Heart of Midlothian 1-0 Motherwell
Saturday 8th December 2018, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Motherwell this afternoon.
Peter Haring’s first-half header proved decisive in a game of few clear cut chances at Tynecastle Park.
Craig Levein made two changes from the side that drew at St Johnstone in midweek. In came Steven MacLean and Marcus Godinho, with Olly Lee and Craig Wighton moving to the bench.
The visitors had sight of goal within 15 seconds. A long ball forward was headed clear by Christophe Berra but Danny Johnson collected it and drove forward, pulling the trigger from 20-yards only to see it fly past Zdenek Zlamal’s left-hand post.
Hearts created a chance of their own four minutes in. Sean Clare’s ball back to Berra saw the skipper float one into the box for Peter Haring to a loop a header on target, but Mark Gillespie plucked to the ball to safety on the goal-line.
The Jambos went close again moments later. Demi Mitchell showed a great touch to take a long ball down and get into the box before sending a low cross for MacLean to slide in but a Motherwell short got the last touch on it and diverted the ball behind.
The deadlock was broken after 14 minutes, and it was in the Tynecastle men’s favour. Ollie Bozanic swung a fantastic ball into the six-yard box and Haring outjumped both Carl McHugh and Charles Dunne to power a header beyond Gillespie.
Chances were few and far between from thereon in. Arnaud Djoum’s wayward header missed the target, though he was penalised for a push, and David Turnbull’s tame long-range effort on 25 minutes was easily stopped by Zlamal.
The Jambos nearly extended their lead a couple of minutes before half time, somewhat fortuitously. Michael Smith’s free-kick down the line to Godinho saw the Canadian swing a cross into the box that caught out Gillespie, but the Motherwell ‘keeper was able to push the ball around the post before it crept into the top corner.
From the resultant corner, Clevid Dikamona rose highest to head Bozanic’s cross inches wide of the target.
Neither side changed things up at half-time and it was Hearts who would create the first chance of the second period. A free-kick into the Motherwell box was nodded back across by Haring for Bzanic, but his shot on the spin lacked conviction and Gillespie saved.
A quick Hearts breakaway nearly provided a second in the 76th minute. MacLean flicked a ball into the path of Djoum, who showed great control to take it down on his chest before playing in Sean Clare on the overlap, but from an angle he could only fire wide.
The visitors tried to put pressure on home defence but they stood firm. Curtis Main drove forward in the 82nd minute and hit a low shot from distance but Zlamal gathered comfortably.
Hearts had a strong penalty shout turned down in the 84th minute when Berra flicked on substitute Olly Lee’s corner and Dunne appeared to take it down onto his arm, but referee Willie Collum waved play on.
A tense final few minutes followed, with Lee smashing an effrot wide in stoppage time, but the men in maroon stood firm to bag the win and all three points.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Haring, Berra, Bozanic, Clare (Lee, 82'), Djoum, Mitchell, MacLean, Godinho, Dikamona. Subs: Doyle, Wighton, Hughes, Garuccio, Cochrane, Morrison.
Motherwell: Gillespie, Tait (Scott, 83'), McHugh, Aldred, Main, Grimshaw, Rose (Bowman, 70'), Dunne, Rodriguez-Gorrin (Bigirimana, 64'), Johnson, Turnbull. Subs: Ferhuson, Campbell, Mbulu, Livingstone.
Referee: Willie Collum