Match Reports

Falkirk 1-2 Hearts

15th November 2014

Jambos battle to away win at Falkirk.


Hearts battled to a 2-1 win away to Falkirk on Saturday in a game of two halves.

First-half Kevin McHattie and Soufian El Hassnaoui strikes set the Jambos on their way, but an improved Falkirk side battled back in the second-half, pulling a goal back through Botti Biabi.

Robbie Neilson was true to his word and rotated his starting line-up; McHattie and Miguel Pallardo came in for Adam Eckersley and Sam Nicholson.

Hearts started off with the bulk of the possession and El Hassnaoui forced Jamie MacDonald into a smart save at his near post after ten minutes.

Moments later Prince Buaben danced his way through the Falkirk box but fired into the side netting at an acute angle.

The Jambos struggled to breakdown a stubborn home defence, that was until the 27th minute. Billy King ran across the face of the box, dodging multiple tackles, to feed McHattie, who turned inside the box and blasted home beyond MacDonald.

It was 2-0 ten minutes later. Jamie Walker broke down the left to send over an inviting cross and El Hassnaoui slid in to knock the ball into an empty net.

Second-half substitute Alex Cooper looked lively for the home side. He cut inside to drill an effort from 20-yards after 55 minutes, but Neil Alexander got down well to make the save.

Hearts had a glorious chance to put the game to bed just after the hour mark but were denied by MacDonald. A slack pass-back by Biabi saw Walker latch on, but as he ran through the middle on unleashed a shot on target, the Falkirk no.1 stood tall to block the wide man’s effort.

Almost immediately after, Falkirk halved the deficit. Slack Hearts defending saw Will Vaulks advance through the backline before finding Biabi at he back post, who had time to turn and lash the ball low across the face of goal and into the corner of the net.

With that the game was on knife-edge. Again Hearts went close, this time through substitute James Keatings who got on the end of Walker’s cutback, but his low drive from 12-yards was inches wide of the post.

Despite a tense final moments, the Jambos held out for a win that puts them six points clear at the top of the Championship.

Falkirk: MacDonald, Shaughnessy, McCracken, Vaulks, Taiwo (Shepherd, 83'), Alston, Smith (Cooper, 49'), Sibbald, Grant (Biabi, 49'), Leahy, Loy. Subs: Duffie, Bowman, T. Grant, Maybury.

Hearts: Alexander, McHattie, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker, El Hassnaoui (Holt, 75'), King, Pallardo, Buaben (Keatings, 66'), McKay, McGhee. Subs: Hamilton, Robinson, Nicholson, Buchanan, McKirdy.

Referee: Calum Murray

Top Man: Morgaro Gomis