London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Sunday Mirror ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Mark Walker auth-> Eddie Smith
2 of 004 Andrius Velicka 16 ;Andrius Velicka 43 ;Roman Bednar 79 ;Andrius Velicka 91 SC A


ANDREAS Velicka got a treble as Hearts began their defence of the cup in impressive style.

The Tynecastle team faced a tricky tie and some thought they might struggle against the Second Division side.

But Lithuanian hitman Velicka eased any fears with a first-half double and a shock was never on the cards.

Stranraer deserved a consolation goal for their efforts but Hearts made it cruel for their hosts when two late goals from sub Roman Bednar and Velicka rounded it off.

Hat-trick hero Velicka said: "I feel beautiful after that. It's not the first time I have scored a hat-trick in my career because I once scored seven goals in a match in Lithuania.

"Last year I watched a Scottish Cup Final on TV at home now I hope to play in this year's."

Hearts coach Valdas Ivanauskas was relieved not to slip up on a potential banana skin. He said: "I'm happy with the result although the performance could have been better. The important thing is to get through to the next round. We have good memories from last year's competition.

"It was good that Velicka scored a hat-trick but I was very pleased that Roman Bednar scored because he hasn't hit the net for a while.

"There's a long way to go until we get to Hampden but we'll try and win the cup again."

Hearts gave Stranraer every respect by fielding a strong line-up with the exception of banned Paul Hartley.

The tiny ground was packed to the rafters in contrast to their last home cup tie which drew a crowd of just 193 for a game against Forfar.

Stranraer keeper Scott Black had an early fright when he flapped at a cross from Nerijus Barasa.

However, the home side showed they were no respectors of their lofty SPL opponents as they thundered into numerous challenges. Hearts had their first shot at goal in the ninth minute but Portuguese midfielder Bruno Aguiar's free-kick was far too high.

The visitors took an 18th-minute lead with a devastatingly easy goal.

Aguiar flighted a perfect ball over the top of the central defence and Velicka collected the ball before lobbing it over the head of on-rushing Black.

And the keeper had to be alert five minutes later as he held a Michel Pospisil driven cross.

Stranraer had a chance of their own in the 25th minute when Alex Burns shot wide from a Steve Aitkins cross.

And Burns should have got a better connection on strike partner Michael Moore's chipped pass minutes later.

Hearts were given an even bigger fright in the 38th minute when a long throw was allowed to go all the way to David Hamilton and his volley was saved low down by Craig Gordon.

Next, Burns volleyed over for the home side who were in control of the match at this stage.

However, they were stung as Hearts doubled their advantage just before half-time. Andy Drivers' corner was flicked on at the near post by Pospisil and Velicka shot home from close range.

Home sub Michael Mullins almost scored seconds after coming on at the start of the second half as he cut inside from the left and forced Gordon into a diving save. Then Mark Crilly wasn't far away with a 25-yard free-kick as the hosts started the second half in style.

But Hearts could have ended the contest if Pospisil had managed to turn in Neil McCann's cut-back. Driver then should have done better than curl his effort wide in the 66th minute from a promising position.

And the same player had keeper Black scrambling across his goal as Hearts regained the initiative.

Stranraer's last hope went in the 72nd minute when Moore hi a superb effort, brilliantly turned away by Gordon.

Their heads seemed to drop after that as Hearts' superior fitness took its toll and they made it 3-0.Velicka sent sub Bednar clear and he rifled home from the edge of the box. Hearts came forward in waves now and Driver was only denied by a fine save from Black who raced from his goal. But they got their fourth in injury time when Velicka played a 1-2 with Aguiar and coolly flicked the ball over the keeper and into the net.

It was cruel on Stranraer who were not worthy of being thrashed by such a big scoreline.

And manager Gerry Britton revealed he was delighted with his side's performance.

He said: "I felt that we matched them for long periods and we created so many chances especially in the first-half.

"The only difference was that Hearts took all their chances and we didn't.

"And when you have a keeper like Craig Gordon against you then it's always going to be difficult.

"They overran us in the final 15 minutes but that's because full- time training made all the difference." I'm disappointed at going out but still proud of my side who weren't disgraced."



Black 6, Snowdon 5, McAlpine 6, Aitken 5, Wilson 6, Sharp 6 Hamilton 5, Crilly 6 (Wright 3),' Moore 7, Burns 5 (Mullen 5) Ramsay 5.

MANAGER Ivanauskas 7


Gordon 7, Barasa 6, Wallace 6, Karipidis 7, Berra 6, Neilson 7 (Mikoliunas 3), Aguiar 8, McCann 7(Jonsson 2), Driver 7, Pospisil 6 (Bednar 6), VELICKA 8.

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