London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20080913
<-Page <-Team Sat 13 Sep 2008 Falkirk 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type News of the World ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Roddy Mackenzie auth-> Steve Conroy
[N McCann 3] ;[S Arfield 89]
11 of 016 Michael Stewart 71 L SPL A


By Roddy MacKenzie, 13/09/2008

Scorers: FALKIRK: McCann, Arfield HEARTS: Stewart

NEIL McCANN inspired Falkirk to their first win of the season with his first SPL goal for over five years — then claimed a hand in Scott Arfield’s last-minute winner even though he was OFF the park.

The winger struck early to set his team on the road and, for more than an hour, belied his 34 years as he showed his former club a clean pair of heels.

But it was a word in the ear of match winner Arfield after recent matches that helped the young midfielder see off Hearts after the Bairns had taken a second-half pummelling.

McCann said: “I said to him over the last couple of games to just keep believing in himself because he would start scoring so I’m delighted for him to get the goal.

“I didn’t expect to start today. I suffered a hamstring injury and it wasn’t until Thursday that I started testing the injury.

“To go straight in with almost five weeks without doing anything was a bit of a surprise but I’m absolutely ecstatic to get the goal.

“I took a gamble and sometimes you can catch a defence on the hop early on.

“The ball broke to me off a deflection and it fell to the “axe” and I swung it and I was absolutely delighted when it went in.

“The goal was quite special for me, but not because it was against Hearts because I still have a lot of love for them as a club. But it was just so special for the team. The whole club have deserved a lot more than how we’ve started the season.”

Boss John Hughes was relieved to finally get three points to haul his team off the bottom even after a fraught second half.

He admitted: “Hearts were better at us in passing the ball and moving us about a bit but we showed great spirit and character.

“I’m honest enough to say I’ve seen us pass the ball better but it’s all positives I take out of it. The three points finally get us off and running.

“I’ve seen that spirit all season but you can see how good Burton O’Brien, Neil McCann and Steve Lovell are going to be for us. Competition for places in any squad is vital and a few now have found themselves sitting on the bench.

“They need to show their determination to get back on the pitch.”

McCann took less than three minutes to make his mark. Graham Barrett’s cross broke to him off Christophe Berra and he delivered an accurate finish beyond Marian Kello.

It was the winger’s first SPL goal since February 2003 when he netted for Rangers against Dunfermline.

It was a lively opening and Laryea Kingston tested Robert Olejnik with a low 20-yard shot which the goalkeeper did well to divert for a corner.

Adam Mrowiec worked himself an opening midway through the first half after combining with Jamie Mole but Jackie McNamara thumped his effort clear. Saulius Mikoliunas then had acres of space on the left with Falkirk caught short at the back but he fatally dallied in possession and the chance was lost.

The Jambos had a lot of possession in the first half and their pressing game was causing Falkirk problems at the back.

But they rarely had a look at the whites of Olejnik’s eyes as Darren Barr and Lee Bullen stood solid.

Hearts had a chance in the opening minute of the second half after another great run down the right by Mrowiec but Olejnik managed to get a hand to the ball to prevent it reaching Mole.

The game threatened to boil over early in the second half as referee Steve Conroy tried to let it flow despite both sets of players serving up some meaty challenges.

But it was Hearts who seized the upper hand with Michael Stewart exerting his growing influence on the midfield battle.

He urged his team forward and contributed a superbly-struck equaliser after 71 minutes.

Barr headed the ball out to the edge of the box and there was only one thought in Stewart’s mind as he pounced to lash an unstoppable low shot part Olejnik.

Hearts swarmed forward after that and Barr must have been relieved to be given the decision in a 50-50 with Christian Nade as the striker sped towards goal.

But it was Falkirk who won it. Lovell’s pace won the ball on the left and he cut the ball back for Arfield to deliver the fatal blow. Even then, Hearts battled back again and Berra saw an injury-time header from a Kingston corner bounce up against the crossbar.

Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo said: “To lose a goal in the last minute is always very hard.

“But I have to compliment my team — we lost the three points but didn’t lose our pride.

“In the second half, we controlled the game and came back well. After 1-1, we had the chance to score but we missed but I think we made it a fantastic game.

“The team did not go down at 1-0 and played the same football we always do. I appreciate the fans who supported us well throughout the game. They are not so angry about the team now.”

FALKIRK: Olejnik, McNamara, Barr, Bullen, Scobbie, McBride, O’Brien (Cregg 82), Arfield, Barrett (M Stewart 84), Higdon, McCann (Lovell 64). Subs not used: Flinders, Latapy, Aafjes, McCaffrey.

HEARTS: Kello, Jonsson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Mrowiec, Kingston, Stewart, Mikoliunas (Ksanavicius 52), Karipidis (Palazuelos 88), Mole (Nade 52). Subs not used: MacDonald, Makela, Thomson, Rapnik.

From the News of the World

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