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 Sunday Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth None auth-> Craig Thomson
[D Lyle 80]
9 of 027 Marius Zaliukas 18 ;Andrew Driver 58 L SPL A

Back to the real business


THE TITLE challenge is back on. Hearts' that is. Goals in each half from Marius Zaliukas and Andrew Driver were enough to inflict what was only Hamilton's second defeat in their last 36 matches at New Douglas Park, and keep Csaba Laszlo's new-look Hearts side tucked in second place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table with nine points from the first 12 available.

As they left the ground yesterday, few were minded to dwell upon the midweek Co-operative Insurance Cup embarrassment against Airdrie United for too long.

The only problem is that they could do with their strikers weighing in with more goals, a shortfall seemingly acknowledged by the Tynecastle club's pursuit of Derek Riordan.

Laszlo was too circumspect to comment upon the loan approach which Celtic recently rejected for him, but Driver, yesterday's man of the match, was in no doubt about what the former Hibernian player could add to his side. "He has proved he can score wherever he has been," said Driver. "No disrespect to the players we have got, but they have gone a couple of games without scoring a goal, and he is certainly one who can do that."

Hamilton's decision to deploy three strikers in the form of Richard Offiong, Lucas Akins, and Joel Thomas was a statement of attacking intent, but it soon transpired their main problems were to be at the other end.

They have now conceded as many goals at home as they did for the entirety of their First Division campaign. Without club captain Mark McLaughlin for three months due to a knee problem, his replacement Chris Swailes lasted just 19 minutes before succumbing to a hamstring strain. "That's two centre-halves we've lost in the last two weeks," said Billy Reid. "But we are not going to use that as an excuse."

While the substitution plans were readied, they lost parity on the scoreboard, the veteran's injury hardly helping Hamilton defend Driver's right-wing corner. Instead, it was Zaliukas who located a patch of spare turf in the six-yard box, and Tomas Cerny could only deflect his downward header into the side of his own net.

Reid had chosen to leave James McCarthy on the bench but, with Simon Mensing filling in at centre-half, it was the youngster who benefited from a reshuffle of Hamilton's resources. Within a minute, a clever Offiong pass inside the full-back released the Republic of Ireland youth international, but Marian Kello - recruited after keeping Rangers at bay for FBK Kaunas in the recent Champions League qualifier - was alive to the danger.

Having weathered a mini-storm, Hearts began picking their opponents off on the counter. First Laryea Kingston pounced on a poor touch from Brian Easton to release Jamie Mole only for the youngster to skew wildly into the scaffolding behind the goal. Then Cerny produced a fine one-handed save to prevent the visitors doubling their advantage as half-time approached from David Obua's header.

The second half began with Hamilton encouraging their centre-halves to force the issue, but for Mensing it would soon be one risk too many. His sloppy piece of control handed Driver possession in a dangerous area and the Enlgish youngster scampered onwards, compounding Mensing's misery by skipping past him on his way to rifling a low left-foot shot under the body of Cerny.

The stuffing had momentarily been knocked out of Hamilton, but it was absolutely in keeping with the manner in which they kept taking the game to Hearts that they should recover.

Derek Lyle, introduced in a double change just after the goal, got on the end of Elebert's deep cross to glance in a header which sped into Kello's left-hand corner.

Finally, it was the spark Hamilton had been waiting for, but the bad luck was back again when Offiong tweaked a hamstring instead of making contact when McCarthy offered him a chance to grasp a draw at the death.

Hamilton substitutions: McCarthy or Swailes 19, Corcoran for Thomas 61, Lyle for Akins 61. Not used: Murdoch, Casement, Graham, Sorsa. Booked: Neil 71, Offiong 84

Hearts substitutions: Nade for Mole 72, Ksanavicius for Obua 76, Palazuelos for Kingston 90. Not used: Balogh, Mikoliunas, Cesnauskis, Thomson.

Referee: C Thomson

Att: 4,210

Taken from the Sunday Herald

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