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|<-Page||<-Team||Sat 20 Dec 2008 Hearts 0 Dundee United 0||Team->||Page->|
|<-Srce||<-Type||Daily Record ------ Report||Type->||Srce->|
|Csaba Laszlo||<-auth||Chris Roberts||auth->||William Collum|
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Hearts 0-0 Dundee United
Dec 22 2008 Chris Roberts Reports
WILLO FLOOD seemed to be everywhere at Tynecastle - so much so that you half expected him to be selling the hotdogs at half time.
Even so it was difficult to see how Dundee United's Willo the Wisp could have been involved in Christian Nade's horror tackle on Paul Dixon during the opening 45 minutes.
But that's exactly what happened as Jon Daly dragged his team-mate into the ugly flashpoint in an attempt to defuse the situation.
The United defender was lucky to escape with just cuts and bruises from Nade's mindless charge and lunge on the touchline.
But Daly says the youngster is on the receiving end of X-rated tackles like that every day from Flood, so Dixon and the rest of the Tannadice players have had to toughen up to withstand even the most brutal of assaults.
The United defender certainly needed a thick skin because Nade's uncharacteristic 31st-minute act was as bad as anything you'll see in the SPL this season.
Both managers thought it warranted astraight red card and Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo did what referee Willie Collum should have done by taking his striker out of the firing line.
Fair play to Nade, who went looking for Dixon to apologise at the final whistle - even though he failed to get the right man.
But apparently the United full-back wouldn't have lost any sleep over it, having suffered and survived challenges like that every day from someone close to him.
Daly said: "Paul's a tough boy as are all the other lads and he wanted to get onwith the game.
"Most of the guys in the team are used to tackles like that from Willo. He's only a small boy but he definitely puts it about."
Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men but nobody told Nade that. Still you've got to feel sorry for him.
First his manager mistakes him for anoverweight student, then the striker puts in extra work to lose the flab only to be dumped with the workload of two men.
Next his girlfriend throws him out days before the festivities begin. Well how else can you explain his rush of blood to the head?
Nade let himself down but he knew that by trying to seek out his victim at the final whistle.
Daly said: "It definitely should have been different. The way everyone reacted meant they thought it deserved astraight red card.
"I saw Paul's leg at half-time and he has stud marks right down it. It was a bit of a bad challenge but these things happen.
"I am not aware of Nade apologising but I wouldn't be surprised if he has.
Fair play if he did - he obviously realises he made a bad challenge.
"He could have hurt his opponent but luckily he hasn't done too much damage."
Seconds later Nade was taken off and replaced by David Obua and almost immediately the encounter sprung into life.
Flood lost possession to Ruben Palazuelos who found Laryea Kingston on the right.
The midfielder whipped a great ball into the box and Lee Wilkie flicked behind for a corner with Obua and Palazuelos lurking.
Just two minutes after the break Andrew Driver leapt on a loose Garry Kenneth pass and evaded the challenge of Flood but United keeper
Lukasz Zaluska and Driver spread himself well to save.
Moments later Christophe Berra's determination saw whim get in a shot that ripped into the heside of the Tannadice keeper's net
Next Palazuelos and combined to feed Kingston and his right-foot blast was as handled by Garry Kenneth in the box but whistler Collum waved play on as Laszlo was throwing his arms in the air in frustration
With the SPL managers having agreed not to criticize whistlers decisions in their post-match interviews we can only gauge by the Hearts boss' reaction what he thoughtof the incident.
Laszlo was again pulling his hair out in the 56th minute as easObua exchanged passes with Christos Karipidis and would have been clean through on goal - had his control been beenon a par withthose around him.
Driver then carved Out a great chance for himself with another of his with trademark mazy runs after a misplaced Dixon pass but forgot to supply a decent finish for what would surely have been a contender for goal of the season. Zaluska saved instead.
United also had a glorious opportunity to snatch a victory that would have put them three points clear of their opponents in third place.
Sub Danny Swanson fired a corner to the near post where Daly had lost his marker but somehow rocketed his header just wide from 10 yards.
The striker said: "I probably should have scored and should certainly have hit the target.
"However, it is a good point for us because Tynecastle is a difficult place to come to.They are on a good run of form as well so we are happy with a share of the spoils "It was important not to lose. That keeps us right up there with them.
"If you lose we would have been three points behind them and playing catch up. That result keeps us slightly ahead of them on goal difference.
"We are the happier of the two teams with the point.
"There are sides just behind us like Aberdeen and Hibs who have been doing well too. It is not just us and Hearts.
"The others will be looking at this result and thinking it is brilliant that both ourselves and Hearts have dropped points.
"We think the draws we've had against Hearts and Rangers are good, but the teams behind us have got closer because of them."
United, though, have an advantage over their rivals - and that is a little fellow by the name of Flood.
The former Cardiff man was the best player on the field and Daly agreed.
He said: "I thought Willo was immense. He is a massive player for us. He's a loan player but hopefully the club will do all they can to keep him."
Even the wounded Dixon would agree.
MAN OF THE MATCH Willo Flood
SHOTS ON TARGET
HEARTS MAN BY MAN
Janos Balogh: Comfortably collected anything in the air and good distribution. 6
Robbie Neilson: Didn't find Conway easy to handle. 6
Marius Zaliukas: Just came out on top in his duel with Daly. 6
Christophe Berra: Must have impressed George Burley and the scouts. 7
Lee Wallace:Vastly improved player. 6
Laryea Kingston: Battled valiantly. 6
Christos Karipidis: Broke up play and got side moving forward with conviction. 6
Ruben Palazuelos: Involved in all the best things his side did. 8
Andrew Driver: Athreat with the ball at his feet but needs to work on his finishing. 6
Bruno Aguiar: Few signs of his ability to do something special. 5
Christian Nade: Hooked after his shocking challenge on Dixon. 1
Subs: David Obua - had to go off with a thigh injury, 4. Michael Stewart - looked rusty after ban, 2. Deividas Cesnauskis - lively but never looked like scoring, 2.
DUNDEE UTD MAN BY MAN
Lukasz Zaluska: Two crucial saves from Driver. 7
Mihael Kovacevic: Found Driver's pace tough to deal with and not much joy going forward. 5
Lee Wilkie: Another who will have impressed the national boss. 7
Garry Kenneth: Afirst-half rock but lost concentration at times in second. 7
Paul Dixon: Not the same after Nade's challenge. 5
Willo Flood: All over the pitch. 8
Scott Robertson: Decent display. 6
Morgaro Gomis: Never scared to get stuck in when challenges were flying. 6
Craig Conway: Always a danger. 6
David Robertson: Struggled to impose himself on the game and replaced early in the second half. 4
Jon Daly: Spurned glorious opportunity to win the match when he got a rare glimpse of the target. 6
Sub: Danny Swanson - brought a new dimension to side's performance, 4.
Driver's brilliant jinking run which was matched by a great save from Zaluska.
Taken from the Daily Record
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