London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20080830
<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Aug 2008 Hamilton Academical 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Richard Bath auth-> Craig Thomson
[D Lyle 80]
6 of 027 Marius Zaliukas 18 ;Andrew Driver 58 L SPL A

Hearts do just enough to grab win

Richard Bath
at New Douglas Park
AFTER their midweek derailment in the cup, the Hearts bandwagon hit the road running yesterday, steamrollering over a committed Hamilton side in an entertaining contes. The visitors were efficient and organised, if rarely inspired, yet winning seems to be becoming a habit under Csabo Laszlo.
The Hearts manager said afterwards that "we always had the game in our hands" and he's right that they always looked the most likely winners of this match at New Douglas Park, where Hamilton have lost just one match in the last 35. They were particul arly dominant during a first 20 minutes when a bemused Billy Reid admitted that his men "just didn't turn up". Had Hearts, who controlled most of the early passages of play, with the hyperactive Laryea Kingston once again conducting most of the traffic, had a cutting edge up front, they could have been out of sight long before half-time.

More than anything else, this match showed just how much Hearts are missing a lead striker. David Obua roamed around the pitch to great effect yesterday, regularly pressing up on the last defender, but despite some nice touches and a couple of near-misses, it remains to be seen whether this a role to which he is ideally suited.

With no target man for Andrew Driver and Jamie Mole to play into until Christian Nade is passably fit or his manager signs another striker, (he stonewalled all enquiries about Derek Riordan), Hearts were reduced to peppering the Hamilton goal from long range. First Obua had a go, then Driver, and Kingston had a couple of digs too. None were close enough to worry Tomas Cerny.

The breakthrough eventually came from far closer in. From a corner on the left, Driver rifled the ball on to the head of Zaliukas, who had lost marker David Elebert and rose unchallenged six feet from goal to head past the Czech keeper.

With two wins under their belt this season, Hamilton have already shown they possess a potent mix of doggedness and the ability to unleash the sort of direct, incisive forward play that Hearts are sorely lacking and within two minutes they should have drawn level. Alex Neil sustained a broken nose when Kilmarnock scored their controversial winning goal last week, but he was fearsomely competitive yesterday, and won the ball in midfield. It was worked quickly to Richard Offiong on the edge of the penalty area and the Geordie curled a sublime ball into the path of James McCarthy. The teenager had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds, but hesitated when he had just keeper Marian Kello to beat, allowing the Slovakian to smother the shot.

Hamilton's attempts to equalise became increasingly urgent yet they left themselves open to counterattack and twice Hearts almost extended their lead in the moments before the interval. First Kingston's cross found Obua at the back post, but the Ugandan was unable to direct the header downwards. Then Michael Stewart's cross from the right found Obua unmarked in the centre of the penalty area but Cerny pulled off a stunning fingertip save as his header seemed sure to loop inside the post.

Hamilton started the second half like a side determined to make amends, and with James McArthur providing the guile and McCarthy and Offiong some aggression and trickery in the box, the home side had Hearts under pressure. Yet Hamilton were once again the architects of their own downfall. This time Simon Mensing passed the ball away under no pressure and immediately found Driver running straight at him. As he lunged out, the little striker skipped over his outstretched leg and fired the ball under the advancing Cerny.

As Hamilton tried to work their way back into the game, what was looking like a comfortable win for the visitors almost turned into a rout as Billy Reid's men succeeded only in ceding possession at every turn. Otherwise faultless performers like Neil, McCarthy and Elebert all got in on the act, passing to Hearts players deep in their own half when under no pressure. Only when Mole skipped through and fired just over the bar did Hamilton take a collective deep breath and, temporarily at least, adopt a safety-first policy.

By then, however, the die was cast. Hamilton displayed all the desire and energy while Hearts responded with a crisp passing game that allowed them to control the pace and tempo of the game. As Hamilton pressed, so Hearts sprayed the ball around with the assurance of a side that has, notwithstanding the cup disaster in midweek, grown increasingly accustomed to winning.

Yet just as they looked like strolling to a two-goal win, Hamilton pegged them back to ensure a frenetic final ten minutes. McArthur was, as so often, the catalyst, twisting and turning down blind alleyways on the left before feeding the ball back to Elebert. The central defender hoisted the ball across the area where substitute Derek Lyle, who Reid reckoned got through more work in 15 minutes than his three frontline strikers did in the whole game, had sneaked in to glance a header into the far corner and make it 2-1.

A chastened Hearts were at full stretch to hold out during a ten-minute frontal assault from Hamilton, but were – just – value for the win.

Taken from the Scotsman

<-Page <-Team Sat 30 Aug 2008 Hamilton Academical 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |