London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 16 Apr 2005 Dundee United 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sunday Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Dave Hammond auth-> Alan Freeland
[B Robson 37] ;[G Brebner 91]
4 of 007 Lee Miller 39 L SPL A

Dundee United 2 - 1 Hearts

Dave Hammond at Tannadice

Dundee United’s revival continued with this worthy victory against Hearts at Tannadice. Having performed heroics in Glasgow to reach the Scottish Cup final and lift themselves off the foot of the SPL, they returned in triumph to their own ground, giving a rousing performance to underline Gordon Chisholm’s claim for the manager’s chair on a permanent basis.

Even under normal circumstances, a month is a long time in football, but the transformation in United during that period has been quite remarkable. From a team dead and buried, they have transformed themselves into a side that can beat anybody in the SPL. Back to back victories at Hampden and Ibrox has given the team a spring in their step and, at the same time, encouraged their long-suffering fans to burst into song.

They had to wait until injury time for Grant Brebner to secure the three points that keep them off the foot of the table, but for the entire duration of this match they looked every inch an SPL outfit.

They took Hearts on from the off. Confidence oozed out of every move as they pushed forward to exploit any fragility Hearts may have had after their own traumas of late.

Corner followed corner in quick succession as Mark Wilson, playing a raiding role down the right, testing one aspect of the Hearts defence with Stuart Duff and Barry Robson probing further over.

In fairness, Hearts’ defence kept its composure in those early exchanges and when they broke, they were as dangerous as United. Lee Miller went down in the area as early as the 15th minute, but even in defence, where they played three across the back, United displayed a composure that had been missing earlier in the season.

Even with 11 men behind the ball, as was the case occasionally in the first half, they appeared comfortable. In midfield, they showed an urgency that was in contrast to that of Hearts, clearly missing Paul Hartley.

The visitors’ defence was finally breached after 36 minutes, Jason Thomson’s loss of concentration allowing Robson time to drill home Wilson’s deep cross.

Hearts’ confidence may be low at the moment, but the blow was not a crushing one. It took them just two minutes to draw level, Miller’s glancing header from a Jamie McAllister cross beating Tony Bullock.

With both sides having something to prove – and to play for – the attacking nature of the game guaranteed goals. It also ensured that the end-to-end nature of the conflict would continue, with both sides keen to counter-attack.

Hearts survived a scare just before the hour when Craig Gordon was forced to pull off a double save, first punching clear a corner, then reacting instinctively to beat out Brebner’s powerful follow-up shot.

Having survived those scares Hearts enjoyed a short period of domination, but failed to force Bullock into the sort of heroics that Gordon was having to perform at the other end. Dennis Wyness was given a opportunity, but he screwed wide.

At the other end Gordon was again forced to earn his pay as he plucked the ball off the head of McIntyre after Stevie Crawford had done well to cross from the bye-line.

The goalkeeper had to remain alert for the rest of the match as United stamped their authority on the last quarter. A series of corners were only just kept out by desperate defending, and a Garry Kenneth header looped off the bar and harmlessly wide.

Crawford then had the opportunity to win the game after Wilson had released McIntyre down the right flank. The ball was pulled back, but the former Hibs forward couldn’t quite dig the ball out from under his feet.

He made amends, however, two minutes into injury time, when he rolled a square ball in front of Brebner for the midfielder to curl a delicious shot into the far corner of Gordon’s goal.

Taken from the Sunday Herald

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