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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth None auth-> Craig Thomson
6 of 007 Michal Pospisil 15 L SPL A

Pospisil keeps Hearts in the hunt and piles more pressure on Kenny

Dunfermline 0 Hearts 1
Michal Pospisil’s first goal in 11 matches earned Heart of Midlothian a victory yesterday over the Bank of Scotland Premierleague’s bottom side, Dunfermline Athletic.

Despite a less than fluent performance, the Tynecastle side should have been more than one goal in front at half-time after dominating the chances, and though the second half was more venly balanced, there was no way back for the home side.

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Paul Hartley, the Scotland midfield player, was particularly wasteful for Hearts as he twice spurned one-on-one opportunities against Roddy McKenzie, the goalkeeper. However, the problems persist for Stephen Kenny, the Dunfermline manager, who has now seen his side fail to score in their last five outings.

Dunfermline had the first half-chance of the match when Souleymane Bamba had his dipping shot turned wide by Craig Gordon, the Hearts goalkeeper, in the seventh minute.

The home side were left to rue that as Hearts took the lead in the fifteenth minute. Phil McGuire’s challenge on Andrew Driver gave away a corner and from Bruno Aguiar’s low delivery Pospisil reacted first to convert a close-range chance.

Hearts began with seven Scots in their line-up although that was reduced to six in the 31st minute as Lee Wallace left the field with an injury to be replaced by Takis Fyssas, the Greek defender.

Both sides struggled to string together any meaningful passages of play during an opening half that stuttered along and failed to ignite but Hearts stepped up the pressure as the half drew to a close.

Saulius Mikoliunas’s deft through-ball on the break saw Hartley spring the offside trap, but he allowed home McKenzie to narrow the angle and block his weak effort.

Pospisil then passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to grab a second in first-half injury time.Driver played in Fyssas on the overlap and his cross was perfect for the Czech striker, however his header was far too straight and McKenzie pulled off a superb reaction save.

Kenny reacted by making two positive alterations at the break, with Greg Shields, the full-back, and Gary Mason, the midfield player, making way for Owen Morrison and Jim Hamilton up front, with Scott Morrison moving to left-back and Darren Young switching flanks. Morrison injected some urgency into the home side’s play and the match burst to life with chances at either end.

Calum Elliot glanced a header just over from Robbie Neilson’s cross in the 53rd minute and then Stevie Crawford’s low drive was held by Gordon after Hamilton’s lay-off on the edge of the box.

Two minutes later, Morrison again caused problems as he speared his way into the area but his centre was behind an off-balance Hamilton and the substitute’s effort flew across goal and wide.

Hearts had loud appeals for a penalty dismissed in the 70th minute when Hartley cut inside Young and found his path blocked. Then, with 11 minutes remaining, the home side should have equalised. Morrison’s shot was headed clear by Christophe Berra but returned to the danger area where it landed at Hamilton’s feet, but his shot was weak and gladly grabbed by a relieved Gordon.

Hearts were left hanging on at the end and Greg Ross was only inches away from connecting with Mark Burchill’s driven cross before Stephen Simmons had a shot blocked. Elliot almost grabbed a second goal in injury-time, but his effort was blocked by McKenzie.

Dunfermline Athletic: McKenzie, Shields, McGuire, Wilson, Scott Morrison, Bamba, Mason, Young, Simmons, Crawford, Burchill. Substitutes: Murdoch, Hamilton, Owen Morrison, Tod, Ross, Woods, Williamson.

Heart of Midlothian: Gordon, Neilson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Mikoliunas, Aguiar, Hartley, Elliot, Pospisil, Driver. Substitutes: Banks, Barasa, McCann, Bednar, Fyssas, John Armstrong, Karipidis.

Referee: C Thomson.

Taken from

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