Five Star performance from Wee Jambos22 June 2023
Steven Naismith made three changes to the side that defeated Gala Fairydean Rovers last weekend. Lewis Neilson, Makenzie Kirk and Rocco Friel replaced Luke Rathie, Adam Forrester and Murray Thomas.
It was an electric start from the Wee Jambos, who went ahead after just five minutes. Makenzie Kirk was unlucky not to open the scoring seconds earlier when his effort had Ross Connelly in the Shire goal beaten, but a Shire defender was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
The visitors couldn’t get out though and when Bobby McLuckie won the ball high up the pitch, he squared it for Kirk who tapped home from close range.
The Wee Jambos have been solid at home for the majority of the season, and they were two goals to the good after just nine minutes, when Kirk fired home from the penalty spot. McLuckie was again involved, showing excellent trickery to draw the foul, before Kirk stepped up and fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Shire had been blitzed in the opening period, but they had their first chance on 16 minutes. A deep cross from the right found Kyle Connolly unmarked, but Liam McFarlane got down low to deny him at his near post.
It was all Hearts for the remainder of the half and Connelly was in fine form to keep the score down. Firstly, denying McLuckie from close range on the half-hour mark after a great cross from Sandilands to pick him out, before Rocco Friel cut in off the right and tried his luck, but Connelly was again on hand to hold his effort.
McLuckie’s first half performance had deserved a goal and when Kirk hung a perfect cross up to the back post, McLuckie looked certain to score, but he side-footed the ball into the ground and the ball bounced over.
The Hearts third did arrive before the break, after Shire struggled to clear a cross into the box, the ball broke to Bailey Dall, and he fired the ball home in the final act of what was a dominant first half from the Wee Jambos.
Makenzie Kirk ensured he’d be heading home with the match ball eight minutes after the interval when the ball was worked out to the Hearts forward on the right of the penalty box, he fired the ball back across goal and into the far corner and add a fourth.
In these games, it’s always hard to keep the tempo high and the game did then enter into a bit of a flat period, as both sides began to freshen things up.
Hearts added a fifth, four minutes from the end and again, it was Kirk with the goal. The Wee Jambos won the ball on the edge of their own box and sprung into action with a four-on-three break which saw the ball slipped through to Kirk and he finished neatly past Connelly to cap off a five-star display from Hearts.
Hearts: McFarlane, Neilson, Tait © (Chisholm, 70), Pollock (Ross, 60), Sandilands (Crookston, 79), Kirk, Friel, Dall, Gordon, McLuckie (Hambrook, 70), Nair
Subs: Paris, Walker, Trialist, Hambrook, Ross, Chisholm, Crookston
East Stirlingshire: Connelly, Ewing, Brown, Sabatini, Coutts, Kay, Joseph, Honeyman, Kirkpatrick, Connolly, Hodge
Subs: Prince, McAlpine, Denholm, Ure