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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Steve Tanner
[A Lallana 13] ;[G Rasiak 65] ;[G Rasiak 78]
2 of 002 -----F A

Hearts left floundering as Saints go marching in

Published Date: 26 July 2009
By Barry Anderson at St Mary's Stadium
THREE well-executed goals exemplified the clinical ability of Alan Pardew's Southampton as they dispensed with Hearts in a pre-season friendly of few clear chances.
Neither side displayed any true invention in midfield, the difference being that the hosts maximised their attacks and overall looked more competent up front.

Adam Lallana's first-half strike opened the scoring before substitute Grzegorz Rasiak converted twice in the second period, his second owing to careless distribution from the Hearts goalkeeper Janos Balogh. Having lost experienced stalwarts like Christos Karipidis and Robbie Neilson from his back line, Csaba Laszlo will be concerned at conceding three times and might well ponder his options up front.

Only briefly in the first half did Laszlo's lone striker, David Witteveen, and supporting midfieler Larry Kingston look a force of any note. After the interval Gary Glen and Christian Nade were introduced but fared little better against some uncompromising Southampton defenders.

Hearts were captained by Marius Zaliukas, and was Kingston's first since February following an elongated injury absence and his drive from distance went narrowly wide on eight minutes.

Despite rarely threatening, Southampton moved ahead through a well-executed strike from winger Lallana. He meandered in from the right flank to take possession from Stern John and stick a precise left-footed drive low to Balogh's right, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.

At that stage the pressure on Hearts began to increase, but a speculate 30-yard shot from the industrious Spaniard Suso reminded all inside St Mary's that the visitors would not be surrendering meekly. His trickery in wide areas troubled Southampton's left full-back Dan Harding periodically and generally represented Hearts' biggest threat.

Kingston sent a free-kick into the stand on 29 minutes before Balogh collected a tame set-piece from Mills. As the first half petered out there was little denying Hearts' defence had coped admirably with their opponents, although greater invention was required. The visitors had been steady if unspectacular and Laszlo conducted three half-time substitutions in the hope of creating a spark. Glen was introduced for Kingston, Michael Stewart replaced Ian Black and Jose Goncalves assumed left-back duties from Lee Wallace.

Two minutes into the second period Stewart earned a free-kick 20 yards from goal. David Obua arced the ball low to the left of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, who required to be at full length to claw the attempt clear. Laszlo's side were evincing greater purpose and, except for Matthew Paterson's raking drive which Balogh held, looked more of a commanding force. They appealed for a penalty on 55 minutes when Stewart, while attempting a one-two with Witteveen, appeared to be blocked by Chris Perry inside the area. The midfielder momentarily left the field with a gashed mouth but the infringement went without punishment.

Pardew withdrew his side's most influential player, Mills, shortly after the hour. The ineffective Stern John was also replaced and his deputy, Rasiak, had the ball nestling in Hearts' net with his first touch. Harding delivered a dangerous free-kick from the corner of the penalty area and Rasiak evaded both Ismael Bouzid and Ruben Palazuelos to prod the ball home from close range.

For travelling Hearts fans there was the encouraging sight of Andy Driver emerging from the sub' bench on 70 minutes, his first appearance of pre-season. Laszlo then opted to remove Suso.

Southampton's third goal will be regarded as a personal disaster for Balogh, whose careless throw out landed in between Goncalves and Driver and gifted Murty possession. He sprinted clear to deliver a textbook cross on to the head of Rasiak, who nodded the ball confidently into the net. The Hungarian was a picture of dejection afterwards, his error summing up a disappointing afternoon for the visitors.

Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Murty, Thomas, Perry, Harding; Lallana, Gillett, Wotton, Mills; John, Paterson. Subs: Rasiak 64 (for John), Bialkowski, Lancashire 70 (for Thomas), James 81 (for Harding), Gobern 64 (for Mills), Thomson 84 (for Paterson).

Hearts (4-4-1-1): Balogh; Jonsson, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Wallace; Suso, Black, Palazuelos, Obua; Kingston, Witteveen. Subs: McDonald, Kucharski 66 (for Zaliukas), Goncalves 46 (for Wallace), M Stewart 46 (for Black), Thomson, Glen 46 (for Kingston), Novikovas 73 (for Suso), Driver 70 (for Obua), Nade 73 (for Witteveen), J Stewart, McGowan.

Referee: Steve Tanner.

Taken from the Scotsman

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