Match Report: East Kilbride 4-1 Hearts B30 July 2022
Despite the Wee Jambos showing flashes of promise in the second half, the vastly experienced Kilbies were a cut above their youthful opposition on the day.
Steven Naismith made two changes to the side that was edged out 1-0 at Spartans on Tuesday night: Euan Henderson stepping in for Connor Smith, whilst Makenzie Kirk slotted in ahead of Harry Gordon for his first league start.
Euan Henderson and Luke Rathie both went close for Hearts in the opening ten minutes, but some determined 'keeping from on-loan Kilmarnock goalkeeper Curtis Lyle thwarted their efforts.
The hosts soon went up a gear and bagged two goals within three minutes of each other; Joao Victoria pouncing on a loose header to score after 13 minutes, before Bob McHugh added a second from close ranger after 16 minutes.
The Wee Jambos could easily have faced going into half-time with an even greater mountain to climb, but some world class goalkeeping from Harry Stone kept Hearts in it - with a remarkable reaction stop to deny a bullet header from Kilby striker Cammy Elliot proving to be the cream of the crop.
Steven Naismith's words of wisdom at half-time appeared to have the desired effect, with Hearts pulling one back after 54 minutes through Macaulay Tait - the young midfielder dispatching a sweet effort into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
East Kilbride's experience shone through - with the two-time Lowland League champions hitting Hearts with another two goals in quick succession on the 71st and 76th minute.
Joao Victoria got his second after winning the ball back in the middle of the park - before releasing McHugh, who times his run to perfection, down the left.
McHugh promptly crossed to the back post where a waiting Victoria turned it in past Harry Stone. Moments later, Henderson accidentally clipped Ronan Hughes in the area - with the referee pointing straight to the spot.
EK midfielder Neil McLaughlin stepped up, making no mistake and rounding off the scoring.
Makenzie Kirk came close to scoring, but his well-placed shot sunk into Curtis Lyle's gloves, forcing Hearts to head home empty-handed.
East Kilbride: Lyle, MacDonald (Mortimer 83'), Munro (Taylor 65'), Page, Morgan, McManus, R. Hughes (B. Hughes 83'), McLaughlin, Elliot, McHugh (McGuire 83'), Victoria
Subs: Mortimer, Taylor, Black, B. Hughes, McGuire, McLean
Hearts: Stone, Darge, Tait, Denholm, Henderson, Rathie, McLuckie (Gordon 77'), Ferguson (Sandilands 70'), Kirk, Dall, Thomas
Subs: McFarlane, Gordon, Smutek, Sandilands, Chisholm, Nair