Match Report: Hearts 2-2 Crawley Town16 July 2022
Two first half goals from Stephen Kingsley had Hearts in the driving seat at half-time, but two goals from Crawley man Dom Telford in the second 45 pulled the game back to level terms.
Our new Aussie recruit, Kye Rowles, made the bench as a trialist after touching down in Scotland on Thursday - as we await the completion of his registration with the Scottish FA. Meanwhile, Hearts boss Robbie Neilson made seven changes to the side that battled back against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in midweek.
On a bright afternoon in Gorgie, Hearts started the match with the same steely workrate that served them so well on Merseyside, with Alan Forrest and Gary Mackay-Steven both working Crawley ‘keeper Corey Addai straight out the gates.
The men in maroon would soon draw first blood; a cushioned delivery from Michael Smith into Stephen Kingsley 25-yards from goal laid the groundwork. The defender strode a few paces forward before leathering a trademark thunderbolt past Addai.
Kingsley, already on four pre-season goals after his hat-trick against East Fife earlier this month, quickly added a fifth. A sweet delivery from Jorge Grant at the corner saw him rise again to bullet in an unstoppable header past a helpless Addai.
Hearts were playing some brilliantly brutal football; quickly dismantling any Crawley attack and ruthlessly turning the ball around to mount devastating counter-attacks. Alan Forrest accelerated, gliding through the Sussex men’s defence before placing a low shot at Addai – with some inspired goalkeeping required to tip it around the post.
The chances were tumbling from the Edinburgh sky: Liam Boyce saw a chance whiz into the Roseburn Stand. Alan Forrest’s delicate dink edged past Crawley’s far post. The visitors, to their credit, quickly got a grip of the situation and soon started to strangle Hearts’ lines of attack as the first half ended.
Our visitors needed a bit of luck to pull themselves back into it; and they got exactly that just five minutes into the restart. Rob Hunt capitalised on a Hearts slip in the box, pouncing on the ball before whipping it across to Dom Telford in the middle – the Crawley marksman applying the finish to make it 2-1.
The English outfit quickly found themselves on level terms, applying a one-two punch through Telford moments after their equaliser – cutting inside before sending a curling effort past Craig Gordon.
Hearts quickly pulled themselves together to mount a response. Jorge Grant was pulling the strings to good effect in midfield – sliding in Mackay-Steven before the winger was crowded out by Omole. It was Grant again, minutes later, who flashed a header goal-wards towards Morris and into the ‘keepers palms.
Barrie McKay was introduced to the game from the bench half an hour from the end, and the attacker displayed some nice moves – including a delightful ball across the deck that Cammy Devlin very nearly dispatched on 80 minutes.
Neither side could find a winner on the day. Attention now turns to a trip to Lancashire next week when we face Preston North End at Deepdale on Wednesday night.
Hearts: Gordon, M. Smith, Halliday (Cochrane 66’), Neilson, Sibbick (Haring 66’), Kingsley, Forrest (McKay 66’), Grant (C. Smith 82’), Boyce, Devlin, Mackay-Steven (Henderson 66’)
Subs: Stewart, Trialist/Rowles, Atkinson, Haring, Cochrane, Henderson, McKay, C. Smith
Crawley: Addai (Morris 45’), Balagizi (Davis 75’), Omole, Conroy (Ransom 78’), Craig (Trialist 66’), Appiah (Marshall 68’), Johnson, Telford (Kuhdum 75’), Hunt (Francilette 57’), Payne (Trialist 66’), Nichols
Subs: Morris, Francilette, Ransom, Trialist, Davis, Kuhdum, Trialist, Wells, Marshall