Hearts ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over Dumbarton at Tynecastle this afternoon.
Second-half goals from Osman Sow, Danny Wilson and a Billy King double ensured the Jambos’ relentless march to the Championship title continued.
Robbie Neilson made only one change to the side that comprehensively beat Cowdenbeath 10-0 last time out at Tynecastle; Osman Sow replaced Billy King.
Hearts were comfortable in possession in the opening stages but almost gifted Dumbarton the opener. A long ball forward was misjudged by Alim Ozturk, with his wayward header landing at the feet of Chris Duggan at the edge of the box, but his half-volley was wide of the target.
At the other end Sam Nicholson was enjoying some space down the right, and in the eighth minute he combined with Miguel Pallardo to drill low at Danny Rogers from 15 yards.
Duggan was proving a handful for the home defence and did well to hold off Callum Paterson to get a shot in on goal, but Neil Alexander wasn’t for being beaten at his near post.
Sow showed his powerful running to spin away from his man and into the box after 15 minutes but his low effort was easily stopped by Rogers.
Hearts had their best chance of the match in the 26th minute when Sow slipped in Jamie Walker, but his rocket shot from an acute angle was touched onto the post by ‘keeper Rogers, though referee John Beaton awarded a goal kick.
Minutes later Sow was denied by the woodwork. His stunning long-range shot was touched onto the crossbar by Rogers, who gathered at the second attempt ahead of the oncoming Genero Zeefuik.
The Jambos were in complete control of proceedings, showing great attacking prowess, but the final ball just seemed to elude a maroon shirt at the crucial moment as the teams went in even-stevens at the break.
The deadlock was finally broken eight minutes into the second-half. Nicholson’s corner was floated in and nodded down into the six-yard box, and following a scramble Sow popped up to rifle the ball home from close-range.
Sow and Eckersley combined beautifully to tee-up Nicholson moments later, but he was forced wide inside the box before blasting the ball wide of the target.
It was 2-0 after 68 minutes. Substitute Billy King’s corner from the left was met by Wilson at the edge of the six-yard box, who rose unchallenged to nod into the net.
Sensing blood, Hearts went for it. Nicholson burst forward and stung the hands of Rogers with a 25-yard drive, then Morgaro Gomis twisted his way into the box but was denied by the ‘keeper’s outstretched leg.
King was next up and ran the length of the park into the visitors’ box before firing wildly over when he should’ve made Rogers work.
With three minutes left, King more than made up for that miss by slotting home Hearts’ third. He beat two players in the middle of the park before advancing forward and placing the ball expertly past Rogers and into the bottom corner of the net.
Two minutes later King grabbed a brace. Again, he raced clear of the Dumbarton defence before sliding the ball past Rogers to seal another comprehensive victory at Tynecastle.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker (King, 60'), Nicholson, Pallardo, Sow (Keatings, 60'), Zeefuik (El Hassnaoui, 75'), Eckersley. Subs: Hamilton, Anderson, McKay, McGhee.
Dumbarton: Rogers, Linton (Easton, 67'), Graham, Turner, Agnew, Duggan (Megginson, 85'), Taggart, Fleming, Petrie, Findlay, M.Wilson (Gilhaney, 78'). Subs: Ewings, Mair, McCallum, Campbell.
Referee: John Beaton
Top man: Morgaro Gomis