Hearts exited the Betfred Cup this afternoon following a 1-0 defeat to Alloa Athletic after extra time at the Indodrill Stadium.
The Jambos lost to an Alan Trouten penalty, awarded despite protests by the Hearts defence after the match official deemed Jamie Walker to have fouled Robert Thomson.
Hearts were dealt a blow when Craig Halkett pulled out of the team in the warm up with back spasms, being replaced by Mihai Popescu, but the change didn’t seem to rock them, as they dominated the initial proceedings.
The scoring should have been opened after seven minutes when Liam Boyce beautifully controlled a long kick from Craig Gordon, spun his marker and slipped a ball to Olly Lee, who tried to round keeper Neil Parry, but the keeper denied Lee, before the ball broke to Boyce whose shot was deflected wide.
Hearts dominated possession throughout the match and continued to push forward during the opening stages of the half. Jamie Walker nodded a header wide from a Michael Smith cross, before Peter Haring volleyed over from a Stephen Kingsley cross.
Into the second half, and Walker was denied twice early on. First, Liam Dick cleared under the crossbar before a superb block from Nicky Jamieson denied him when he burst through on goal.
Alloa grew in confidence the longer the match went on, and Liam Buchanan drew a top save from Craig Gordon as the match drew to a conclusion. Despite introducing Steven Naismith, Jordan Roberts and Craig Wighton, Hearts toiled to create opportunities despite enjoying the lion's share of possession.
Into extra time, and Alloa’s growing attacking sense earned them a penalty when, on a breakaway, Walker was deemed to have tripped Thomson. Trouten sent Gordon the wrong way, and the Wasps held on for the victory.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Popescu, Berra, Kingsley, Haring (Irving 112), Halliday (Roberts 81), Lee (Henderson 112), Walker, White (Wighton 59), Boyce (Naismith 61). Subs not used: Stewart, Brandon, McGill.