B team

Match Report: Gretna 2008 0-3 Hearts B

23 March 2024

A first half brace from Gus Stevenson and a late strike from Rocco Friel saw Hearts B pick up their sixth win on the bounce with a 3-0 victory over Gretna 2008 at Raydale Park.


Liam Fox named an unchanged side for the trip south, following last weekend’s narrow victory over Linlithgow Rose.


It wasn’t the liveliest of beginnings, with the home side happy to sit deep and concede possession. The game was always going to be dictated by the Wee Jambos, and how quickly they moved the ball, and forced their opponents from side to side.


The men in maroon were moving the ball well in spells, but to Gretna’s credit, they were well organised and it was taking some good football to get in behind the Black and Whites backline.


James Wilson had the first opportunity of the afternoon, when latching on to a ball down the left-hand side of the box. He tried to slide the ball through the legs of Gretna keeper Vincent Parker, but he was thwarted by the stopper.


Callum Sandilands was presented with a similar opportunity on the opposite side of the pitch, but again, Parker was out to keep Hearts at bay after 19 minutes.


Five minutes later, the men in maroon did break the deadlock. It was clever play down the left and when Bailey Dall made it to the byline, he pulled the ball back for the unmarked Gus Stevenson, who produced a composed finish into the bottom corner, to open the scoring after 24 minutes.


That goal gave Hearts a lift and the second goal suddenly seemed an inevitability. Sandilands went close again shortly after the half hour mark, when he was slipped in behind the Gretna backline, but his effort struck the post from an acute angle.


Stevenson doubled his and Hearts’ tally for the afternoon two minutes before the break. It again came down the left-hand side, this time it was Thomas who beat his man, before laying the ball into the path of Stevenson. This time the midfielder cut inside onto his right foot and his effort took a deflection and looped over the helpless Parker.


The hosts had created next to nothing in the opening 45 minutes, so the men in maroon were virtually home and dry by the interval and it showed in what was a low-key second period.


The chances did continue to fall for Hearts, and despite continuing to dominate possession, much of it was at a lower tempo and the hosts were fairly comfortable with that.


Thomas again cut inside onto his favoured right foot early in the second half, but Parker was out alertly to narrow the angle and stop the wingers’ effort.


One of the Jambos’ better performers on the day was Bailey Dall and he almost added a third goal in stoppage time, but his goal-bound effort was deflected behind.


Substitute Rocco Friel did add a third with the games last act, tapping home from close range after good build-up play down the left, but the afternoon belonged to Stevenson as the Wee Jambos picked up another three points.



Gretna 2008: Parker, Potts, Bell, Jenkins, Bowman, Cox, Short, Ivison ©, Mulvanny, Austin, Kearney


Subs: McLellan, Kouame, Meechan, Kirk, Gilfillan


Hearts: McFarlane, Dall, Wilson, Sandilands, Thomas, Stevenson, Gordon, Forrester © (Friel, 57), Rathie, Smutek, Ross (Crookston, 63)


Subs: McConnell, Nair, Friel, Crookston, Thompson, Smith