indulge in a spot of robbery. Firstly, following a penalty claim for a foul on Hamilton, Morrison`s cross dropped just too far ahead of Stevie Crawford. Finally, and more tantalisingly, the dying seconds saw a low cross by Crawford evade the grasp of Banks and shoot across the face of goal. Unfortunately for the visitors nobody was in a position to capitalise and extra time loomed.
Dunfermline carved out another opening from a free kick with which McManus again tried his luck. This time Banks was alert to the danger and pulled off a good save to palm the ball round the post. And from there, from a Pars point of view, it all went wrong.
Hearts won two corners in quick succession, the second of which was nodded back across goal for Christophe BERRA to head home from almost on the goal line. Any fight the Pars might have had left in them began to fade when, three minutes later, Kingston intercepted a Woods clearance and fed Calum ELLIOT, who fired low past Gallacher from ten yards.
Incredibly, it didn`t stop there. A through ball found ELLIOT once again and the youngster had no difficulty in repeating the previous far post finish, albeit this time from the edge of the box. With the Pars understandably deflated the second half of extra time belonged to Hearts.
Jonsson made a couple of chances for himself, one of which he fired wide and the other tipped over by Gallacher. The best of the later chances however fell to Andrius Velicka who, with all the time in the world following a botched offside trap by the Pars, attempted to be too clever and stroked the ball past Gallacher`s far post from only a few yards out rather than going for the powerful approach demonstrated by Elliot. Had the ball fallen to the on-form Elliot, we would doubtlessly be finishing with a description of the young man`s hat-trick.
HEARTS: ¬ Steven Banks, Robbie Neilson, Christophe Berra, Kancelskis, Jose Goncalves, Laryea Kingston, Michael Stewart (Ruben Palazuelos 29), Kestutis Ivaskevicius (Andrius Ksanavicius 65), Eggert Jonsson, Christian Nade (Andrius Velicka 77), Calum Elliot.
Subs Not Used: Eduardas Kurskis, Marius Zaliukas.
SCORERS: Nade 34 pen, Berra 97, Elliot 100, 102.
YELLOW CARD: Jonsson.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Darren Young, Stephen Simmons, Souleymane Bamba, Stephen Glass, Iain Williamson (Bobby Ryan 62), Calum Woods, Nick Phinn (Owen Morrison 79), Scott McBride (Jim Hamilton 78), Stevie Crawford, Tam McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Sean Murdoch, John McCulloch
SCORER: Simmons (84)
YELLOW CARD: Simmons, McBride, Woods
REFEREE: Brian¬ Winter
NEXT MATCH: SFL (home) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 29th September, kick off 3.00pm