Hearts U20s put on a commanding display to run out 5-1 winners over Partick Thistle U20s this afternoon.
The Wee Jambos ran riot in the Development League encounter at Riccarton, going in 3-0 up at the break courtesy of an Ally Roy double and an Andy Irving strike. Thistle pulled one back early in the second-half through a Neil McLaughlin penalty, but another Roy goal and a late Aaron Reid effort put the shine on an emphatic victory.
Hearts took the lead after only five minutes. Alex Petkov drilled a ball out to Roy, who cut inside before slotting beyond Conor Cullen in the Partick goal.
Ten minutes later the Wee Jambos had Paul Gallacher to thank for keeping their lead. Kevin Nisbet got on the end of a long ball through the middle before unleashing a rocket shot from 18-yards, but the Hearts ‘keeper did well to touch the ball onto the crossbar.
Jon Daly’s side immediately went up the park and doubled their lead. Roy got down the left to play the ball inside and a poor clearance fell straight to Irving, who placed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net from inside the box.
It could’ve been 3-0 after 19 minute when Irving’s corner from the left found the unmarked Juwon Oshaniwa, but he couldn’t steer his header on target.
Gallacher came the rescue again not long after, making a brilliant save with his legs to deny Neil McLaughlin a certain goal.
It was 3-0 after 34 minutes. Irving’s deft through-ball found Roy, who skipped away from his man before firing beyond Cullen from the edge of the box.
Oshaniwa should’ve put the game to bed three minutes later when he found himself in space inside the box, but he could only fire straight into Cullen’s hands.
Hearts passed up a golden chance before the half was out when Petkov sprayed a ball out to Roy on the right, he beat his man before showing another a clean pair of heels, but he dragged his effort wide of Cullen’s right-hand post.
The visitors were handed a lifeline a minute into the restart. Jamie Brandon swiped the legs of Nisbet inside the box, and McLaughlin stepped up to send Gallacher the wrong way from the spot.
A comeback became unlikely when Partick were reduced to ten men after 55 minutes, after Harry Granger saw red for an off-the-ball kick at Roy.
Partick almost got another goal back in the 71st minute when Leon Jones’ slip inside the box allowed McLaughlin to lob Gallacher, but the ball hit the side netting.
The game was put beyond doubt two minutes later. Reid’s cross-field pass found substitute Dale Baxter at the back door, and his cut back was rifled home from close range by Roy, who grabbed his hat-trick.
With five minutes remaining, Hearts found a fifth. Reid burst forward and played a one-two with Roy before firing high beyond Cullen from 18-yards.