Match Reports

Linfield 1-4 Hearts

8th July 2017

Hearts put four past Linfield in impressive friendly win.


Hearts rounded off their pre-season tour to Ireland and Northern Ireland with a 4-1 friendly win over Linfield.

Although Jamie Mulgrew put the hosts ahead, the Jambos rallied back to go in 2-1 up at the break thanks to goals from Harry Cochrane and Jamie Walker, before second-half strikes from Isma and Cole Stockton rounded off an impressive showing from the Gorgie boys.

Ian Cathro handed first starts to Kyle Lafferty and Michael Smith, with 16-year-old Cochrane also given the nod from the off.

Hearts should’ve taken the lead eight minuets in when Isma pounced on a misplaced pass to drive through the heart of the Linfield defence, teeing up Lafferty inside the box but the striker could only fire into the side netting.

A minute later Walker went on a lung-bursting run into the home box, ghosting past blue shirts, only to blast wide.

Despite the bright start it was the hosts who took the lead on 11 minutes. Linfield skipper Mulgrew carried the ball to the edge of the box before hitting a sweet strike beyond the despairing Jack Hamilton.

The Jambos got back on level terms after 25 minutes. Some patient build up play down the right saw Michael Smith cut the ball inside to Cochrane, who drilled low past Roy Carroll and into the back of the net from 20-yards out, albeit with the help of a slight deflection.

Hearts went close to taking the lead in the 34th minute when Walker slipped Don Cowie through, but at an angle the midfielder could only lift the ball over both Carroll and the crossbar.

The pair then linked up again two minutes later create and score Hearts’ second goal. Cowie’s quick corner was floated into the six-yard box and Walker popped up to flick a header past Carroll.

A spectacular overhead kick from Isma in the closing stages of the first-half had Carroll scrambling across his goal-line, but the ‘keeper got both hands to the ball to make a firm stop.

Hearts continued their attacking play in the second-half, with Walker dancing his way into the Linfield box after 49 minutes to blast a shot on target, but it was straight at Carroll who beat the ball away.

Walker was tormenting the Linfield defence with a series of runs through the middle, culminating in a 25-yard curling effort after 59 minutes which flew past Carroll’s right-hand post.

Hamilton had to be alert to deny substitute Niall Quinn, whose looping shot from the edge of the box looked to be dropping into the top corner until the ‘keeper managed to tip the ball over the bar.

It was 3-1 after 66 minutes. Prince Buaben threaded through Isma, who turned his man to put the ball in the bottom corner of the net.

Substitute Rory Currie got on the end of Ash Smith-Brown’s 82nd minute cross and managed to get the ball out from underneath his feet to pull off a shot which floated inches wide of the target.

The Jambos rounded off a successful afternoon with a fourth in the 84th minute. Malaury Martin’s free-kick found its way to Stockton who drilled low from inside the box to make it 4-1.

Linfield: Carroll, Mitchell, Stafford, Haughey, Clarke, Millar, Mulgrew, Lowry, Garrett, J. Stewart, Waterworth. Subs: Deane, Robinson, Glendinning, Burns, C.Stewart, Quinn, Smyth, Casement, Fallon, Clarke.

Hearts: Hamilton, M. Smith (Brandon, 68'), Grzelak (Smith-Brown, 68'), Nowak, Hughes (Petkov, 79'), Berra, Cowie (Buaben, 46'), Walker (Stockton, 74'), Cochrane (Martin, 60'), Lafferty (Sammon, 79'), Isma (Currie, 74'). Subs: Noring, McGhee, Beith, Henderson.

Referee: Stephen Taylor