London Hearts Supporters Club

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Craig Levein <-auth None auth-> Douglas McDonald
[C Dargo 77]
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Kilmarnock 1 Hearts 0

A late goal by youngster Craig Dargo gave Kilmarnock a well deserved win over Hearts at Rugby Park.

Two great saves by Hearts keeper Antti Niemi kept the game scoreless at half-time but Kilmarnock created several more second half chances before Dargo eventually chipped the ball over Niemi in the 76th minute.

It was no more than the home side deserved as they had controlled the game throughout and were by far the most impressive of the two sides.

Kilmarnock were looking to make amends for their disappointingly tame defeat at Pittodrie last week and pushed the visitors straight onto the back foot from the kick off.

Within two minutes midfielder Jesus Sanjuan had blazed a 30-yard effort over the bar, giving the home side some early encouragement.

However, Hearts weathered the early storm and began to create some openings themselves, mainly down the left side where ex-Celt Stephane Mahe was finding space.

In the bright sunshine, both teams struggled to really settle into any noticeable pattern of play and slack passing and niggling fouls spoiled the flow of the game, although a nice piece of skill in the 13th minute by Killie youngster Paul di Giacomo nearly sent strike partner Craig Dargo clear through on goal.

Racing through the centre of the visitor's defence Dargo got the ball caught up in his heels allowing Hearts defender Kevin McKenna time to recover and clear to safety.

A minute later, Dargo cleverly created space on the edge of the box to get a shot on target but Hearts keeper Antti Niemi gathered comfortably.

In the 22nd minute the home side nearly broke the deadlock from a free-kick on the edge of the box after James Fowler was tripped by Mahe.

Antonio Calderon stepped and curled a lovely shot into the top left hand corner, only to see the ball crash off the bar and down onto the hand of keeper Niemi who somehow clawed it away.

There were loud appeals from the Killie players and fans for a goal - the ball did appear to cross the line - but the assistant linesman was perfectly placed and play continued.

More frustration was to follow for the Ayrshire men. On the half-hour mark Niemi made an incredible save to keep the game scoreless after a Calderon cross from the right was headed back across goal by Killie defender Chris Innes.

The unmarked Dargo, only four yards from goal, stooped to head what looked like a certain goal only for the Tynecastle keeper to stick his right leg out and lift the ball over the bar for a corner.

The home side continued to squander decent opportunities to the dismay of their supporters.

In the 54th minute they broke from defence with a three against one situation but Fowler overran the ball and was tackled by the back-tracking McKenna. When the ball fell to Calderon, his pass then found Di Giacomo offside.

But it was Hearts who nearly took the lead in the 66th minute when Stephane Adam, on for Andy Kirk in the 50th minute, shot from 10 yards only to see Killie keeper Gordon Marshall take the sting out of it with his backside before gathering.

In the 73rd minute Kilmarnock missed the best chance of the match after good work by Dargo allowed Di Giacomo a clear run in on Niemi.

The youngster outstripped the visiting defence, looked confident enough but sent the ball well wide of Niemi's right-hand post from just outside the box.

But three minutes later the home side eventually took a well deserved lead.

This time it was Fowler who burst through only to be well tackled just inside the box by McKenna. The ball broke to Dargo who chipped over Niemi who, by that time, was stranded off his line.

Hearts threw everyone into attack in the last few minutes and caused some anxiety for the home fans but the Killie defence held firm.


Kilmarnock: Marshall, Fowler, Innes, Dindeleux, Hay, Sanjuan (Pizzo 86), Calderon (Cocard 74), Mahood, Mitchell, Dargo (McLaren 90), Di Giacomo.

Subs Not Used: Stewart, Hessey.

Booked: Mahood.

Goals: Dargo 78.

Hearts: Niemi, Flogel, McKenna, Webster, Mahe, Severin, Fulton, Simmons (Boyack 80), Kirk (Adam 51), Wales (Juanjo 59), McSwegan.

Subs Not Used: McKenzie, McCann.

Booked: Severin.

Att: 7,564

Ref: D McDonald (Scotland).

Taken from

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