Hibernian 1-1 Heart of Midlothian
Sunday 28th April 2019, KO 12:15 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Easter Road
Uche Ikpeazu struck late to break Hibs hearts and secure a point for the Jambos at Easter Road.
A typically energetic capital clash saw both sides cancel each other out until the 67th minute when Daryl Horgan’s cross was turned into his own net by Christophe Berra.
Not to be undone, however, Ikpeazu bagged a point for the Jambos with a cool finish seven minutes from time.
Craig Levein made four changes from the side that faced Rangers last week, with Connor Smith handed his full debut while there was a starting place for fellow teenager Harry Cochrane.
Conor Shaughnessy and Sean Clare both returned to the starting line up as Bobby Burns, Olly Lee, Craig Wighton and Ollie Bozanic all missed out.
Hearts dominated the opening five minutes but it was the hosts who created the first real chance, with Florian Kamberi threading Stephane Omeonga through but the Belgian’s low drive from inside the box was straight at Bobby Zlamal.
The Jambos were nearly masters of their own downfall 11 minutes in when John Souttar’s heavy touch at the edge of the box allowed Omeonga to nip in but he was forced wide and his attempted ball back across the box was blocked behind by Zlamal.
By the half hour mark the game was being played at a frantic pace, with both sides showing a willingness to go forward. Hibs went close when Omeonga peeled away inside the box to float a ball into the middle and Horgan got enough on it to steer the ball goalwards but it spun over Zlamal and onto the roof of the net.
A moment of Jake Mulraney magic forced Ofir Marciano into action with two minutes of the half remaining. The winger ran through the Hibs side before getting to the edge of the box and pulling the trigger but the Israeli ‘keeper acrobatically punched the ball away.
One last push from Hibs nearly saw them take the lead before the half was out. Lewis Stevenson’s 30-yard thunderbolt was pushed away by Zlamal before Marc McNulty’s follow up was cleared off the line by Berra. The ball eventually found its way back into the box and a hanging cross was spilled by Zlamal into the path of the unmarked Darren McGregor, but from close range he ballooned his effort well over the bar.
Hibs threatened again two minutes into the restart. David Gray’s cross from the right was headed clear by Berra but only as far as Stevenson who rifled a 20-yard effort that looked destined for the bottom corner but Souttar threw himself in the ball’s path to make a phenomenal block.
Zlamal came to the rescue in the 56th minute with an outstanding save. Omeonga twisted and turned his way past two maroon shirts to feed Stevenson, who crossed into the middle for McNulty to head from point blank range but the big Czech keeper flew across his goal to push the ball away.
The hosts were then handed a chance to open the scoring from the spot when Ikpeazu mistimed his clearance and sent Paul Hanlon sprawling, but McNulty blasted his penalty off the outside of Zlamal’s left-hand post.
The deadlock was broken in the 67th minute in the cruelest of fashions. Gray tore down the right, cutting inside before feeding Horgan on the overlap, and cross into the box was diverted off Berra and beyond Zlamal, creeping into the back of the net.
When time looked to be running out the Jambos struck an 83rd minute sucker punch. Ikpeazu showed his trademark strength to move the ball on to substitute Steven MacLean, who carried the ball into the box before turning his man and laying it on a plate for Ikpeazu who stretched and struck the ball beyond Marciano and into the bottom corner of the net.
Playing with their tails up, Hearts bombarded the Hibs final third and nearly grabbed a winner when Souttar knocked the ball back across the box for Ikpeazu who hit a spectacular overhead kick, only to see Marciano touch it over the bar.
Honours even at Easter Road where Hearts go the season unbeaten for the first time in eight years.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, Hanlon, Milligan, Horgan, McNulty, Mallan, Stevenson, Kamberi (Slivka, 46'), McGregor, Omeonga. Bogdan, Bartley, Gauld, Agyepong, Spector, Shaw.
Hearts: Zlamal, M. Smith, Shaughnessy, Souttar, Berra, Clare (MacLean, 69'), Djoum, Ikpeazu, Cochrane (Bozanic, 71'), Mulraney, C. Smith (Edwards, 64'). Subs: Doyle, Lee, Brandon, Dikamona.
Referee: Craig Thomson