London Hearts Supporters Club

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Anatoly Korobochka <-auth None auth-> Craig Thomson
Elliot Calum [J Robertson 13] ;[J Robertson 23] ;[B Robson pen 89] Gregorz Szamotulski
10 of 011 Laryea Kingston 92 L SPL H

United make themselves at home at Tynecastle

Dundee United’s Jordan Robertson gets in before Christophe Berra of Hearts to net the opener at Tynecastle.

TYNECASTLE IS never the easiest of places to go looking for a result but Dundee United recorded their second successive win there on Saturday under Craig Levein, writes Jim Davie.

The visitors seem to have perfected the art of winning where so many others have failed.

It’s an intimidating venue, full of noise generated by a passionate home support, and on Saturday they were looking for revenge for the Tangerines’ 4-0 win there back in March.

The Gorgie club have come in for criticism for their often baffling team selections but they seemed to be on a steadier course recently and were out to sweep United aside and take over the visitors’ fourth spot in the league.

Roared on by the bulk of the 16,600 crowd, they raced out of the blocks to put early pressure on the Tannadice side, setting a frantic pace that might have unnerved lesser opposition.

But United are made of sterner stuff and when the home side’s plan A didn’t work, they didn’t seem to have a plan B.

After surviving the early onslaught that didn’t actually include anything to unduly trouble Grzegorz Szamotulski in the United goal, the Tangerines went upfield and scored on their first attack on 14 minutes when on-loan Jordan Robertson turned beautifully 10 yards out to drive the ball past Steve Banks in the home goal.

It got better for the visitors and their 750 fans 11 minutes later when the same player latched on to Lee Wilkie’s downward header from a Christian Kalvenes free-kick to stab the ball home from close range.

The Sheffield United youngster is proving a shrewd acquisition and United will be hoping their Yorkshire counterparts won’t be monitoring him too closely.

“He’s on a year-long loan reviewable in January,” revealed boss Levein. “He played like a man today, he fought his corner against two very physical and excellent centre backs.”

Hearts’ efforts to get back into the game were looking more and more desperate as United’s five-man midfield took control.

But the only real scare the visitors had was when Morgaro Gomis cleared a net-bound Marius Zaliukas shot off the line.

Gomis and his midfield partners—Prince Buaben, Willo Flood, Noel Hunt and Barry Robson—really came into their own in the second half, though.

Their ability to keep possession completely took the sting out of Hearts’ attempts to get back into things and the brilliance of Jambos playmaker Laryea Kingston began to fade as time went on.

Just as the game seemed to be fizzling out to a comfortable win for the men from Dundee, the game suddenly erupted into life.

With just two minutes of normal time left, Wilkie’s header was handled on the line by Calum Elliot.

The Hearts man tried to save himself a red card by claiming that he was over the line when he handled, thus conceding it was a United goal, but that didn’t wash with referee Craig Thomson who sent him off and awarded a penalty, which Robson easily converted.

Then, deep into injury time, Szamotulski upended Hearts substitute Mauricio Pinilla as he raced through and earned himself a second yellow card and a slightly earlier bath than the rest of his team-mates.

It was a bizarre decision by the Polish keeper because even if he had allowed Pinilla through to score, there was time only for the ball to be re-centred before the final whistle.

Now he will miss the Rangers game on Sunday and leaves manager Craig Levein with something of a goalkeeping headache.

Substitute keeper Euan McLean’s first task was to pick Kingston’s free-kick out of the back of his net for the home side’s consolation.

The United boss will be pondering the back-up goalkeeping situation as his under-19 and under-17 keepers are both injured, but he will have no worries over other areas of the team.

There were outstanding performances throughout, particularly from Frenchman Gomis.

The little midfielder was excellent at breaking up the Hearts attacks and keeping the ball and it is hard to believe this time last year he was playing for Cowdenbeath in the second division.

Even he seemed surprised at his rapid elevation.

“I couldn’t have imagined playing at this level so soon,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard, though, and things have been going well for me. I’m very happy to be here.

“I thought it was one of our best performances of the season, particularly second half. The gaffer told us we had to try to keep the ball and we did that.”

Levein was full of praise for all of his players but in particular for three of his midfielders.

“Willo and the two kids, Morgaro and Prince, dominated and to do that against very good Hearts players is pretty pleasing for all of us,” he said. “I really am thrilled at the way the players performed.

“We had to control the midfield first and foremost. Then, from there, get as much possession as we could in wider areas.

“The important thing was keeping possession in our half. We knew we’d be under pressure so we worked hard to take the sting out of the game.”

Hearts assistant coach Steve Frail said, “I think we were on top when United got their first goal and we started chasing the game.

“When they went a goal up it was difficult to break them down.”

Taken from The Courier

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