Phil McGhee at Tynecastle
A goal in both halves consigned a disappointing Motherwell to a 0-2 defeat at high-flying Hearts this evening.
After containing the Jambos for the opening thirty minutes, restricting them to very little, Scott McDonald pulled down Sam Nicholson inside the area for a penalty. Gavin Reilly converted from twelve yards to give the hosts an interval lead.
‘Well made a positive start to the second period and put the Jambos under some pressure, before Billy King grabbed a second with a twenty-yard shot that squirmed under Connor Ripley.
It was a disappointing evening for the Steelmen, who failed to really lay a glove on Hearts who now sit top of the table after three successive wins.
For ‘Well, the result leaves them in seventh spot, three points after three matches.
Ian Baraclough made three changes to the starting eleven that lost to Dundee United four days ago. Lionel Ainsworth, Jake Taylor and Louis Moult all made their first start of the campaign, replacing Joe Chalmers, Jack Leitch and the injured Wes Fletcher. The influential Stephen Pearson remained sidelined with a knee injury.
Hearts came out the traps flying and Nicholson fired early intentions with a flashing shot from twenty yards that skidded past the post.
Motherwell’s first opportunity came on the eighteenth minute when Morgaro Gomis headed an Ainsworth cross at his own goal, but Alexander was well positioned to stop the own goal.
A minute later, ‘Well were almost in when McDonald robbed Prince Bauben on the edge of his own area, allowing Moult to collect. However, the former Wrexham man could only trickle a low shot back towards the Hearts keeper.
‘Well had settled into the match after their shaky start and almost hit Hearts with a classic counter, but Johnson’s hooked cross was plucked by Alexander with Moult ready to head home.
Just as it looked as if ‘Well were beginning to get the upper hand in the match, Hearts took the lead courtesy of a penalty. After dispossessing Scott McDonald thirty yards from goal, Sam Nicholson burst towards the box. As he was winding up to hit it, he was bundled to the ground by the former Aussie International with referee Brian Colvin pointing to the spot.
Former Queen of the South man Gavin Reilly stood up and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner, sending Ripley the wrong way.
‘Well’s reply was instant, Johnson’s taking on a left-footed effort from twenty yards, but Alexander was comfortable enough, holding on at his near post.
With the majority of the 16,000 plus crowd roaring them on, Hearts continued to create though. Bauben flashed a header just wide of target and Reilly almost grabbed his second with a stinging shot that Ripley was equal too.
With just one goal in at as ‘Well got the game going again, the Fir Parkers made a positive start to the second half and Ainsworth nearly had his side level within two minutes, flashing a low shot/cross across the face of goal, but it dropped wide with no takers.
Motherwell had the majority of play but just after the hour, Hearts sealed the game with a second goal. A ball out to the right flank had Billy King in space. He cut back onto his left foot before lashing a shot at Ripley who allowed it to squirm under him and into the net.
Motherwell huffed and puffed through the closing twenty-five minutes and had a Laing shot drop wide, an effort from David Clarkson sail over and a low Johnson strike in the dying seconds that was comfortably held by Neil Alexander in the home goal.
In the end, despite numerous half chances, Hearts ran out comfortable and deserved winners. It’s back to the drawing board for Ian Baraclough, who now faces another tough challenge as Aberdeen visit Fir Park this weekend.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Tynecastle
FT: Hearts 2 – 0 Motherwell #HMFCvMFC
88′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Ball falls kindly to Clarkson on the edge of the box but he volleys over the bar.
86′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Clarkson on for McDonald
83′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Hearts sub, Rossi off for McGhee
76′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Moult off for Thomas
66′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Lasley off for Leitch.
64′ | 2-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Goal – King cuts in from the right and fires past Ripley to make it 2-0.
59′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Hearts sub, Juanma on for Sow.
58′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Taylor booked for a wild challenge on Reilly.
55′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Bit of Motherwell pressure but Hearts break away and Reilly tests Ripley with a long range shot.
47′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Great feet from Ainsworth to get past Rossi and he gets a away a great low shot/cross. No takers though!
Second half | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Taylor and Lasley get the second half underway
HT | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Half time, Hearts 1 – 0 Motherwell.
45′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Three minutes added on.
…whose first time cross is too long for Ainsworth at the back post.
44′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Almost a glorious chance as Ainsworth is in plenty of space but McDonald doesn’t spot him and plays it to Moult…
38′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Hearts dominating and Reilly stings the palms of Ripley with a left-footed shot from the edge of the D.
37′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Very nearly 2 as Buaben is picked out in the box and his header flashes wide of the post.
34′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
‘Well looking for a quick reply but Johnson’s left footed shot from 20 yards is held comfortably by Alexander
32′ | 1-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Goal – Reilly slots it home to make it 1-0 Hearts.
32′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Penalty to Hearts….
28′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Law does enough to deflect Ozturk’s header wide of the post for a corner.
28′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Laing is booked for bringing down King. Another free-kick in a dangerous area…
25′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
The ball into the box is poor and ‘Well counter through Ainsworth. Ball is worked to Johnson whose cross is gathered.
25′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Hearts have free-kick in a dangerous area, after Hammell hauled down King on the edge of the box.
19′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Great chance as McDonald dispossesses Buaben and plays in Moult but his left footed shot is too weak to trouble.
18′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Half chance there as Ainsworth swings in a good ball from the right. Gomis’ header has to be dealt with by Alexander
13′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Looks like both players will continue, thankfully.
12′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Stoppage in play as Laing and Reilly receive treatment for a head knock. Both doctors are on…..
2′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Home side looking dangerous. Sow breaks clear of the back-line but McManus recovers well, sliding the ball to safety.
2′ | 0-0 | #HMFCvMFC
Nicholson with the first sight of goal. His shot from 20 yards skids just past the post. Ripley had it covered, though
Kick-off | #HMFCvMFC
Sow and Reilly get the game underway. COYW!
Pre-match | #HMFCvMFC
The teams are out the tunnel at a packed Tynecastle. Should be a good one….
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
Hearts manager Robbie Nielsen: