Match Reports

Raith Rovers 1-3 Hearts

17th March 2015

Jambos bag another three points on the road with win at Stark's Park.




Hearts secured another three points on the road, defeating Raith Rovers 3-1 at Stark’s Park.

The teams went in level at half-time after goals from Kevin McHattie - back in first-team action since being injured in November - and Craig Barr. But second-half strikes from Jamie Walker and Billy King meant all three points made their way back to Gorgie.

Robbie Neilson made three changes from his side that swept away Dumbarton four days earlier; in came McHattie, Billy King and James Keatings.

The men in maroon were almost one-up inside five minutes. Sam Nicholson found James Keatings inside the box and the striker lashed at goal, only to be denied by Raith ‘keeper David McGurn.

Keatings was in the mix again in the 22nd minute when he broke free from his man and burst towards goal, but his low angled shot was touched wide by McGurn.

Moments later Keatings sent over a cross from the byline which Zeefuik drilled goalwards only to be blocked on the line by the home keeper.

27 minutes in, Hearts took the lead. Keatings was provider as he sent in a cross from the right which found McHattie in an advanced position inside the six-yard box, and he simply flicked the ball past McGurn and into an empty net.

Hearts continued their onslaught on the home goal, with King darting forward and driving low from 25 yards, inches wide of the ‘keeper’s right-hand post.

Two minutes before half-time the home side got back on level terms. Ryan Conroy’s corner was met by Barr, who headed high into the top corner.

Nicholson was inches away from restoring the lead right after half-time. The ball bounced to him 25 yards out and his looping shot landed agonisingly just over the crossbar.

Raith had McGurn to thank for keeping the scores level at 54 minutes, when he pounced to his right keep out a stunning long-range Alim Ozturk free-kick.

A well-worked set piece saw Hearts go close again. Gomis slipped in Zeefuik who turned at the edge of the box and pulled off a shot, but he scooped his effort wide of the target.

The home side were reduced to ten men in 66 minutes when former Jambo Christian Nade received a straight red for diving into a tackle with McHattie in the middle of the park, which left the Hearts goalscorer worse off.

The visitors continued to press forward in search of a winner. Callum Paterson cut inside from the right before unleashing a rocket from 25 yards, but it swerved inches wide of McGurn’s right-hand post.

A brace of Nicholson shots from outside the box were blocked by that man McGurn again as Hearts tried desperately to get the advantage once more, but the Raith ‘keeper was proving a formidable force.

A moment of brilliance put Hearts back in front and it was courtesy of substitute Jamie Walker. Gomis moved it inside to the No. 7, who took a touch and curled a 25-yarder past the despairing McGurn and into the bottom corner.

The game was sealed in 85 minutes after a poor pass-back found Walker, who slid it sideways to the advancing King and he made no mistake, drilling beyond the ‘keeper from inside the box.

Another battling performance by the Jambos who were made to work for their win, but the points never looked in doubt and Robbie’s lads take another giant stride towards the Championship title.

Raith Rovers: McGurn, Thomson, Watson, Fox, G. Anderson, Callachan, Conroy, Vaughan (Stewart, 71'), McKeown, Nade, Barr. Subs: Hill, Moon, Scott, Robertson, Matthews, Cuthbert.

Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, McHattie, Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Nicholson, King (Anderson, 88'), Pallardo, Keatings (Walker, 73'), Zeefuik (El Hassnaoui, 88'). Subs: Gallacher, Sow, McGhee, Eckersley.

Referee: George Salmond

Top man: Billy King