Hearts 1 Dunfermline 0Saturday, 30th Jan 2021
Scottish Championship: Lewis Mayo and Fraser Murray start in place of absentees Kyle Turner and Dom Thomas. Jamie Walker (81) 1-0
A third game with no Pars goalscorers but this was a very good performance for team that was clearly up for springing an upset in the capital. A game in which goalkeepers came out on top and it required a late piece of magic to earn the Jam Tarts the points.
Dunfermline made the journey to Tynecastle on league business for the first time since December 2011 and to completed the nostalgia the Forth Road Bridge was re-opened for the day. Stevie Crawford made two changes from his starting eleven the previous Saturday- Lewis Mayo and Fraser Murray coming in for Kyle Turner and Dom Thomas.
League leaders Hearts sat nine points ahead of their second placed visitors but they made two changes to their eleven that defeated Raith Rovers in midweek, Josh Ginnelly was out and Jamie Walker was on the bench as Steven Naismith and Euan Henderson returned.
The Fifers emerged first from the stand opposite the main stand and the coaching staff crossed the park to take their places up in the dug out. Attacking the Gorgie Road end, Iain Wilson kicked off and there was an explosive start for the Pars with Wilson setting up Declan McManus for a 21 second rocket that was cleared off the line and then a Fraser Murray follow up that was deflected wide right for an early corner.
Fraser Murray’s delivery led to a Ryan Dow shot and then a Euan Murray header into Craig Gordon’s arms, all within 70 seconds.
The visitors kept up the pressure with a slick move from Mayo through Dow to Comrie but the home side dealt with the cross. Hearts 11th minute free kick 25 yards out on the right side was swept over by Andy Irving but the Pars defence cleared.
Another Irving free kick from deep on the left three minutes later was headed behind by Paul Watson under pressure from Mihai Popescu. Two corners followed one either side and from the second Naismith’s delivery was met by Popescu but Owain Fôn Williams pulled off a great save to keep the sheet clean.
Midway through the half two Hearts defenders slid in on the right side to block a fierce but low Fraser Murray shot and unluckily the ball went behind off him. Next minute Dow was wide left to send over a cross from near the corner flag but Craig Gordon reached up and snatched the ball.
From the right side Irving curled another free kick just beyond the far post and then when took another one quickly Dow nicked out the low ball towards the Pars box. Willie Collum did not appear to be giving Dunfermline much and another free kick was given against Watson but the Pars broke and it was Mayo wide left in 34 minutes who crossed for Dow to crash a shot towards goal but the effort was blocked.
Hearts switched the ball along the Pars 18 yard line from Naismith through Irving for Stephen Kingsley to drive a low shot on target that Fon Williams held. A Mayo free kick then found Wilson on the right and Watson met his cross at the far post but his header fell wide left.
Four minutes before the break the Hearts keeper pulled off a fantastic save when Dow met F Murray’s cross from the left. The powerful header required an international class save and of course the 38 year old obliged.
It had been a good first 45 minutes for Dunfermline, yes Fon Williams had been called upon to make two crucial saves but the best chance had fallen to the Pars with Hearts grateful for Gordon’s class.
Half time: Hearts 0 Dunfermline 0
Hearts started the second half strongly but it was a breakaway that earned them their first effort at goal. Naismith robbed Whittaker in front of the dugout and supplied Henderson with a pass to release him on the left. The 20 year old Jambo cut inside and sent a right footed shot towards the top corner but Fôn Williams plucked the shot out of the air.
Then in 55 minutes Michael Smith was forward to drive a low attempt narrowly wide left. One minute later Dow sent a ball over from the right that Mayo headed down for McManus but his shot from 12 yards out was held by Gordon.
On the hour Robbie Neilson made a double substitution bringing on Aiden White and Armand Gnanduillet for Gary Mackay-Steven and Euan Henderson. It was the Pars however that nearly produced a difference. F Murray teed up McManus on the left side of the box and Gordon was forced to turn the ball outside his right hand post. Unfortunately the resultant corner was over hit.
McManus collected a yellow card for his 64th minute tackle and from the free kick Fon Williams was made to pull off another great save. Next minute Liam Boyce broke into the left side of the Pars box and when that was cut back Gnanduillet met it close in but thankfully was off target to the left.
At the midpoint of the second half Stevie Crawford introduced Scott Banks, the on loan signing from Crystal Palace earlier in the week. Then when Wilson clipped the ball right from Dow he sent McManus away up the right. When he went to the ground he appealed bitterly to both the referee and his assistant but that fell on deaf ears. That was his last involvement as Kevin O’Hara replaced him with 18 minutes remaining.
At the other end an Irving free kick was pumped into the right side of the Pars box from where Craig Halkett headed a looping effort that just cleared the crossbar.
Fon Williams was nine minutes away from a first Pars shut out at Tynecastle since 1990 but when a clever turn from Hearts sub Jamie WALKER created the opening, a fine angled low shot that was planted in the far side of the Pars goal. 1-0
The Fifers put up an immediate fight to try and retrieve the situation. Lewis McCann came on for Steven Whittaker as Josh Edwards had two belters that were blocked and Wilson, a header over the bar. O’Hara drove into the right side of the Dunfermline box and Banks was unlucky not to find him with a back heeler.
An equaliser was not to come, it was a hard fought win for the league leaders who take the spoils. Dunfermline were overtaken by Raith Rovers who take second place after defeating Dundee setting up an important Fife derby at East End Park on Wednesday night.
SUBS NOT USED: Christophe Berra, Peter Haring, Elliott Frear, Ross Stewart (GK)
SCORERS: Walker (81))
DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Paul Watson, Euan Murray (c), Josh Edwards: Lewis Mayo, Steven Whittaker (Lewis McCann 84): Ryan Dow, Iain Wilson, Fraser Murray (Scott Banks 68): Declan McManus (Kevin O’Hara 72)
SUBS NOT USED: Kyle Macdonald, Kerr McInroy, Matthew Todd, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: McManus (64)
REFEREE: Willie Collum
WEATHER: Fine 5°C
NEXT MATCH: Championship: (home) v Raith Rovers, Wednesday 3rd February 2021, 7.45pm kick off at East End Park behind closed doors
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Hearts 1-0 Dunfermline
Sat, 30th Jan 2021
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