Reports: Hearts 2 Hibernian 1
Hibs lost their long unbeaten run with a narrow defeat at Tynecastle this afternoon, although the Easter Road kids gave their more experienced neighbours something of a fright in the closing minutes when Derek Riordan struck with another cracker. It was however not enough to earn Hibs a share of the spoils on a day when the breaks just did not fall Hibs way, and the home side took the credit - and ultimately all three points to take them level with Hibernian in the SPL table.
Hibernian F.C. Match Reports
Sunday 24th October 2004
Hearts 2 Hibernian 1
Tony Mowbray had no surprises for the Hibs fans packing into the away stand at Tynecastle for the first derby of the season, with David Murphy returning to the line-up as expected at the expense of Alen Orman who dropped to the bench. The stage then set for a pulsating Derby from which victory could take Hibernian a comfortable six points clear of their city rival but of more importance perhaps only one point adrift of third place Aberdeen. So even more to play for than normal in the city clash – with Hibs seeking to take their run to nine games without defeat.
Beuzelin sent Riordan away in the opening minute however an offside flag halted the strikers progress towards the Gorgie Road stand. At the other end Brown had to look smart to clear his area, while from the resulting long throw into the area the goalkeeper again had to be alert to clutch the ball as it bobbled around his six yard area. Riordan then saw a yellow card after just two minutes, the striker taking Neilson late. Whittaker was then caught on the ball in what was a typically frantic start, Brown however untroubled by the resulting effort form 20 yards out.
Another long throw from Neilson had Hibs in trouble again, the ball coming off a post from a Weir effort but in any event the flag had been raised for offside. Hearts were certainly seeing the better of the early play, with Hibs finding it difficult to get their passing game going. O’Connor had Riordan on the move again but once more an offside flag was raised, this time with somewhat less justification perhaps. Webster took O’Connor late after nine minutes, Glass this time getting the referee’s lecture for his comments – seconds later O’Connor was again fouled, this time 30 yards from the Hearts goal.
Riordan went for goal with that and his effort had Gordon scrambling full stretch and relieved to watch the ball skim his right hand post. The first ten minutes out of the way and Hibs appeared to be settling more into the game, a Fletcher header into the Hearts area causing a few problems for the home defence who were relieved to see a flag raised as O’Connor tried to get to the loose ball. However Hearts took the lead on 14 minutes. Brown had to punch clear as another ball broke high above his head – it fell only as far as Kisnorbo just 20 yards out, and with no green shirt anywhere close he had time to blast the ball high into the Hibs net in spite of the efforts of Gary Caldwell on the goal-line to keep it out.
An O’Connor effort from 25 yards was blocked for Hibs first corner of the game in 20 minutes, McKenna doing well to clear that under pressure form O’Connor. Fletcher took a tumble under a Stamp challenge on the left touchline providing Riordan with a chance to swing a free kick into the Hearts area, a push however in the Hearts box saw that chance drift by and Hibs were still chasing an equaliser with 27 minutes of the game gone. Hibs had another corner two minutes later and this time Gordon did extremely well to palm the ball away from under his own bar. Fletcher just failed to get on the end of a neat O’Connor flick into the Hearts area after Pressley did well to cover the young Hibs midfielder’s run, while after 33 minutes Riordan could not take advantage of rare poor defending from the Tynecastle side as the ball broke to him in the area – but with his back to goal he was quickly closed down and could not get a shot in on goal.
Hartley was booked after taking Glass out in the 36th minute, that just one of many hefty challenges being delivered in the middle of the park. Caldwell’s delivery from that free kick found the head of Fletcher a yard from goal, but the Hibs man had delivered a push on his way into the area. Murray and McKenna then had a ‘wee splat’ that earned both a lecture from referee McCurry. An effort from O’Connor all of 30 yards out again had Gordon reaching but once more it was wide of target as the game approached the final five minutes of the half.
Just one minute of added time to the first half seconds into which Murphy took a hefty challenge on the touchline that appeared to be missed by the officials – that called an end to what had been a typical Edinburgh Derby!
Half Time: Hearts 1 Hibernian 0
Hibs then with plenty to do in the second half if they were to extend that unbeaten run. Hearts sent in Dennis Wyness for Phil Stamp for the start of the half, perhaps a clear signal from the Hearts’ boss of his intentions. In the opening minute Fletcher looked to get on the end of a neat flick from Riordan, he went over just inside the Hearts area but referee McCurry was having none of his protests and waved away the penalty claim.
Murray then cleared for Hibs after Whittaker lost the ball just outside the area, the Hibs skipper nipping in ahead of Wyness as he looked to make room for a shot 16 yards out. Kisnorbo then went down under a Beuzelin challenge, Hartley sending a dangerous ball in from that free kick that Caldwell had to head clear for a corner, the Scotland international again on hand to clear the resulting cross. Murray was then booked for taking Hartley out 30 yards from the Hibs goal as the home side had again settled in quicker to their play.
Hibs came so close to an equaliser in the 56th minute when Shiels latched on to a loose ball at the edge of the Hearts area, he clipped it over the head of the advancing Gordon but the ball dropped agonisingly onto the top of the net. Caldwell then earned a yellow after taking Wyness late 30 yards from goal, Hartley’s effort from that on target but held by Brown. Wyness was booked after 59 minutes for pulling back Shiels as the Irishman looked to break up the left wing.
Hibs replaced Fletcher with Dobbie after 64 minutes, Tony Mowbray seeking a formula that could find a way through a Hearts defence that had for the most part been untroubled by Hibs efforts. McKenna should have had Hearts two goals to the good when he was left unmarked at the back post in the 67th minute, his header finding only the side net with a very large target to aim at. The home side were in control and appeared first to every ball with Hibs struggling to find their own game, Gordon rarely troubled in the second half with the game now entering the final 20 minutes.
A David Murphy shot from 35 yards was easily collected by Gordon as was a cross from Garry O’Connor a minute later, clutched confidently by the goalkeeper from under his bar. Hearts put Pereira into the game with 15 minutes remaining, Weir the player coming off. Just one minute after the change Hearts were 2-0 up – the ball coming in from the right bye-line finding the boot of Hamill who sent a deft right-foot flick into the far corner. McKenna was replaced by McAllister before Hibs could take the kick off again.
A Beuzelin shot just skipped past the right-hand post ten minutes from time, Gordon looking in any event to have had the ball covered. Good chasing from Murphy up the left wing produced what was Hibs best chance of the half, however that ended with a wild effort from Beuzelin high into the Hibs fans behind the goal. A superb effort from Maybury almost compounded Hibs misery five minutes from time, Brown relieved to watch it skim his right hand post.
There was a little scramble in the Hearts goal from a corner on the left, the ball eventually falling to Whittaker – he fluffed his shot from 12 yards but even then Riordan managed to head back into the danger area but with no takers the Hearts defence once again cleared their lines. Hibs had not failed to score in a league match since the opening day of the season, but it appeared the Easter Road side could do little right in this game as they threw all they could at the Hearts defence in the closing minutes to little avail.
Riordan however ensured that the Hibs support had some consolation with a superb strike in the final minute. Murphy send the ball over from the left and from 16 yards Riordan struck a superb volley that left Gordon with no chance as it curled into the corner of the net. Hibs had 3 minutes of added time to press for an unlikely draw – Riordan having a go from a free kick 30 yards out but Gordon holding the ball on his line. It was the final act in another chapter of the Edinburgh Derby, leaving Hibernian in fourth place on the same points and goal difference than their city rivals.
Hibernian: Brown, Beuzelin, Caldwell, Fletcher, Glass, Murphy, Murray, O’Connor, Riordan, Shiels, Whittaker. Subs: Brown, Dobbie, McCluskey, Orman, Rocastle, Shields, Venus
Hearts: Gordon, Maybury, Kisnorbo, Pressley, McKenna, Webster, Stamp, Hartley, Neilson, Weir, Hamill. Subs: Miloanen, Wyness, MacFarlane, McAllister, Pereira, Berra, Janczyk
Referee: Michael McCurry