Match Reports

Match Report: Hearts 6-0 Alloa

9th April 2021

Hearts earned a comprehensive victory over Alloa Athletic this evening at Tynecastle Park.

A Liam Boyce hat-trick, a Euan Henderson strike, a maiden goal for Aaron McEneff and a tidy finish off the bench for Jamie Walker gave the Jambos a vital three points that means they are only one win away from a return to the Scottish Premiership after last season’s demotion, though the title could be clinched sooner if results elsewhere go the maroons' way over the next seven days.

The Jam Tarts welcomed back John Souttar for his first appearance in 14 months following an Achilles injury, while there was also a Tynecastle bow for Shay Logan after his debut at Dunfermline last week. Michael Smith made up a back three with Souttar and Craig Halkett, while Armand Gnanduillet partnered Liam Boyce in attack.

Alloa, marooned at the foot of the table, came to Gorgie looking to win with games running out to get themselves out of trouble, and they had the first chance of the game early on when Andy Halliday, playing at left wing-back, lost the ball to Kevin Cawley who crossed for Alan Trouten, but the midfielder blazed over.

At the other end, Hearts threatened on a couple of occasions; firstly, when Aaron McEneff swung in a corner that Gnanduillet headed over then shortly after, following a swift counter attack, Boyce crossed for Gnanduillet who drew a smart save from Neil Parry.

Alloa then tried to hit the front with two chances in quick succession. Jon Robertson crossed from the right wing for Trouten, who scuffed his shot past the post when only a few yards out, before Innes Cameron had a shot from outside the area that Craig Gordon got down to well.

The game was very open and, with chances coming thick and fast, a goal was coming, and it arrived just before the half hour when Halliday slipped a lovely pass through with the outside of his foot to Boyce, who finished first time into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later, the lead was doubled. Henderson picked the ball up on the edge of the Hearts penalty box and drove at the Wasps defence, beating man after man before it looked like he’d overhit his touch, but his pace got him beyond Parry who brought him down. Boyce stepped up and sent Parry the wrong way to grab his second.

Into the second half, and it was a quick double whammy for Alloa as Hearts ran riot. The impressive Peter Haring, looking sharper with every game, played a lovely slide rule pass through for Henderson who confidently chipped Parry to add a third.

Three minutes later it was a hat-trick for Boyce. Henderson tried to hit a cross into the area from the right which deflected up for McEneff, whose first time shot was well saved by Parry but Boyce smashed home a volley on the rebound to earn the match ball.

With 20 minutes to go, Hearts added a fifth. Substitute Steven Naismith chipped a ball through for both Gnanduillet and McEneff, with the Irish midfielder winning the race and, after dummying his first attempt, shooting low into the corner beyond Parry for his first goal in maroon.

There nearly a sixth when a Shay Logan cross was met by McEneff, who didn’t quite hit the ball cleanly on the volley and his effort was scrambled off the line by some frantic Alloa defending, before a sixth did arrive. Parry was caught dallying on the ball, and Gnanduillet nipped in to poke the ball away from him to sub Walker who passed into an empty net to complete the scoring.

Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Souttar (Walker, 84'), Haring, Gnanduillet, Boyce (Mackay-Steven, 76'), Logan, Halliday, McEneff, Halkett, Henderson (Naismith, 60'). Subs: Stewart, Irving, Frear, Popescu.

Alloa: Parry, Taggart, Dick, Graham, Hetherington, Cawley, Robertson, Trouten (Scougall, 61'), Cameron, Grant, Williamson (Murray, 54'). Subs: Willison, Buchanan, Jamieson, Connolly, Thomson.

Referee: Steven McLean