Hearts B were defeated 2-1 by Stirling University at Forthbank this afternoon.
The Wee Jambos played out an entertaining match against the students, with James Wilson converting from the spot just before half-time following James Stokes’ 22nd minute opener.
Ben MacIver-Redwood added a second ten minutes from time, with Luke Rathie seeing a second Hearts penalty saved to deny Liam Fox’s side at least a point.
The B Team boss was able to draft in experience for the match, with Aidan Denholm leading the team out as skipper and midfielder Finlay Pollock also available for duty.
Stirling have proven to be formidable opponents over the season for the Wee Jambos, and they emerged from the block with a real intensity. An early corner saw Jake Service flash a header wide of Liam McFarlane’s goal.
Hearts found some success pursuing Stirling down the flanks, with crosses from Finlay Pollock and Adam Forrester so very nearly finding a maroon taker in the box.
The students claimed the lead after 22 minutes following a bit of pinball in the Hearts box, with James Stokes sending a deflected strike beyond McFarlane.
Some fortune fell Hearts’ way on the cusp of half-time when James Russell handled the ball while attempting to deal with Adam Forrester’s cross. James Wilson stepped up to the spot and guided the ball home to send the Jambos in 1-1 at the break.
Whilst both sides had their moments, Stirling kept crafting chances and forced Hearts goalkeeper Liam McFarlane into a number of saves.
With ten minutes left to play, Stirling eventually broke the deadlock when Ben MacIver-Redwood’s flicked effort towards goal with another deflection helping it into the net.
There was a chance to restore parity just two minutes later when Hearts secured a penalty following a trip. Luke Rathie stepped up to the plate, but Gromov Godik dived the correct way to send Hearts home empty handed.
Hearts: McFarlane, Forrester, Rathie, Nair, Drysdale (Dall 72’), Pollock (Thomas 65’) Gordon, Denholm, McLuckie, Wilson (Thompson 65’), Sandilands
Subs: McConnell, Dall, Thomas, Duncan, Ross, Thompson, Muirhead