Saturday 5th November
An incident-packed encounter at Tynecastle saw Hearts and Saints battle out a 2-2 draw infront of over 16,000 fans in Edinburgh this afternoon.
The Jambos opened the scoring in contraversial fashion when Prince Buaben's header, following a scramble in the box, was adjudged to have crossed the line despite protests from defender Brian Easton and goalkeeper Zander Clark to the contrary. But four minutes before the break, Danny Swanson brought Saints level when he curled the ball part Jack Hamilton after a defence-splitting pass from Steven MacLean.
Joe Shaughnessy had the ball in the net after the interval but his effort was chalked off for offside, before perseverance on the left-wing from David Wotherspoon in the 85th minute set up Chris Kane, who's effort from edge of the area beat the unsighted Hamilton to put Saints 2-1 up.
However, Hearts won a share of the spoils when minutes later right-back Callum Paterson got onto the end of a Don Cowie corner to head the hosts level. St. Johnstone's unbeaten run against Hearts is now extended to six matches.
Saints headed to Edinburgh today as they took on Hearts looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat at home to Partick Thistle. Tommy Wright made two changes to the side that started against Thistle as Graham Cummins and Liam Craig dropped to the bench to be replaced by Blair Alston and Chris Millar. Hearts Head Coach Robbie Neilson made three changes to the team that started last Saturday’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Inverness CT as Faycal Rherras, Arnaud Djoum and Robbie Muirhead dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Prince Buaben, Tony Watt and Liam Smith.
Saints got the match underway and it was the home side that created the first chance of the match on 3 minutes as a Callum Paterson long throw was headed goalward by Bjorn Johnsen before being tipped over the bar by Zander Clark. The resultant corner taken by Don Cowie was headed clear by David Wotherspoon.
A good pass by Blair Alston a minute later picked out Wotherspoon who advanced into the box before having a shot which was saved by Jack Hamilton.
Alston was the first person in referee Don Robertson’s book on 6 minutes following a late challenge on Liam Smith.
3 minutes later Hearts were appealing for a penalty after Tony Watt went down in the box following a challenge from Steven Anderson. However, the appeals were waved away by the referee.
Some good play by Saints on 12 minutes saw Steven MacLean slip the ball to Wotherspoon who sent it out wide to Brian Easton. Easty then advanced forward before crossing the ball which was cut-out by John Souttar as The Jambos cleared their lines.
Danny Swanson saw his effort from the edge of the area on 15 minutes saved by Hamilton. Then up the other end 2 minutes later Jamie Walker fired well wide.
Hearts almost took the lead on 18 minutes as the ball was played back to Clark whose clearance took a deflection off Callum Paterson but luckily for Saints the ball went wide.
Then on 21 minutes’ good build-up play by Saints setup Paul Paton on the edge of the box however, his strike went inches’ over.
The home side took the lead in controversial circumstances on 25 minutes as Don Cowie saw his shot deflected onto the crossbar. The ball then fell perfectively for Prince Buaben whose header was cleared off the line by Brian Easton however, the Main Stand official judged the ball to have crossed the line.
Before the match could restart Saints were forced into a change as Liam Craig came on for the injured Chris Millar.
Buaben almost got his and Hearts second of the afternoon on 36 minutes however, Clark got down well to make a good one handed save.
Saints were back on level terms on 41 minutes as a great pass by Steven MacLean played in Danny Swanson who spilt the Hearts defence and did well to turn Souttar before curling a shot past Hamilton. It was a great finish by Swanson for his tenth goal of the season.
With a minute of the first half remaining Tony Watt was released down the left before trying to square it to Johnsen in the box however the ball was cut-out by Joe Shaughnessy.
3 minutes after the restart Watt fired inches wide from the edge of the box.
Saints then broke up field as Wotherspoon drove at the Hearts defence before unleashing an effort which was tipped around the post by Hamilton.
Saints were awarded a free kick just outside the box on 51 minutes following a foul on Anderson. The free kick was taken by Wotherspoon and his effort hit the post before rebounding to Shaughnessy who knocked the ball into the net. However, the goal was ruled out as Shaughnessy was judged to have been offside by the Main Stand official.
Clark made a great save on 54 minutes to deny Jamie Walker. The ball then fell to Johnsen whose effort was brilliantly blocked by Anderson; great defending by the Saints captain.
A good ball out to the left by Liam Craig found Wotherspoon on 71 minutes. Spoony then did well to beat his man before delivering a good cross into the box which found Swanson at back post however, he couldn’t get enough power on his header as Hamilton gathered.
With 5 minutes, remaining Wotherspoon took advantage of a slip by Perry Kitchen to win the ball back and he advanced to the bye line before cutting it back to substitute Chris Kane who slotted the ball past Hamilton to give Saints the lead.
Saints though were not ahead for long as Hearts were level 2 minutes later as a Don Cowie corner found Paterson who bulleted a powerful header past Clark to rescue a point for The Jambos.
Man of the Match: Danny Swanson
Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Rossi, Kitchen, Walker, Buaben (Djoum 62), Souttar, Cowie, Johnsen (Sammon 84), Smith, Watt (Muirhead 78) Unused Substitutes: Noring (GK), Rherras, Ozturk, Currie Booked: Buaben, Rossi, Muirhead Scorers: Buaben (25), Paterson (87)
Saints: Clark, Alston, Anderson, Millar (Craig 26) MacLean, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Kane 81), Shaughnessy, Paton, Foster, Easton Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Scobbie, Coulson, Gordon, Cummins Booked: Alston, Easton Scorers: Swanson (41), Kane (85)
Referee: Don Robertson Attendance: 16,421
Match Report by Daryl Scott
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