Hearts U20s advanced through to the Final of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup tonight, beating Dundee United 2-0 at Tynecastle.
Goals in either half from Alistair Roy and Angus Beith sealed the win, in front of a crowd of 710.
Jordan McGhee anchored the defence, with Dario Zanatta leading the line for the young maroons.
A well-worked free kick between Beith and Zanatta on the edge of the box released the Canadian down the left, but his low drive was smothered by United ‘keeper Ryan Booth.
The Wee Jambos took the lead after only six minutes. Jordan McGhee flew down the right before sending in a looping cross for the back door for the unmarked Roy to power a header beyond Booth and into the net.
Hearts continued to press. Beith’s 13th minute corner was flashed over the bar by McGhee at the front post, as Jon Daly’s side looked the more comfortable of the two teams.
United had the crossbar to thank for keeping the score at only 1-0. Lewis Moore cut inside and found Robbie Buchanan, who struck first time, only to see his rocket shot thump the crossbar on its way over.
By the half hour mark the visitors began to impose themselves upon proceedings. Justin Johnson skinned Leon Jones down the right to send over a cross for Brad Smith, but he thrashed the ball over the bar from inside the Hearts box.
Dundee United had the upper hand as the first-half came to and end, with Scott Allardyce’s deflected effort from 20-yard nestling into Kelby Mason’s arms.
The visitors came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half, and Matty Smith found himself with the ball at his feet – but his back to goal – inside the Hearts box. His clever backheel rolled past Mason, but ended up wide of the target and Daniel Baur cleared.
Some sublime skill from Johnson inside the box nearly got United the equaliser, he turned Liam Henderson inside out before lashing wildly from 8-yards and missing the target.
The Wee Jambos were handed the perfect opportunity to double their lead in the 71st minute when Harry Souttar clattered into Zanatta insde the box, and Beith gladly took it, drilling low to the goalkeeper’s left and into the back of the net.
Dundee United didn’t let their heads go down and went in search of a goal to half the deficit. Some great tenacity by Johnson saw the ball eventually find Brad Smith 20-yards out, who drilled straight at Mason.
A Paul Hartley-esque free-kick from Callumn Morrison nearly rounded off Hearts’ night, but his in-swinging effort from an cute angle was brilliantly palmed away by Booth.
That was the last real chance of the game, and the Wee Jambos can now look forward to a trip to Hampden to face Motherwell in the Final.
Hearts: Mason, Jones, L. Henderson, Baur, McGhee, Beith, Morrison, Buchanan, Roy (I. Smith, 61'), Zanatta, Moore. Subs: Fisher, Baxter, Howlett-Mundle, Cochrane.
Dundee United: Booth, Tumility, Robson, Ballantyne, Souttar, Knoyle (Davie, 82'), Johnson, Allardyce, M. Smith, B. Smith, Coote. Subs: Donaldson, McNaughton, Duke, Garden.
Referee: Ross Anderson
Photo courtesy of Ron MacNeill