London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 09 Mar 2002 Hearts 1 Dundee United 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth None auth-> Stuart Dougal
[H Aljofree pen 10] ;[C Miller 34]
1 of 001 Kevin McKenna 81 L SPL H

Hearts 1 Dundee United 2

By Jon West, PA Sport

Hearts dropped out of the top six thanks to a 2-1 home defeat by Dundee United.

First half goals from Hasney Aljofree, from the penalty spot, and Charlie Miller turned out to be enough, although Kevin McKenna pulled one back with 10 minutes to go to set up a frantic finish.

United are resigned to missing the cut when the league splits in two at the end of the month but the win was partial compensation for the pain of the midweek Tennent's Scottish Cup exit at the hands of First Division Ayr.

When United won here 2-1 in September it provoked a furious protest against the board by Hearts fans who had already witnessed an embarrasing cup exit of their own, at Ross County.

Craig Levein's team went on to climb into the top half of the table but this performance, which sees them leapfrogged by Dunfermline, was proof that problems still remain at Tynecastle.

Six first-teamers are soon to be out of contract and the uncertainty over their futures seemed to produce a similar performance on the pitch.

The Jambos started well and United survived a close range header from Ricardo Fuller, one of the uncertain six.

Seconds later and Paul Gallacher, the goalkeeper who had caught Berti Vogts' eye last week, saved low down to deny the Jamaican. Follow-up attempts from Graham Weir and Kevin McKenna were only foiled by brave defending, with Danny Griffin needing treatment after hurling himself into the danger zone.

United's reply was the opening goal courtesy of Aljofree's penalty after Tassos Venetis had been brought down just inside the box by Steven Pressley, another Scot who is hoping for an international future.

Antti Niemi, the Hearts goalkeeper who has indicated he may stay at Tynecastle despite constant transfer speculation, guessed right but could not reach the former Bolton man's well-placed kick.

The visitors continued to take advantage of some ponderous defending by the home side with Miller and Steven Thompson firing wide from inviting positions.

But Miller made no mistake in the 34th minute when Thompson saw a shot blocked and David McCracken was able to roll the ball into the number eight's path.

His first time shot into the corner of the net was exactly where Aljofree had placed the penalty.

Hearts attempts at getting themselves back into the game consisted largely of crosses into the box which were repelled or long shots that either missed the target or found the hands of Gallacher.

The home fans were convinced Fuller should have been awarded a penalty when Fuller went down in the box under Aljofree's challenge - but referee David Somers was not impressed, although he stopped short of booking Fuller for diving.

Fuller, whose fitness had been in doubt because of a knee problem, did come close in first half stoppage time with a legitimate effort but once again Gallacher was equal to the task, beating away his low drive.

Hearts made two changes at the break, taking off Austria Vienna-bound Thomas Flogel and Tommi Gronlund and sending on Stephen Simmons and Stevie Fulton in midfield.

It was United who continued to threaten and Miller almost set up a third for Venetis, who was put clear of the home defence by a clever dummy by David Winters.

The Greek lofted the ball over Niemi only to see it bounce off the top of the crossbar and over.

Hearts took this as a cue that the game might not be lost after all and Gallacher was required to get in the way of flying headers from David Weir, a 17-year-old striker with the number 47 on his back, and Fuller.

But United again threatened to expose them at the back and Aljofree should have done better from Thompson's cross from the right than to head wide with all the goal to aim at.

Ten minutes were left on the clock when Hearts finally pulled a goal back, with McKenna rising above Lauchlan and Gallacher to head a Robert Sloan centre over the line via a post.

An equalising chance did fall to Fulton with three minutes remaining but he fired over and there was still time for Craig Easton to fluff an opportunity to kill the game off when he could only find the side-netting following a run into the box by Miller and poor defending by Stephane Mahe.

McKenna headed agonisingly wide as the home side threw men forward but United survived a late penalty appeal for handball to hold on to take the points.


Hearts: Niemi, Maybury, Pressley, McKenna, Mahe, Flogel (Fulton 45), Gronlund (Simmons 45), Severin, Sloan, Fuller, Weir (Webster 75).

Subs Not Used: McKenzie, McCann.

Booked: Gronlund, Maybury.

Goals: McKenna 81.

Dundee Utd: Gallacher, Venetis, Lauchlan, Griffin, McCracken, Winters (O'Brien 66), Easton, Miller, Aljofree, Duff, Thompson.

Subs Not Used: Jarvie, McConalogue, O'Connor, Cocozza.

Booked: Miller.

Goals: Aljofree 11 pen, Miller 34.

Att: 10,893

Ref: S Dougal (Scotland).

Taken from

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