A young Hearts side were beaten 2-0 by Dumbarton in tonight’s friendly match at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
Headers in either half from Grant Gallagher and Kevin Cawley were enough to inflict Hearts’ first defeat of this pre-season campaign.
The Jambos lined up with much the same team that finished the game against Raith Rovers two days previously, with the additions of Liam Henderson and Robbie Buchanan while Jack Hamilton started in goals.
The hosts started brightly and seemed keen to attack the Hearts goal. Hamilton pulled off a stunning save to keep the scores level after only five minutes when he got down to his right to beat away a William Gibson effort from the edge of the box.
Three minutes later Dumbarton took the lead. Gibson’s corner from the right was met by Gallagher who rose above the Hearts defence to nod into the bottom corner.
Hamilton was on hand to make another smart stop, this time from Garry Fleming’s 12th minute looping header. The Jambos ‘keeper sprung to get a palm to the ball and take the sting out of it before collecting.
At the other end Billy King tried his luck from a 25-yard free-kick, but he blasted clean over the bar.
The Sons could’ve doubled their lead midway through the first-half when a long ball found Scott Taggart at the back door, but he failed to connect properly and his shot trickled across the face of the goal.
Referee Alan Muir nearly set up Fleming for Dumbarton’s second, but his close-range shot was blocked by Hamilton.
Hearts went straight up the park and hit the woodwork. Gavin Reilly burst forward and pulled the trigger at the edge of the box, only to see his effort crash back off the post.
Dumbarton passed up another good chance 38 minutes in. Jordan Kirkaptrick broke free down the right before crossing to the back post, but the outstretched Cawley could only knock it wide.
Hearts looked suspect with high balls into the box and Hamilton came to the rescue again with five minutes remaining until half-time with a block from Gregor Buchanan’s header.
The Jambos should’ve got back on level terms before the half was out. Liam Smith ran through the centre of the park before finding Reilly, whose shot was palmed out into the centre of the box by Mark Brown, and although Russell McLean was unmarked he fired over the bar first-time from 12-yards.
Three minutes into the restart McLean was denied by Brown. King’s corner was met by the giant Hearts striker, but the Dumbarton ‘keeper pulled off a great point-blank save.
Moments later McLean turned provider when he slipped through Reilly, who drove low across the face of goal only to be foiled by Brown.
Despite Hearts’ lively start it was Dumbarton who bagged the game’s second. Gregor Buchanan headed back into the six-yard box from a corner and Cawley popped up to nod home from close range.
Robbie Neilson made nine changes on the hour mark, with Blazej Augustyn taking on the captain’s duties.
The subs almost made an instant impact as Jordan McGhee headed goalwards from Gary Oliver’s corner, but an outstretched leg cleared the danger in front of Brown’s right-hand post.
Sam Nicholson showed tricky feet to evade his man in the middle of the park and create space 25-yards out, though his low effort was saved by a scrambling Brown.
The Jambos looked more in control as the game went on, with Brown again denying the men in maroon, this time saving from Sean McKirdy’s long-range effort.
Try as they might the men in maroon couldn’t salvage a goal after being given a tough workout by an impressive Dumbarton side.
Dumbarton: Brown, Taggart, Docherty, Barr, Buchanan, Routledge, Cawley, Gallagher, Fleming (Smith, 46'), Kirkpatrick, Gibson. Subs: Ewings, Miller, Waters, McCallum, Trialist, Trialist.
Hearts: Hamilton, Buchanan (Anderson, 60'), Smith (Paterson, 60'), Jones (Augustyn, 60'), Howlett-Mundle (McGhee, 60'), King (Nicholson, 60'), Pallardo (McKirdy, 60'), Henderson, Walker (Oliver, 60'), Reilly (El Hassnaoui, 60'), McLean (Juanma, 60'). Subs: Alexander
Referee: Alan Muir
Top man: Jamie Walker