Saturday 26th January
Saints impressive away form came to an end against Hearts at Tynecastle Park this afternoon.
After a goalless first half Hearts took the lead on 52 minutes as Marcus Godinho slipped the ball past Zander Clark from 8-yards-out after being setup by John Souttar.
Saints tried to find a way back into the game but the hosts secured all three points as the match entered 4 minutes of additional time. Hearts hit Saints on the brake and substitute Callumn Morrison slammed the ball past Clark and into the far corner of the net.
After defeating Livingston 1-0 on Wednesday evening at McDiarmid Park Saints were back in action this afternoon as they made the trip to Gorgie to take on Hearts. Tommy Wright made one change to the side that won in midweek as Liam Gordon came into replace David Wotherspoon who dropped to the bench. Hearts manager Craig Levein made five changes to the team that started the midweek 2-1 home defeat to Dundee. Out went Conor Shaughnessy, Demetri Mitchell, Callumn Morrison, Aidan Keena and David Vanecek to be replaced by John Souttar, Ollie Bozanic, Steven Naismith, Jake Mulraney and Marcus Godinho.
The hosts got the game underway and they created the first chance of the match after 11 minutes. Jake Mulraney went on a good run down the left before crossing the ball into the box which was initially blocked by Liam Gordon before bouncing up and falling to Marcus Godinho at the back post however, his header from close range was brilliantly tipped over by Zander Clark.
The first booking of the game came on 19 minutes as Arnaud Djoum was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Tony Watt.
On 28 minutes Hearts threatened as Steven Naismith tried to setup Olly Lee however, he was forced wide by the Saints defence. The pressure continued as Lee backheeled the ball to Djoum and the Cameroonian teed up Ollie Bozanic 20-yards out. The midfielder tried to slip the ball in the path Naismith but Clark was out quick to deal with the danger.
The home side were creating the better chances during the first half and they threatened again on 34 minutes. A long ball forward picked out Mulraney who advanced into the box before having a shot which was diverted onto the post by Clark’s leg before going behind for a corner.
With 5 minutes of the first half remaining Hearts were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area after Bozanic had been fouled by Liam Craig. Bozanic took the free kick himself but his effort was deflected for a corner which came to nothing.
3 minutes into the second half the home side came very close to breaking the deadlock. A goal kick by Clark fell to Christophe Berra and the Hearts captain headed a good ball forward into the path of Naismith who raced into the box but Jason Kerr got back to put in a good tackle. The loose ball was picked up by Sean Clare who had a shot but his effort crashed off the post before Saints cleared their lines. A big let off for Saints.
The pressure from the hosts eventually told on 52 minutes as they took the lead. John Souttar clipped the ball into the path of Godinho and he slipped it under Clark from eight-yards to break the deadlock.
Saints then made a change with Danny Swanson coming on to replace Ross Callachan. That was closely followed by another change 2 minutes later as Michael O’Halloran came on for Liam Gordon as Saints tried to find a way back into the game.
The changes seemed to help Saints as they looked more lively going forward. On 68 minutes Saints were awarded a free kick in an inviting position after Kennedy had been fouled by Godinho. Swanson took the free kick as he played it short to Liam Craig who had a shot at goal which didn’t trouble Hearts keeper Colin Doyle.
On 75 minutes Michael Smith won the ball from O’Halloran in the middle of the park before setting up Clare who had a shot at goal which was easily gathered by Clark.
The closing stages of the half saw Saints press but the Hearts defence proved difficult to break down.
With a minute of normal time remaining Hearts were awarded a free kick after Naismith had been fouled by Kennedy. It was taken by Lee but his effort was well saved by Clark as he put it behind for a corner.
Hearts wrapped up the 3 points as the match entered 4 minutes of additional time as the hosts caught Saints on the break. Lee collected the ball in the middle before slipping it to Callumn Morrison who came in from the right and fired a shot across Clark and into the far corner of the net.
Hearts: Doyle, Smith, Souttar, Berra, Bozanic, Lee, Clare (Vanecek 87), Djoum, Naismith, Mulraney (Morrison 82), Godinho (Mitchell 79)
Unused Substitutes: Zlamal (GK), Shaughnessy, MacLean, Cochrane
Scorers: Godinho (52), Morrison (90)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson, Kerr, Foster, Gordon (O’Halloran 59), Craig, Callachan (Swanson 57), Watt (Hendry 69), Kennedy
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Alston, Anderson, Wotherspoon
Booked: Callachan, Foster, Swanson
Referee: Craig Thomson
Attendance: 16,675 (665 Saints fans)
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Zander Clark tips Marcus Godinho’s header over the bar
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