Rousset helps steal points
27 Dec 1996
Dunfermline ............2 Hearts ...................3
HEARTS staged a fine second-half fightback to take all three points at East End Park and leapfrog their vanquished opponents into fifth spot in the premier division.
Dunfermline slip down to sixth after a result that highlights how much of a dog-fight it is going to be between the league of seven below the Old Firm and Aberdeen to avoid relegation this season.
The result was a bitter disappointment for a battling Fife side, who deserved to take at least a share of the points.
They had completely dominated the first half and a 1-0 interval lead was a poor reflection on their performance.
However, Hearts were a much-improved side after the interval.
The visitors fought back to equalise, went behind once again, but kept plugging away and another two goals finally gave them victory.
Hearts manager Jim Jefferies admitted his side had been hard-pressed over the 90 minutes.
"We knew it was always going to be a battle," he said.
"We are quite pleased with another three vital points.
I am delighted with the performance of some of our younger players.
"We started the game quite well.
But, when Dunfermline scored, they put us under a bit of pressure.
I thought our players performed well in the second half and I was delighted with their attitude." Dunfermline manager Bert Paton admitted his team's defensive problems had cost his side victory.
"I was pleased with our first-half display," he said.
"I thought we played some great football and we were unfortunate only to lead by one goal at half-time.
Unfortunately, we lost what was a very big game for us.
We are all bitterly disappointed with our defeat." Dunfermline pushed forward on the attack for most of the first half and they made the breakthrough in the twenty-fifth minute when Hearts keeper Giles Rousset punched away an Andy Smith header to Derek Fleming, who drove a 22-yard shot into the net.
The Hearts goalkeeper then pulled off fine saves from Andy Smith and Allan Moore to keep Dunfermline from adding to their interval lead.
However, Hearts came out on the attack in the second half and equalised in 58 minutes when a low Gary Mackay cross was deflected into his own net by former Tynecastle defender Colin Miller, who was captain for the day in place of flu victim Craig Robertson.
Dunfermline regained the lead in 68 minutes when Moore curled a delightful 25-yard shot into the top corner of the net.
Only 60 seconds later, though, Hearts were back on level terms.
Miller was judged to have tripped Colin Cameron on the edge of the box and John Robertson netted the spot-kick.
Hearts defenders David Weir and Steve Fulton were both booked as Dunfermline tried hard to re-take the lead, and, in 78 minutes, Rousset pulled of another fine save from a well-struck Hamish French shot.
Hearts grabbed the winning goal in 80 minutes when Steve Fulton drove a low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Although Dunfermline tried desperately hard to equalise, Hearts held out until the end for victory.
Next league games: Dunfermline - Celtic (a).
Hearts - Motherwell (a)
Taken from the Herald