A late brace from Jorge Grant sealed Hearts a 2-0 victory over Fleetwood Town in a closed doors friendly at Poolfoot Farm.
In a well-matched contest with Scott Brown’s team, played in windy conditions at the Cods’ training ground, both sides enjoyed spells with the ball. Chances went astray for both sides before Grant’s double at the end.
The midfielder turned in a spill from Aidan Denholm’s wicked shot before firing home a spectacular long-range strike just minutes from time - wrapping up the Jambos’ first win of pre-season.
Frankie McAvoy handed minutes to almost the entire first team squad in Lancashire, with Lawrence Shankland supported on the flanks by Alan Forrest and Connor Smith – with young James Wilson playing in behind.
Fleetwood was first when Scott Robertson played Jack Marriott in on the edge of the box, which needed to be saved by Harry Stone. The men in maroon carved out their first chance with three minutes on the clock: some lovely play from Shankland in the Fleetwood box teed up Cammy Devlin within sight of goal, with the Aussie’s low drive dragging just wide.
The League One Cods were clever and industrious with the ball. Some delightful footwork from Phoenix Patterson saw him cut inside down the left, dancing past several maroon shirts before Toby Sibbick stuck a foot out to steer the ball away from danger.
A strong wind was an ever-present feature throughout the match, with both Hearts and Fleetwood forced to contend with the conditions, restricting the number of chances created.
On the half-hour mark, Stephen Kingsley met a Cochrane corner that went behind, before a repeat occurred at the other end of the park just moments later – Josh Earl nodding behind from Patterson’s cross.
Hearts had some delightful build up play – Alex Cochrane, Nathaniel Atkinson, Alan Forrest and Stephen Kingsley – all showing real intelligence and skill on the flanks, but an impressive defence marshalled by Brendan Wiredu put up stiff resistance.
The second half was much of the same, with both sides fashioning chances without much luck. Halliday saw an effort go over the bar, before Liam Boyce fed Bobby McLuckie with a lovely ball over the top – with the youngster’s resulting effort held by the ‘keeper.
With the match at a stalemate going into the final few minutes – Hearts then smashed the deadlock with two quick-fire goals. Aidan Denholm tried his luck with a wicked effort from range, with Jorge Grant showing a poacher’s instinct to turn it into the net.
Moments later, Grant picked up the ball just outside the box and unleashed a cannonball of an effort into the bottom right corner.
A good day’s work for the Jambos who continue their pre-season schedule with another closed doors friendly later this week.
Hearts First Half XI: Stone, Atkinson, Sibbick, Cochrane, Rowles, Forrest, Smith, Haring, Devlin, Wilson (Kingsley 30’), Shankland
Hearts Second Half XI: Stone (McFarlane 60’), Atkinson (Rathie 60’), Sibbick (Neilson 60’), Kingsley, Cochrane (Halliday 60’), Denholm, Devlin (Baningime 60’), Forrest (Sandilands 60’), Smith (McLuckie 60’), Wilson (Grant 60’), Shankland (Boyce 60’)
Subs: McFarlane, Denholm, Kingsley, Baningime, Boyce, McLuckie, Grant, Neilson, Rathie, Halliday
Photo courtesy of Adam Gee Photography