Match Report: Hearts 2-1 FK RFS28 October 2022
The Jambos raced into an early two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Lawrence Shankland and Andy Halliday, before Kevin Friessenbichier’s long-range stunner halved the deficit. Both sides preceded to hit the woodwork in what was an entertaining encounter.
Robbie Neilson made three changes from the side that was edged out against Celtic last weekend. Shankland and Jorge Grant came in for Stephen Humphrys and Cammy Devlin, who both missed out through injury, while Halliday replaced Robert Snodgrass.
With four minutes on the clock, Hearts took the lead after a quick breakaway. Josh Ginnelly was sent clear down the right and he sent in a low, pinpoint ball across the face of the goal for Shankland to slide in and knock beyond Pavels Steinbors for his fourth goal in two games.
The visitors went close four minutes later when a corner was flicked on but Craig Gordon pounced to claw the ball away from his goal, and the follow up was blasted over the bar from 18-yards.
By 12 minutes it was 2-0. The Jambos worked their way down the left-hand side before Grant teed up Halliday 20-yards out, he struck a low drive towards goal and, with the help of a deflection, it flew past Steinbors and into the back of the net.
Ginnelly was wreaking havoc down the right and on the quarter hour mark he beat his man to the byline before sliding a ball inside to Grant, but his curling shot was straight at Steinbors.
Stephen Kingsley very nearly made it 3-0 just after 30 minutes when Ginnelly was fouled 20-yards out. The dead-ball specialist stepped up and curled a magnificent effort over the wall and towards the top corner but Steinbors pulled off an equally impressive save, tipping the ball over the bar.
Moments later Hearts capatalised on some slack RFS play with Ginnelly running through the middle of their defence but his shot from the edge of the box was straight at the keeper.
RFS went close to pulling one back on 35 minutes when Tomas Simkovic latched on to a loose Hearts pass to blast a shot towards goal, it took a deflection off a maroon shirt and landed just wide of Gordon’s right-hand post. From the resulting corner, Gordon had to be alert to stop an effort on his line.
Kingsley was in the mix minutes later, carrying the ball forward and playing a one-two with Shankland at the edge of the box before arrowing a shot narrowly wide.
RFS halved the deficit in stunning fashion with six minutes of the half remaining. Friesenbichier ran on to a loose ball around 30-yards out and struck an unstoppable first-time effort beyond Gordon and into the top corner.
Half time: Hearts 2-1 FK RFS
Hearts nearly started the second half with a bang. Barrie McKay’s chip forward was laid off to Ginnelly and his rocket shot from distance flew inches over the crossbar, though the flag went up for offside.
Ginnelly was involved again ten minutes into the half, darting down the left and cutting into the box before pulling it back for Alex Cochrane, who hooked the ball towards goal but it bounced away from Shankland and a few yards wide of the post.
The woodwork denied RFS an equaliser on the hour mark. Friesenbichier once again struck a powerful shot from distance, beating Gordon but the ball came crashing back off the underside of the bar.
Minutes later Ginnelly hit a spectacular shot of his own, striking a wonderful effort from 30-yards out that Steinbors did well to push over the bar.
Gordon was alert to deny Andrej Ilic after the big striker stooped to meet a cross into the Hearts box, but his glancing header was smothered by the skipper.
The woodwork then came to RFS’ rescue after 72 minutes. McKay clipped a ball into the back door for Shankland to meet but his header came back off Steinbors’ left-hand post, and substitute Lewis Neilson could only blast the follow up over the target.
Vitalijs Jagodiniskis saw straight red for a crude tackle from behind on substitute Euan Henderson in stoppage time as the boys in maroon saw out the game to pick up three points and a second win in Group A.
Hearts: Gordon, M. Smith, Kingsley (Neilson, 68’), Grant (C. Smith, 64’), Kiomortzoglou, Shankland, Halliday, McKay (Forrest, 88’), Cochrane, Sibbick, Ginnelly (Henderson, 88’). Subs: Stewart, Clark, Pollock.
FK RFS: Steinbors, Sorokins (Vlalukin, 68’), Jatta (Saric, 72’), Emerson, Ilic, Mares, Panic, Frissenbichier (Rakels, 81’), Lipuscek, Simkovic (Zjuzins, 68’), Jagodinskis. Subs: Cerniauskas, Nerugals, Maksimenko, Varslavans, Stuglis, Bill, Dubra, Zaleiko.