A last-minute goal handed Hearts a well-deserved Development League victory over Dundee United this evening at Oriam.
The Wee Jambos got their noses in front in the first-half thanks to a goal from the trialist, but were pegged back when Louis Appere struck an equaliser in the 80th minute.
Andy Kirk’s side never let their heads go down however and duly bagged the winner through Aidan Keena’s sublime strike in the final minute.
Hearts dominated the first-half in terms of chances. Alex Petkov’s shot from distance was deflected inches wide after nine minutes, and Dean Ritchie’s effort two minutes later suffered the same fate.
Marcus Godinho raced down the right touchline in the 23rd minute to send a ball into the middle for Hearts’ trialist but his first-time shot was blocked behind.
Two minutes later the deadlock was broken. Malaury Martin’s defence-splitting pass found the trialist, who tried to middle it only to see the ball fall back into his path after a Utd block, and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net from ten yards.
Keena tried his luck on the half-hour mark but lifted his shot from the edge of the box high over the bar, before the visitors passed up a golden opportunity to equalise when Idris Kadded cut back for Logan Martin but the United man sidefooted over the bar.
Callumn Morrison brought out a fantastic save from Deniz Mehmet after driving at the defence and creating space for a thunderbolt effort, but the Utd ‘keeper sprung to push the ball around the post.
Moments later Mehmet almost gifted Hearts a second, rushing off his line to clear but instead hitting a fresh air swipe at the edge of the box, however the trialist couldn’t latch onto the ball and it went behind.
At the other end Jack Hamilton had to make a smart stop after a Utd man got a free header from a corner, but the Jambos ‘keeper pulled off a great reflex save on his line to keep the score at 1-0 going into half time.
The visitors went close to getting back on level terms four minutes into the restart. Logan Chalmers danced down the left flank before cutting inside and curling a wonderful effort goalward that missed Hamilton’s right-hand post by inches.
Hearts went straight up the park and nearly doubled their lead. Keena burst down the left to send a ball over to Morrison but he couldn’t steer his effort on target and knocked it wide.
Morrison was a constant thorn in Utd’s side and in the 60th minute he twisted and turned his way into the box before firing into the side netting.
Five minute later Morrison ran onto Martin’s short-free kick to blast a shot that was deflected into the path of the trialist but he shot over the bar.
The Wee Jambos kept up the pressure and substitute Dario Zanatta pinged a ball to the back post for Keena but it was at an awkward height for the striker and he blasted over.
It looked like Dundee United had secured a point with ten minutes remaining. Appere ran onto a long ball into the box and fired beyond Hamilton and into the back of the net. In the aftermath Kadded was given a second booking for an altercation with Chris Hamilton and he was given his marching orders, reducing Utd to ten men.
The boys in maroon went in search of the winner and found it with a minute remaining. Keena drove forward into the Utd box and struck beautifully over Mehmet and into the top corner of the net, handing Hearts the victory.
Hearts: J. Hamilton, Godinho, B. Gajda, C. Hamilton, Sandison, Ritchie (Zanatta, 60'), Petkov, Martin, Morrison, Keena, Trialist (Ward, 79'). Subs: Mason, Grigor, McGill.