London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Sunday Mail ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Gordon Waddell auth-> Mike McCurry
[G O'Connor 8] ;[D Riordan 63]
12 of 020 Lee Miller 23 ;Andy Webster 88 L SPL A


Apr 24 2005

HIBS .........................2 HEARTS ...................2 Hibs set for third slot after derby thriller

Gordon Waddell At Easter Road

HEARTS fans left Easter Road chanting ABERDEEN'S name as the Dons became the only obstacle between their deadly rivals Hibs and a Euro slot.

Andy Webster's last-gasp leveller in another breathtaking rollercoaster of a derby might have been enough to bag a point for the Jambos.

But it wasn't enough to close the eight-point chasm between the capital sides in the race for third spot.

And while they're not dead in the water yet, Hearts' chances of a third straight season as Scotland's third force are now on life support.

Tony Mowbray's men know they have the inside track in a two-horse race - although Aberdeen have now narrowed the gap to two points.

Hibs had the edge over 90 minutes after twice taking the lead through Garry O'Connor and Derek Riordan, with a magnificent Lee Miller leveller sandwiched between.

Webster's eight-yard header from Paul Hartley's deflected free-kick at the death stopped the celebrations - although it still wasn't enough to prompt a birthday blowout for the Scotland stopper.

Webster turned 23 yesterday but sighed: 'It was nice to score and get a point. My fiancee has been on at me for weeks to score one for her and our seven-week-old son Kristian, so that'll keep them happy'But I won't be celebrating much. The gap is still the same and if we end up missing out on Europe it's going to be disappointing.

'The boys have a lot of pride and we'll aim to win at Motherwell next week even though we've struggled against them this season.'

Hibs came out of the blocks with a blue flame at their tail.

Mowbray had obviously seen enough from Amadou Konte in the second half in the last Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle 10 days ago to give him his first start up front.

That meant a shift to the left side for Riordan and it paid off big time early on.

The Scotland hopeful won a corner with a brilliant run in the eighth minute then delivered the ball that plunged a knife into Hearts.

His centre found Scott Brown at the back post, the teenager slid a great ball behind the Jambos back line and O'Connor nipped in to slide home for the opener.

Cries of 'No Hearts in Europe' rang out - and at that stage you'd have had little argument.

But the Jambos didn't finish third two seasons on the trot without some resilience and bounced back to dominate for a spell up to the break.

In 15 minutes, Mark Burchill's header from Hartley's free-kick smacked the base of Simon Brown's post. You could sense the leveller coming - but you'd never have predicted its quality in a million years.

A magnificent six-man move from back to front carved Hibs apart - Steven Pressley to Saulius Mikoliunas, inside to Neil MacFarlane in the centre circle, dinked forward to Hartley, ball in to Burchill on the edge of the box, flick on into Miller's path.

The big man held off Gary Smith and battered home off the underside of the bar. Miller was booked for his celebrations but after a goal like that it was hard to blame him.

It was game on and Jambos could have been in front two minutes later.

Brown pulled off a great stop from Webster's header then Riordan had Craig Gordon sweating at the other end with a 20-yarder curler that dipped inches over the bar.

And just before the break Hearts were spared again.

Gary Caldwell looked like he had bundled home Riordan's corner only for Joe Hammill to scramble the ball off the line.

Even as the whistle went for half time, the tension bristled.

Miller and Brown clashed, sparking a handbags incident as they headed down the tunnel.

Hibs came out stronger and racked up FOUR decent chances within 10 minutes of the restart.

Gordon made a meal of bundling Antonio Murray's volley wide but made amends with a great stop from Konte after the desperately poor Mikoliunas had gifted Hibs the ball.

Konte was ruled offside as he headed home Dean Shiels' sclaffed shot and Hearts' defence was all over the place as Riordan's ball across goal was poked wide by ShielsIt was ALL Hibs and eventually they got a deserved and superb second in 63 minutes.

Riordan latched on to a Smith ball on the left, stepped inside the box and crashed a magnificent left-foot shot high across Gordon.

It looked like game over but it never is in derbies.

Hibs almost blew it with 15 minutes left and Simon Brown can be grateful he got away with an absolute stonewaller.

Despite the crowd warning him, he made the cardinal sin of dropping the ball for a kick out without checking his back.

Miller came from the blindside and nicked it and the keeper bundled him over inside the 18--yard line to stop him getting any further. Ref Mike McCurry was 30 yards away but amazingly waved play on.

But the Jambos got the last laugh with two minutes left.

Hartley's free-kick took a wicked kick off the wall, Webster ran smack into it as the keeper was diving for the original shot and guided his header home to send the Hearts support into raptures

ref watch

MIKE McCURRY will have joined John Robertson's blacklist for denying Lee Miller a stick-on spot-kick with 15 minutes left. Also harshly booked Scott Brown as one of five yellows but kept a lid on a tough game. Rating: 5/10

Taken from the Sunday Mail

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