London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 03 Aug 2008 Hearts 1 Hull City 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Barry Anderson auth->
6 of 011 Audrius Ksanavicius 33 F H

Hearts 1 - 0 Hull City

CSABA LASZLO enjoyed a victorious start on home soil as Hearts concluded their pre-season preparations with a satisfying victory over English Premier League newcomers Hull City.

Audrius Ksanavicius, the Lithuanian forward, glanced the game's only goal on 33 minutes, and the Tynecastle side can now prepare for Motherwell's visit on Saturday in confident mood.

Although Laszlo's Hearts remain a work in progress, signs are that the Hungarian has instilled a desire not always evident in last season's squad. Hull, managed by Phil Brown, offered a worthwhile test ahead of the SPL's opening day and Laszlo will have recognised that his side fared well.

Ksanavicius' goal represented the highlight, but industrious performances from Michael Stewart, Andy Driver and Larry Kingston were complemented by some intelligent passing moves. A much-improved defensive display from Marius Zaliukas also stood out.

With Lee Wallace injured, Driver found himself deployed in an unfamiliar left-back role for Laszlo's home debut. Mark McGhee watched from the directors' box in the knowledge he could easily have been occupying the home technical area instead of Laszlo. The Motherwell manager was taking the opportunity to watch his club's opening day opponents, and would have left with plenty food for thought.

Laszlo's passing philosophy helped Hearts fashion the game's first chance on eight minutes. After fluent build-up play involving Stewart and Kingston, the Ghanaian slid a through pass to Ksanavicius but his left foot could only guide the ball wide when one-on-one with Boaz Myhill, the Hull goalkeeper. Sixty seconds later, the former Manchester City player Geovanni Gomez unleashed a deadly free-kick from 25 yards which contained such ferocity that it knocked Steve Banks off his feet in the act of saving.

Hearts' work-rate seemed infinitely better than last season, with Kingston in particular showing a renewed appetite for football. Players interchanged positions and moved off the ball in tandem with a performance which, at times, was fairly high tempo considering this was merely a friendly. Hull, two weeks before their Premier League campaign opens at home to Fulham, looked tidy without being fully match sharp.

Shortly after the half-hour, the hosts' endeavour and determination to retrieve possession brought them a fine opening goal. Michael Stewart pressurised the Hull defence into an error and Jamie Mole quickly ushered the ball to Jason Thomson. His right-sided cross fell kindly at the feet of Ruben Palazuelos on the opposite flank, and the Spaniard's return ball allowed Ksanavicius to atone for his earlier aberration with a precise header away from Myhill.

The withdrawal of Ruben Palazuelos shortly after the interval brought Johnny Brown, another product of Hearts' youth academy, his home debut. He assumed the left-back slot with Driver shunted into a more recognisable left wing beat, and the teenager looked assured playing amongst established faces.

Geovanni again rasped the palms of Banks with another free-kick from distance, indicating he might just produce a few valuable set-pieces for Hull in the forthcoming campaign. Amid a plethora of substitutions from both sides, the second half became frustratingly stop-start but Kingston's influence was central to most productive Hearts moves. In defence, the hosts were rarely troubled by a Hull side lacking cohesion during the second 45 minutes.

Ryan Wallace entered the fray late on for his first top-team appearance, and full-time arrived with the notion that Hearts are building steadily for Saturday's SPL kick-off. Defeating a team from the world's best league wasn't a bad way to prepare.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): Banks; Thomson, Zaliukas, Berra, Driver; Kingston, Stewart, Jonsson, Palazuelos; Ksanavicius; Mole. Subs: MacDonald, Rapnik, Ivaskevicius 80 (for Thomson), Cesnauskis 89 (for Driver), Karipidis 58 (for Jonsson), Mikoliunas 71 (for Ksanavicius), Makela 79 (for Mole), R Wallace 86 (for Kingston), Brown 47 (for Palazuelos), McGowan.

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson; Marney, Ashbee, Boateng, Barmby; Folan, Geovanni. Subs: Doyle, Windass 46 (for Folan), Duke, Garcia 68 (for Geovanni), Halmosi 64 (for Barmby), Cooper 85 (for Dawson), Fagan 60 (for Boateng), Hughes 80 (for Marney), France 85 (for Ashbee).

Referee: Calum Murray.

Attendance: 5077.

Booked: Boateng (39)

Taken from the Scotsman

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