Match Reports

Hearts 0-3 St Johnstone

19th March 2016

Hearts crash at home to St Johnstone.

 

Hearts slumped to a 3-0 home defeat against St Johnstone on Saturday.

A first-half brace of Murray Davidson headers was complimented by a late Darnell Fisher srike, in a match where Hearts never really got going.

Robbie Neilson made three changes from the side that defeated Dundee one week ago; Blazej Augustyn replaced the injured Alim Ozturk, Abiola Dauda came in for Sam Nicholson while Perry Kitchen was handed his first start ahead of Prince Buaben.

Despite enjoying the lion’s share of the possession, it was the visitors who took the lead after ten minutes. Liam Craig’s corner from the left was knocked across the face of goal and Davidson popped up to nod into the bottom corner from six-yards out.

The Jambos were forced into an early change, with Buaben replacing Don Cowie after only 14 minutes after the 33-year-old picked up a calf injury.

A cracking ball down the line from Liam Smith in the 18th minute saw Juanma skip away from Joe Shaughnessey and pick out Jordan McGhee at the back door, but his powerful header was well blocked by Alan Mannus at his near post.

St Johnstone doubled their lead after 20 minutes, and again it was through the head of Davidson. Craig’s inswinging corner bounced across the face of goal before being met by the unmarked Saints midfielder, who nodded into the net, despite Alexander getting a hand to it.

Saints’ corners were causing problems in the home box, with another Craig ball-in being met by Davidson, but this time he bulleted over from inside the six-yard box.

Hearts went in search of a goal to get back in the game and nearly got it just before half time. Arnaud Djoum got to the byeline before sending over a high cross into the box, but Jamie Walker could only head straight at Mannus.

Moments later a great passing move saw McGhee swing into the box and Mannus made a spectacular flying save to deny Walker’s deft flick goalwards.

Nicholson was introduced at half-time, with Dauda staying indoors as the Jambos went all out to get back in the game. However it was St Johnstone with the first chance of the second half, with David Wotherspoon’s pass into the box finding Chris Millar, who drilled low across the face of goal with no takers at the other end.

Alexander then came to the rescue, rushing out to make a brave block after Chris Kane threatened to get on the end of a long ball into the Hearts box.

Another stunning Alexander save kept Hearts in the game after 68 minutes. Craig’s looping free-kick was headed on target by substitute Steven MacLean, but the Hearts ‘keeper pounced to his right to claw the ball away from his goal.

Walker was inches away from reducing the deficit on 72 minutes. Nicholson’s corner was headed back out to the winger, and from 20-yards out he hit a sweet first-time volley which flew just over the crossbar.

Craig nearly went one better at the other end, unleashing a 30-yard thunderbolt that crashed off the crossbar on its way over.

Saints wrapped the game up two minutes from time when Wotherspoon’s simple pass down right saw Fisher run onto it, and from eight-yards he fired low beyond Alexander and into the back of the net.

Hearts: Alexander, L. Smith, Augustyn (Reilly, 66'), Souttar, McGhee, Cowie (Buaben, 14'), Kitchen, Djoum, Walker, Dauda (Nicholson, 46'), Juanma. Subs: Hamilton, Oshaniwa, Pallardo, Zanatta.

St Johnstone: Mannus, Anderson, Millar, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Shaughnessy, Swanson (MacLean, 53'), Fisher, Easton, Kane (Cummins, 78'), Craig. Subs: Clark, Scobbie, Lappin, Thomson, Krachunov.

Referee: Craig Thomson

Top man: Neil Alexander