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Match report: Paks SE 1-1 Hearts


Hearts secured a 1-1 draw against Paks SE in the first leg of their Europa League third round clash in Hungary this evening.

The Jambos fell behind to Istvan Sipeki's first half strike but Jamie Hamill converted from the spot on the stroke of half-time to earn the Edinburgh side a well deserved share of the spoils.

The teams will go head to head in the return leg at Tynecastle next Thursday, with Jim Jefferies hoping to complete the job in front of the Gorgie faithful.

The presence of David Obua in the Hearts' starting XI. gave the Jambos a welcome boost ahead of kick off, the Ugandan only having arrived late last night after a red tape wrangle.

His availability meant JJ made just two changes from the team which started at Ibrox on Saturday, Jamie Hamill coming in for his first competitive match for the club and Adrian Mrowiec lining up in midfield.

The hosts were first to threaten when Gabor Vayer ran at the Hearts backline but the front man was eventually squeezed out on the edge of the area.

Hearts swept to the other end and a teasing cross from Danny Grainger picked out John Sutton in a great position in the area but he failed to make proper connection with his header and the opportunity was lost.

Some neat footwork from Vayer saw him create a shooting chance for himself with eight minutes on the clock but he dragged his effort wide of Marian Kello's right-hand post.

With 12 minutes gone, Obua came close for the visitors, his long-range effort flying just over the target. That gave the 300 or so Hearts fans camped behind Kello's goal something to shout about.

David Templeton was looking lively and seven later he carved out a shooting chance but his strike from the edge of the area lacked the accuracy required to test Norbert Csernyanszki in the Paks goal.

A minute later and Obua earned his side the first corner of the game, Grainger's inswinging cross punched clear by Csernyanszki.

Vayer looked like the danger man for the hosts and he almost broke through the Hearts rearguard, Eggert Jonsson doing well to dispossess the forward on the edge of the box.

In the 25th minute, good work from Sutton and Obua freed Grainger down the left but his cross drifted out with Hamill having taken up a great position inside the six-yard area anticipating a low cut back.

Hearts were seeing plenty of the ball at this stage and Ian Black won another corner, although the Paks defenders cleared their lines with ease as Grainger's cross came in.

Sutton was forced off for treatment after an accidental clash of heads with Magasfoldi left him with a cut to his cheek and while the Englishman was being seen to Ian Black also required attention from Rob Marshall after he came of second best in a challenge with Daniel Bode.

From the resultant free kick - and with Black still off the park - Paks opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Jonsson made a great block from a shot on the edge of the area and as the ball came back to Istvan Sipeki he showed great presence of mind to send a looping shot over Kello into the back of the net.

The goal came against the run of play but Hearts tried to respond immediately and from a Hamill free kick, Csernyanszki challenged Sutton bravely to clear the danger.

Lifted by their goal, the home side threatened again as the interval approached but Grainger was alert to the danger and belted the ball upfield to ease the pressure on the Jambos.

Templeton was hauled down 30 yards from goal and as Grainger delivered the ball into the box, Sutton tumbled under a challenge from Tibor Heffler, the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot to the fury of the home fans. Hamill stepped up to blast the ball home on the stroke of half-time to level the tie and give Hearts a valuable away goal.

Half-time: Paks SE 1-1 Hearts.

Hearts came close to going ahead two minutes after the restart, with Templeton cutting in from the left and sending a curling shot just wide of Csernyanszki's left-hand post.

Paks won a free-kick in the 55th minute just outside the Hearts box but Sutton rose well to head clear.

Heffler then burst into the area after some neat build-up play from the hosts but a combination of Grainger and Zaliukas blocked his effort at goal and the Kello rose well to claim the resultant corner kick.

With 61 minutes gone, Ryan McGowan drove into the Paks area and attempted to find Templeton on the edge of the six-yard area with his cutback but Csernyanszki did well to intercept the pass and deny the Australian, who was so impressive against Rangers last weekend.

Jonsson then added his weight to the attack and did well to win a corner with 65 minutes gone. Grainger's deep deliver was destined for Sutton but the striker was deemed to have fouled his marker.

Hearts then had a great chance to take the lead after Csernyanszki palmed a Hamill shot into the path of Sutton at the back post but the striker couldn't keep his header down and his effort looped wide of the right-hand post.

Vayer was cautioned for a late tackle on Ian Black, with Arvydas Novikovas then told to warm up by his manager who appeared to be preparing to introduce the young Lithuanian in a bid to test the Paks back line.

The home side came close moments later when Vayer's free kick flew narrowly wide of Kello's right-hand post.

There was a worrying moment for JJ's side when Mrowiec went down in some pain after a tangle with Bartha but the powerful Pole was able to continue after treatment.

With Ryan Stevenson already on for Sutton, Novikovas then got his opportunity eight minutes from time after replacing Templeton.

The Jambos were again enjoying the bulk of the possession but clear cut openings were proving difficult to create with Paks defending in numbers.

Stevenson tried an acrobatic overhead kick from eight yards out on the angle but he failed to trouble Csernyanszki.

But the match was to end in agony for the midfielder, who was stretchered off in stoppage time with what appeared to be a serious arm injury.

Paks SE: Csernyanszki; Heffler, Sifter, Fiola, Balo (Montvai, 66), Bode, Sipeki, Bartha, Magasfoldi, Vayer, Kiss. Subs not used: Pokorni, Nagy, Gevay, Meszaros, Hrepka, Szabo.

Hearts: Kello; McGowan, Jonsson, Zaliukas, Grainger; Black, Mrowiec; Hamill, Obua, Templeton (Novikovas, 82), Sutton (Stevenson, 78) (Elliott, 90). Subs not used: MacDonald, Barr, Robinson, Smith, Elliott.

Referee: Mattias Gestranius.

Hearts World

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