We got off to a flyer with a kinda cartoon capers goal in 4 minutes, with a looping lob finding Austin on the left behind a static defence; Austin then mishitting a lob over the keeper who was miles out his goals, which the keeper should have easily dealt with, only for the keeper to somehow trip over his own feet and make the clumsiest dive over the ball, allowing it to trickle into the net. From then on we gradually fell out of the game as the Hearts no.8 (Andy Irving) took control of the game and they dominated possession from then on until half time. We had one more clear cut chance in the first half when O'Hara somehow managed to get on to a great overhead kick from Grant which he should have buried but didn't. We then had the odd foray forward, but mainly it was Hearts in control without ever looking like scoring. 1-0 up at half time and Hearts in control in midfield, with Langton having a dreadful game and surely going to replaced in the second half, so bad was he in that first half. The forwards who had started so promisingly were getting no service at all and the midfield were were making wrong choices all the time.
Second half and no changes to personnel. The half started a bit more evenly with Langton now playing a lot better (clearly the rocket up his erse worked?), and there were more chances at either end. The next best clear cut chance for us came in about 60 minutes when O'Hara blasted the ball miles over the crossbar from about 6 yards out. OK the ball came at him quick and he was coming in fast himself, but not working the keeper from that range was criminal. The game turned quite nasty now as Hearts used their legendary cheating now with the referee quite happy to let them away with jersey pulling which clearly got our lads a bit worked up, with Blues lucky to only get a yellow card for a scything foul on their no.11. Austin then was booked somewhat naively for persistent fouling (shame the referee hadnt applied those same rules to the Hearts defence who really couldn't handle him physically), but looked to have made the game safe only for his goal to be disallowed (not sure if it was offside or for some random Hearts player falling down near Austin). 70 minutes in it was all square - the Hearts no.11 received the ball just on halfway in a breakaway on the left, Blues chased him back all the way to the edge of the penalty box, where either Watson or Finlayson came to assist, the no 11 simply dragged them wide then slipped between the defenders, got to the bye line and cut it back along the edge of the six yard box for a host of Hearts players rushing in - one of which supplied the tap in to equalise. We then edged it until the end, but couldn't get the winner.
I was disappointed in a few of our players contribution tonight. Defensively Watson wasn't dominant enough, Langton and Blues need to give us more in midfield, and O'Hara needs to show much more composure up front, with Austin needing to show a wee bit more nous to make the most of his abilities. Best for us were both full backs and Grant at the back, Peggie in midfield and Shepherd up front. The best player on the park was Hearts no.8 Irving, although Peggie and Blues managed better in the second half to close him down quicker, so he was much less influential.
I am sure the guys will be disappointed as this was far from their best performance against a quite mediocre Hearts side. These games hopefully should teach the players a bit more about decision making as most choices made tonight were the wrong ones. Set pieces were shocking in the main with Langton in particular making an ar$e of it more often than not. O'Hara really needs to work on his composure as at times he makes very rash choices. Likewise Austin (who takes a hell of a lot of punishment up front) needs to be a wee bit more savvy about using his physicality.
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