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[S Mensing 11] ;[S Mensing pen 51]
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Hamilton 2-0 Hearts

Feb 1 2009 Gordon Waddell Reports

VLADIMIR ROMANOV turned up. Hearts didn't.

If the Jambos' absentee landlord thought his first appearance of the season would inspire his side in to third place then he chose the wrong day, the wrong ground and the wrong opponents.

Five straight home wins. Five straight clean sheets. Five straight wins in 2009. Not a goal conceded anywhere this year.

No messing. Just Mensing. On-fire midfielder Simon's double either side of the break - the second from the spot - was more than enough to keep Accies' stunning January run intact.

It wasn't the only record-breaking going on - Hearts had won the previous 19 clashes between the two over 29 years.

But they were never going to get the score here as Mensing racked up his fourth goal in four games to take Hamilton within two points of the top six.

Despite that Simon insisted: "We're not getting carried away - we're still in the mire as such and until it's mathematically impossible for us to go down that's the way we'll see it.

"We've changed the way we play and while it might not be as pretty as we were at the start of the season we're getting results and this was another massive one."

With skipper Christophe Berra gone from his side's stronghold Csaba Laszlo started versatile but slimline Eggert Jonsson in his centre-back spot - and that decision was open to question just 12 minutes in as Accies piled on pressure to earn the opener.

It came from their fourth corner and Jambos were guilty of slack defending at both ends of it.

They didn't close the cross as Brian Easton and James McArthur worked it between them and when the left-back threw the ball in to the mix Mensing rose highest to head home his third in four games.

That left Hearts with a mountain to climb given Hamilton's defensive record here.

However, they got to base camp within six minutes. Michael Stewart's bursting run to meet a great David Obua ball from the right looked perfect but his shot across Tomas Cerny flashed off a post.

And the same player was denied again on the half hour. This time the delivery was from the left, courtesy of Bruno Aguiar, and although the midfielder needed two bites his second was sweet and Cerny pulled off a stunning point-blank stop.

They were rare moments of trouble for Accies - Alex Neil was superbly shackling the playmaking talents of Aguiar.

But the longer it went the more Hearts came forward and Obua was inches away from levelling with a deflected 20-yarder that looped an inch over.

Within five minutes of the restart though another miserable piece of work at the back killed them.

Easton's dink over the top caught Robbie Neilson on McCarthy's wrong side, the full-back grabbed hold and gave Eddie Smith no choice but to point to the spot.

Mensing's usually a top cornerman - this time he went low to Jamie MacDonald's left and through the keeper.

Accies' job was done at that end - all they needed to do was finish the task at the other.

And they strolled it. Hearts came on to them but barring two more efforts from main threat Stewart that tested Cerny and a shot screwed wide by sub Laryea Kingston Hamilton could have kept their opponents at bay all day.

Boss Billy Reid said: "We just didn't let them play in the middle of the park - that was our plan and it paid off.

"Obviously Tomas pulled off a wonder save from Stewart in the first half but we deserved victory. Credit to the players - we've adjusted to the SPL."

And once again Reid insisted he's not sweating the next 48 hours ahead of the transfer window closing, despite the interest in star kids McCarthy and McArthur.

He said: "I'm not worried about losing players but I do have one or two options for bringing new guys in."


EDDIE SMITH got the penalty decision right, both his bookings spot on and little else wrong. Pretty much all you can ask from a whistler. Rating: 7/10.

Taken from the Sunday Mail

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