London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 03 Nov 2002 Hibernian 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
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Craig Levein <-auth Glenn Gibbons auth-> Willie Young
Stamp Phil [M Paatelainen 36]
1 of 002 Kevin McKenna 86 ;Phil Stamp 92 L SPL A

Stamp puts seal on a steal

GLENN GIBBONS at Easter Road
Hibernian 1
Paatelainen (36)
Hearts 2
McKenna (86), Stamp (90)

IN ONE of those derbies in which unrelenting competitiveness becomes the altar on which skill and imagination are sacrificed, Hearts achieved a victory that had seemed impossible by basically outstaying their fiercest rivals.

Phil Stamp’s winning goal with literally the second-last kick of the game - following an equaliser from Kevin McKenna of Mixu Paatelainen’s first-half opener for Hibs - rather characterised a match in which the most dramatic moments seemed to have little to do with the rest of the performance.

As if infected by the general spirit of eccentricity, referee Willie Young decided to order Stamp off in the wake of an excessive celebration that brought the Tynecastle midfielder his second yellow card.

It was a bizarre climax, as Young’s next action was to signal the restart and then give a final toot on his whistle.

Stamp at the time evinced little evidence that his ignominious exit had done anything to dilute his exultation, but his forthcoming suspension will surely give him time to become understandably resentful over an exercise in officialdom that could have been avoided.

The player’s protracted jubilation may have been a little overdone, but it was surely forgivable. He had, after all, just given his team victory - although neither of the visitors’ goals was likely to have arrived without the introduction of the indispensably influential substitute, Neil Janczyk - in the most intense fixture on their schedule in circumstances that were quite bewildering.

In the way that a golfer’s scorecard does not concern itself with the "how?", but only the "how many?", the Hearts support would dance out of Easter Road into an Edinburgh twilight utterly oblivious to the moderateness of their team’s performance in a game in which both sides scored at times when they had done little to warrant the reward.

During a first half in which technique, inventiveness and precise passing seemed to have been outlawed, Hibs managed to take the lead with the only opportunity they managed to contrive, and that from a set-piece.

They had, on only one other occasion in the entire 45 minutes, engineered themselves into a position which held the genuine promise of a threat, but Garry O’Connor’s attempt to take advantage rather typified the poor standard of execution which had disfigured the general play. Taking possession on the right edge of the Hearts penalty area, the young striker had Paatelainen making an untracked run through the inside-left channel. It would not have required a work of brilliance to slide the ball into the path of his partner, but O’Connor lofted it high and swirling away from Paatelainen towards Roddy McKenzie.

This is not to suggest that Hibs were the inferior. Given the mutual mediocrity that prevailed, distinguishing between the teams was virtually impossible, but Hearts had enjoyed more of the few openings that were made.

It was indicative of their own shortcomings that they should give Nick Colgan a couple of simple saves.

Paatelainen’s goal was, in the circumstances, as unexpected as a substantial wage rise during a depression. Jarkko Wiss appeared to have played an unpromising corner kick from the left when he sent the ball high and curling over the massed ranks and apparently heading for a goal kick.

That first impression was doing the Finn - and Hibs - a disservice, as Ian Murray’s appearance beyond the far post to head the ball back into the six-yard box seemed to confirm that this was a properly rehearsed manoeuvre.

As Murray made contact, the experienced Paatelainen was on the move as others - particularly those wearing maroon shirts - remained motionless, and the big striker kneed the ball past McKenzie from only three yards’ range.

Improvement after the break was not much to ask, but it was only marginal where Hibs were concerned, whereas Hearts, until Janczyk’s appearance for Scott Severin nine minutes from the end, appeared to remain static.

The home side were clearly ahead on points, without inflicting any real damage, until those extraordinary closing six minutes.

Quicker to the ball and enjoying the bulk of the possession, Bobby Williamson’s team on several occasions manoeuvred themselves into threatening areas, but, adhering to the trend that had been established from the earliest moments, their execution was frustratingly sub-standard.

Indeed, it was not until after Hearts’ equaliser that they enjoyed their only proper scoring attempt, a powerful, 25-yard free-kick from substitute Tom McManus which forced a good save from McKenzie.

That came just two minutes after and four minutes before the counter-punches from Hearts that left the Easter Road side on the canvas.

Janczyk stole possession out on the left and was allowed an unchallenged run of about 30 yards - three Hibs players trotted alongside, watching - before sending a long, hanging cross towards the far post.

Colgan was wrong-footed as the marauding defender McKenna headed the ball back across him and into the goalkeeper’s right-hand corner. The goalkeeper did not look especially clever, either, when Stamp produced the winner.

The English midfielder was sent clear on the left side of the penalty area on yet another precision pass from Janczyk, but, although his low, left-foot shot was beautifully struck, it did seem unlikely that he could pass Colgan from such an acute angle.

But the ball found the inside of the far post, and it was noticeable that the fireworks which illuminated the sky in the vicinity of the stadium shortly after the match all exploded in a phosphorescent maroon, with not a green flash in sight.

Referee: W Young. Attendance: 15,560

Hibs: Colgan; Smith, Fenwick, Zambernardi; Orman, Wiss, Brebner, Murray, James; Paatelainen (Luna 72), O’Connor (McManus 84). Subs: Caig, Jack, Doumbe.

Hearts: McKenzie; McKenna, Pressley, Webster; Maybury, Stamp, Severin (Janczyk 81), Valois, McMullan; Kirk (Weir 72), Simmons (Twaddle 72). Subs: Gordon, Wales.

Taken from the Scotsman

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