London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Wed 04 Mar 2009 Hearts 2 Motherwell 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Ed Hodge auth-> Brian Winter
[S Hughes 76]
7 of 019 Andrew Driver 50 ;Ruben Palazuelos 92 L SPL H

Hearts 2-1 Motherwell

ED HODGE March 05 2009

After much pre-match build-up, Hearts eventually let their feet do the talking through a rousing finish to stay firmly on course for third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

But this was a cruel result for Motherwell, who at least deserved a point and can count themselves unlucky to lose to an injury-time strike from Ruben Palazuelos, the shot in itself taking a deflection en route to goal.

Hearts have become formidable for grinding out results under Csaba Laszo and this was another example as they showed the resilience to fight until the end and emerge victorious. Andrew Driver had given the hosts the lead shortly after half-time, but Stephen Hughes' leveller was rich reward before the late drama.

Still, it won't bother Laszlo, whose side are now again five points ahead of Dundee United in the race for third place and unbeaten at Tynecastle in the league since November.

But if Hearts were supposed to be riled by the comments of former defender and manager Craig Levein - in attendance last night - they showed little of it in a disappointing first half from a home persuasion.

Levein hit out at his former club following Dundee United's 1-0 defeat at Tannadice on Saturday, accusing Hearts of feigning injury and indulging in time-wasting tactics. The comments have irked Gorgie supporters and players and it was perhaps unfortunate timing that Levein was showcased in the official match programme, under the title Focus on a Legend'.

But again playing without a recognised striker - Christian Nade only made the bench after suspension - Hearts were devoid of ideas. Indeed, all they contributed in the opening 45 minutes was a weak Bruno Aguiar shot and a fiercer drive from Lee Wallace that forced Graeme Smith to tip round his post.

Adrian Mrowiec had again tried to plough a lone furrow in attack, but his miserable night was ended on just 34 minutes, replaced by Nade after receiving a booking.

If the hosts struggled for any kind of rhythm, Motherwell were brighter, illustrating a confidence that had taken them on a nine-match unbeaten league run stretching back to December. Mark McGhee, their manager, sees his side as Europa League candidates following the form surge, suggesting a repeat of last season's third-place finish is not beyond them. Certainly, they came closest to breaking the stalemate.

After early efforts from Cillian Sheridan, the on-loan Celtic striker, and another former Old Firm recruit, ex-Ranger Hughes, produced the only highlight of the half. Jim O'Brien's corner was cleared to the edge of the penalty area and Hughes' fierce, effort rattled back off the crossbar. Motherwell claimed for a penalty as Karipidis challenged Sheridan, but referee Brian Winter was unimpressed.

Hearts, no doubt inspired by the infectious Laszlo in the dressing room, came out re-energised after the break and Driver nodded home from a Robbie Neilson long throw-in. Chants of Are you watching Craig Levein?' inevitably echoed around the ground.

John Sutton's glancing header wide from a McLean cross almost offered an immediate repost.

The visitors then had Stephen Craigain stretchered off after a Nade challenge, but Hughes resultant free-kick flew through a ruck of bodies and eluded Janos Balogh to find the net.

Both sides piled players forward in search of a winning goal and, two minutes into stoppage time, Palazuelos broke Motherwell hearts from just outside the box.

Taken from the Herald

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