Match Reports

Match Report: Hearts 2-0 Motherwell

29th January 2022

Hearts extended their lead in third place into the double digits after a hard-fought victory over Motherwell at a blustery Tynecastle Park.

In trying conditions brought on by Storm Malik, the Jambos' quality in the final third eventually saw off a well-drilled Steelmen, thanks to goals from Andy Halliday and Ellis Simms.

There were six changes to the side that faced Celtic in midweek, showcasing the strength in depth at the club, with places in the team for Taylor Moore, Andy Halliday, Beni Baningime, Gary Mackay-Steven, Nate Atkinson and Ellis Simms.

There was also the welcome sight of Toby Sibbick amongst the Hearts subs, the defender included after his move from Barnsley on Thursday evening.

The Jambos were presented with a chance from an unexpected source early in the match, as Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly was punished for picking up a pass back. Stephen Kingsley's effort, however, was blocked.

At the other end, Motherwell threatened when Kevin van Veen worked space for himself at the edge of the area and attempted to place a shot past Craig Gordon, but it went just wide.

A great sweeping move from Hearts then presented an opportunity for Halliday, as the ball was worked wide to Atkinson whose deep cross was headed straight at Kelly by the midfielder.

Halliday's late arrival at the back post proved to be a warning Motherwell did not heed, as the Jambos took the lead on 38 minutes.

After the ball found its way into the area, a combination of Cammy Devlin and Liam Boyce managed to work the ball across goal for the onrushing Halliday who slammed the ball home to open the scoring.

Motherwell did have a glaring chance in first half stoppage time when ex-Jambo Jordan Roberts whipped in a ball from the left for van Veen, who nodded wide from 6 yards out.

Sibbick appeared at the interval replacing John Souttar and instantly looked at home with his comfort on the ball and pace making him stand out as a strong acquisition.

Into the second half, and a driving run from Devlin saw him poke the ball through to GMS at the edge of the box but his right footed strike was straight at Kelly.

However, Devlin would play his part in the second goal as he won the ball in his own half and broke into the final third. Boyce and Simms split their runs to the right and left, with Devlin finding Boyce whose pass across goal was inch perfect for Simms to tap in for a brilliant first goal.

It should have been three moments later when sub Ben Woodburn won the ball in the middle of the park and sent Boyce scampering through on goal. He rounded Kelly but his shot was cleared off the line.

A flurry of substitutions killed the tempo of the game and, bar a half-hearted penalty shout from Halliday after being bundled over in the area, and a good save in stoppage time from Gordon to dent Justin Amaluzor, there was no more action to speak of as Hearts saw the game out comfortably.

Hearts: Gordon, Kingsley, Souttar (Sibbick, 46'), Baningime, Boyce (McKay, 78'), Mackay-Steven (Woodburn, 60'), Atkinson, Devlin (Haring, 60'), Moore, Halliday (Cochrane, 87'), Simms. Subs: Stewart, McEneff, Henderson, Ginnelly.

Motherwell: Kelly, O'Donnell, Carroll, Maguire (Goss, 34' - Amaluzor, 81')), van Veen, Shaw, Slattery, McGinley, Johansen, Tierney, Roberts (Shields, 71'). Subs: Fox, Mugabi, Woolery, Ojala, Grimshaw, Nirennold.

Referee: Craig Napier