London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20090107
<-Page <-Team Wed 07 Jan 2009 Motherwell 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Graeme Macpherson auth-> David Somers
[C Porter 11]
5 of 013 ----- L SPL A

Porter the difference as Hearts fail to score again


Csaba Laszlo clearly does not subscribe to the old cliche about taking things one game at a time. Sandwiched in between two Edinburgh derbies, the Hearts manager had described the timing of this re-arranged SPL match away to Motherwell as "not the best" and wondered aloud about the safety of his players on the sodden Fir Park turf ahead of their meeting with Hibernian in the fourth round of the Homecoming Scottish Cup this weekend.

That discontent shown by Laszlo was reflected in a laboured Hearts display that ultimately cost them the chance to move level with Dundee United in third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table.

A derby cup tie will invariably bring its own pressures but the lack of focus on the immediate challenges ahead surely played a substantial contribution in Hearts' downfall. Motherwell, revitalised in recent weeks, looked the hungrier throughout and deservedly claimed the victory in a flat contest courtesy of Chris Porter's early header.

Mark McGhee, the Motherwell manager, had expressed his annoyance with Laszlo's open declaration of admiration for the striker, who is out of contract in the summer and attracting covetous glances throughout the country. McGhee suggested the Hungarian was playing mind games although his ire would no doubt have subsided somewhat when Porter confidently bagged his eighth goal of the season to win the match, the strike perhaps also serving to push him out of Hearts' reach.

"Chris has been playing well in the last couple of games," McGhee said. "It looks like he's enjoying it. If someone comes in for him we will speak to Chris to see what he wants to do. Hearts haven't come in for him. If they wanted him before tonight then I would expect they would want him after tonight. But maybe the price has gone up."

How Hearts could do with a striker of such potency. The Tynecastle side have now gone more than seven hours without scoring playing a 4-5-1 formation that has, tenuously, Christian Nade at its apex.

The Frenchman again lumbered about diligently, often appearing down either flank to hold up possession, but posed little in the way of a direct goal threat. Stephen Craigan, the Motherwell defender making his 250th appearance for the club, could not have envisaged enjoying such a quiet evening as Hearts created next to nothing throughout the 90 minutes.

When Nade eventually departed just after the hour mark it was to be replaced by Calum Elliot. The young striker has not had his troubles to seek throughout a troubled career, the memories of an unsuccessful loan spell at Fir Park sparking widespread jeering by the Motherwell supporters as he ran on to the pitch.

No more loved by the Hearts supporters than by the opposition, he spent the first half of the season out on loan at Livingston where he harvested an impressive, confidence-boosting haul of 11 goals from 13 games. He was given little opportunity, or service, on this occasion with which to make an immediate impression as Hearts toiled to make any sort of headway but future opportunities surely await, out of necessity than anything else.

"That was a very bad SPL game," Laszlo said later. "We tried hard in the second half but we had no movement. In our other games we had a lot of chances, today we had no shots on goal. It is not enough. We must do more."

Motherwell, on the other hand, are a side making the most of a recent renaissance. In Stephen Hughes, Keith Lasley and Jim O'Brien they possess an exciting, attacking midfield triumvirate whose combined efforts were protected by the hulking presence of Mario Klimpl. On an otherwise positive evening, McGhee's biggest frustration stemmed from his team's tendency to over-elaborate in the final third, failing to add to their goal and making the closing stages more nervy than they needed to be.

The goal came early but would prove to be a just manifestation of Motherwell's overall superiority.

Paul Quinn threaded a pass through for Hughes whose deft chip was powerfully headed home by Porter. The Englishman, who had claimed a hat-trick in Motherwell's last home game, was otherwise relatively quiet in attack but his goal will only have helped to further bolster a burgeoning reputation and perhaps also expedite his exit from Fir Park.

"I'm open-minded about the future," he said. "I'm flattered if anyone shows interest in me as it shows I'm doing something right on the pitch."

Taken from the Herald

<-Page <-Team Wed 07 Jan 2009 Motherwell 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © |