Hearts U20s earned their first league win of the season in style as they put in a terrific performance against Dundee United in tonight’s encounter at Ochilview.
First-half strikes from Danny Swanson - with an outstanding free-kick -and a penalty from Dario Zanatta gave the Jambos a 2-0 win.
There were starts for recent signings Arnaud Djoum and Danny Swanson, while Gavin Reilly led the line in attack, flanked by wingers Dario Zanatta and Robbie Buchanan.
Buchanan had the first chance of the match, with Swanson’s through ball finding the wide man, whose effort was saved well by Ryan Booth in the United goal.
Immediately after, Zanatta showed a brilliant turn of pace, cutting in from the left wing and beating two men before being denied by the United keeper. From the corner, Djoum headed just wide.
The Jambos pressure told in 19 minutes, as Swanson unleashed a monster of a free-kick from 30 yards out into the top corner after Zanatta was fouled.
Daniel Baur was next to threaten, with the tall defender meeting a Swanson corner. However, the centre-half’s header was too close to the busy Booth, who pushed the effort away.
On the half-hour, Hearts doubled their advantage. Buchanan was hacked down in the penalty area, and the impressive Zanatta coolly sent Booth the wrong way to net.
It was almost three a minute later, as Reilly outpaced his marker on the right wing, cut inside before that man Booth pushed the former Queens man’s shot away.
Reilly started on the front foot in the second half as he had two chances. Firstly, his goal-bound effort was blocked by Souttar, then Swanson’s reverse pass found him in the box but Reilly shot straight at Booth.
United were countering well, but were struggling to trouble Kelby Mason until late in the game.
The lively Justin Johnson burst clear and teed up Jordan Moore, but the striker blasted wildly over with the goal gaping.
Ali Coote was next to threaten, the midfielder breaking through on goal and attempting to round Mason, but the keeper showed good instincts to block him.
The ball came back to Coote as Mason backed onto his line, but the keeper denied his opponent again with a fine save.
Mason then produced the save of the match. Aidan Connolly found space in the box and fired a low left-foot effort that looked a certain goal, but a fingertip save from the keeper maintained the clean sheet.
That was the final action of the match as the Wee Jambos notched a deserved victory after an impressive first-half display.
Hearts: Mason, L.Smith, Reid, Howlett Mundle, Baur, I.Smith, Buchanan, Djoum, Swanson, Zanatta (Morrison 70), Reilly. Unused Subs: Brown, Jones, Baxter, McKirdy, Moore, Flanagan.
Dundee Utd: Booth, Tumilty, Davie, Horne (Ritchie 81), H. Souttar, Ballantyne (Taylor 66), Johnson, Smith, Moore, Coote, Connolly (Glass 86). Unused Subs: Donaldson, Duke.