Hearts’ eight-game winning run came to an end at East End Park this evening after losing 2-1 to Dunfermline Athletic.
Dom Thomas and Euan Murray put the hosts two up in the second half before Stephen Kingsley halved the deficit late on.
Robbie Neilson made seven changes from the side that completed the Betfred Cup group stage with a win at East Fife with Craig Gordon, Michael Smith, Liam Boyce, Steven Naismith, Andy Halliday, Stephen Kingsley and Craig Halkett all welcomed back into the side.
Though it was the Jambos who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, the home side were first to threaten after 11 minutes. David Mayo fed Iain Turner at the edge of the box but he could only shoot well wide.
Two minutes later the men in maroon hit the woodwork. Elliott Frear’s free kick into the box found Mihai Popescu but his header crashed back off of the crossbar.
A hectic period continued when the Pars went straight up the park and won a corner. Thomas sent it in to the front post for Steven Whittaker to flick into the side netting.
The Jambos then went close through Kingsley, with his 20-yard set piece flying inches wide of Owain Fon Williams’ left-hand post.
Kingsley was involved again just after the half hour mark when his cross was cleared only as far as Olly Lee and his strike from distance fizzed just past the target.
Lee’s smart low corner found Naismith in space on 41 minutes, however his first-time shot was straight at Fon Williams who was able to smother.
Dunfermline took the lead four minutes after the restart. Thomas cut across the Hearts box and blasted past Gordon, with the help of a large Popescu deflection.
On 55 minutes it was 2-0. Thomas’ corner from the left found Murray at the near post and he was able to head into the back of the net.
The men in maroon nearly pulled one back soon after when Boyce beat the offside trap to get on the end of a cross but his header was saved at point blank range by Fon Williams, who was then able to block the striker’s follow up.
Hearts ramped up the pressure but were again denied by the crossbar. Popescu rose to meet Halliday’s corner but saw his header cannon against the woodwork.
With 20 minutes remaining Naismith was able to latch on to a deflected clearance to run in on goal but he attempted to slide in the advancing substitute Jordan Roberts only for a Pars defender to get a crucial touch to take it from the winger’s feet.
Gordon was called into action in the 78th minute when he made a fine save from Declan McManus and although Mayo had the goal at his mercy with the rebound he could only head wide.
The Jambos finally had the ball in the back of the net with six minutes to go. Substitute Andy Irving’s corner found Kingsley who was able to guide his header past Fon Williams and into the opposite corner of the net.
The equaliser proved elusive despite camping out in Dunfermline’s half for the closing stages as Hearts dropped their first points of the season.
Dunfermline: Williams, Edwards, Murray, Turner, McManus, Dow, Whittaker, Mayo, Thomas, McInroy, Watson. Subs: Gill, Comrie, O’Hara, McCann, Wilson, Bowman, Murray.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Lee (Irving, 75’), Boyce, Naismith, Wighton (Roberts, 63’), Halliday, Kingsley, Frear (Walker, 52’), Halkett, Popescu. Subs: Stewart, White, Berra, Brandon.