Match Reports

Hearts 1-1 Ross County

7th May 2016

Honours even between Jambos and Staggies.

 

Hearts and Ross County played out a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Juanma looked to have won the game for the Jambos when he prodded home in the 84th minute, but David Goodwillie nodded home the equaliser three minutes later.

Robbie Neilson made five changes from the side that faced Celtic a week ago. Jack Hamilton made his Premiership start of the season ahead of Neil Alexander, while Callum Paterson replaced Blazej Augustyn in defence. Sam Nicholson came in for Arnaud Djoum, with Gavin Reilly and Abiola Dauda in for Jamie Walker and Juanma.

Hearts started brightly, content to build from the back. A commanding burst from defence from John Souttar saw him find Dauda, who slipped in Don Cowie, but his cross into the middle was cleared before it could find Nicholson.

Reilly managed to whip in a cross from a tight space out by the corner flag in the 10th minute and Richard Foster’s clearance only went as far as Dauda at the edge of the box, but the striker blasted clean over the bar.

The Jambos had Hamilton to thank for keeping the scores level after 22 minutes. A deft through ball saw Alex Schalk beat the offside trap to go clean through, but the young ‘keeper was quick off his line to close the Ross County man down and make a fine block inside the box.

Hearts could’ve taken the lead on the half hour mark. Reilly showed great strength in the middle of the park to move the ball on to Nicholson, who passed inside first time to Dauda. The striker managed to round the ‘keeper but was forced wide, and his cutback to Prince Buaben saw a tame effort cleared in the six-yard box.

Dauda was in the thick of it by this point, expertly taking a long ball down before seeing a shot blocked but the ball fell into the path of Nicholson who rifled wide from inside the box.

Reilly and Cowie were replaced at half time by Juanma and Djoum, and the Belgian had an instant impact, winning possession at the edge of the box and seeing his shot deflected into the path of Buaben at the back door and he fired low across the face of goal and wide.

Djoum was in the thick of it again on the hour mark, as he raced clear and drifted a ball across the face of goal which just evaded the outstretched leg of Dauda and cleared Scott Fox’s right-hand post.

With 14 minutes remaining Juanma sent over a high cross to the edge of the box and Buaben hit a first-time volley on target but Fox pounced to his right to make a smart block.

Paterson was next to try his luck from distance, collecting on the right and skimming the top of the net with his left-foot shot.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute. Buaben was found in space down the right and he sent over a cross for Juanma to prod home from inside the six-yard box.

The lead only lasted three minutes. A high ball into the Hearts box saw substitute Goodwillie leap highest and loop his header into the corner of the net.

A highly frustrating afternoon for the men in maroon, who travel to Aberdeen on Thursday night.

Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Ozturk, Souttar, Oshaniwa, Nicholson (Zanatta, 71'), Kitchen, Cowie (Djoum, 46'), Buaben, Reilly (Juanma, 46'), Dauda. Subs: Alexander, L. Smith, McGhee, Pallardo.

Ross County: Fox, Robertson, Gardyne (Goodwillie, 82'), Foster, Davies, Franks (De Vita, 72'), Murdoch, Schalk (Boyce, 69'), Woods, Irvine, Quinn. Subs: Foden, Fraser, McShane, Graham.

Referee: Nick Walsh

Top man: Pince Buaben