Hearts came out on top against a robust Alloa Athletic to win 1-0 at the Indodrill Stadium on Saturday.
The Jambos were made to work for their win, and the vital goal didn't come until the 86th minute through Adam Eckersley's long-range free-kick.
Robbie Neilson made only one change to the side that beat Queen of the South 3-0 a week previous; Dale Carrick was brought in to replace Soufian El Hassnaoui, who dropped to the bench.
The opening ten minutes were a scrappy affair, though Hearts had a penalty claim turned down after Carrick hit the deck chasing the ball to the bye-line.
It took until the 26th minute for either side to have a real effort on goal, and it was the Jambos who went close. Osman Sow's delightful backheel found Carrick 20-yards out and his shot flew just past Craig McDowall's right-hand post.
Despite not having much to do, Neil Alexander had to be at his best to keep the Jambos in the game before half-time. Graeme Holmes fed Kevin Cawley into the Heats box but as he tried to round Alexander, the Hearts no. 1 got down brilliantly to smother the ball when a free shot on goal looked certain.
Three minutes later Hearts hit the post. A loose ball at the edge of the box was rifled goal-ward by Jamie Walker, but the woodwork denied the Hearts winger's edge-of-the-box effort.
Sam Nicholson and Callum Paterson were introduced in the second half as Hearts tried to take the advantage in a stuffy game, but the hosts continued to dig in and counter-attack.
King capitalised on some slack defending in the 59th minute to send a ball back across the face of goal, and although he picked out Sow, the big Swede was leaning back as he connected and blasted over from seven yards out.
Prince Buaben tied his luck from distance following patient build-up play, but last week's hero couldn't find the target with his ambitious 25-yard curling shot.
The Jambos got out of jail in the 76th minute when Cawley's blocked shot fell to Ryan McCord at the back door, but his shot across the face of goal dropped the wrong side of Alexander's right-hand post. Moments later, Edward Ferns found himself in a similar position but he lashed wide from deep inside the box.
With four minutes remaining, Hearts finally got the breakthrough. Adam Eckersley's 35-yard free-kick bulleted through a clutch of bodies, and after appearing to take a deflection, nestled beyond McDowall and into the back of the net. All this, while Hearts were down to ten men after Danny Wilson limped off with a hamstring tweak.
As expected, a tough test for the Jambos who, when the chips were down, dug deep to produce the win and go nine points clear at the top of Championship.
Alloa Athletic: McDowall, Doyle, Docherty, Gordon, Benedictus, Simmons, McCord, Holmes, Cawley, Buchanan, Spence (Ferns, 54'). Subs: Tiffoney, Meggatt, Marr, Hetherington, Asghar, Couser.
Hearts: Alexander, Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker (El Hassnoaui, 73'), King, Buaben, Carrick (Nicholson, 46'), Sow, McGhee (Paterson, 51'), Eckersely. Subs: Hamilton, McHattie, Holt, Pallardo.
Referee: Calum Murray
Top Man: Danny Wilson