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<-Page <-Team Sat 23 Nov 2002 Kilmarnock 0 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth Chris Roberts auth-> Kevin Toner
1 of 001 Mark de Vries 47 L SPL A

Kilmarnock 0 Hearts 1

By Chris Roberts, PA Sport

Mark de Vries was gifted his ninth goal of the season to keep Hearts' European dreams on course and deny Jim Jefferies' a perfect 52nd birthday present.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Gordon Marshall allowed the Dutchman's 48th minute shot to squirm through his hands to give the Edinburgh side the points at a bitter cold Rugby Park.

The home side were looking for their third consecutive win and Jefferies named an unchanged team for the first time this term, while Hearts head coach Craig Levein made four changes with Neil MacFarlane, Austin McCann, Wilfred Oueifio and De Vries all coming in.

And, after a lively start to the game, the home side went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after just two minutes.

Scotland Under-21 international Kris Boyd sprung the offside trap to run onto a perfectly-weighted through ball from Peter Canero.

But, with just Roddy McKenzie to beat, he drilled his right-foot shot just past the upright.

Andy Kirk squandered Hearts' first chance of the game in the 11th minute when he was granted a free header from Jean-Louis Valois' corner but he put his effort wide from five yards.

Valois became the first player to find himself in Kevin Toner's book for a bringing Canero down in full flight before Kirk squandered another great chance in the 21st minute for Hearts.

The pacy Oueifio found the young striker in the centre and he had time to take the ball on to goal but instead slashed his right-foot volley wide of the target.

The home crowd were becoming increasingly angry with the referee as he failed to penalise De Vries in the 29th minute for a foul on Freddie Dindeleux.

But Kilmarnock will wonder how they failed to go in front in the 32nd minute after a tricky run from Canero.

He skipped between two challenges and pulled the ball across the face of goal but Paul Di Giacomo and Boyd failed to get to the ball and McKenzie gladly leapt on the ball.

In the dying seconds of the half, Kirk missed another glorious chance when the ball broke to him just inside the box but he fired wide with the goal at his mercy.

But just two minutes after the re-start a mistake by Marshall gift-wrapped the visitors a much-needed breakthrough.

De Vries capitalised on a slip by Dindeleux and cut inside on his left to fire goalwards but the Kilmarnock man let the ball squirm through his hands and over the line.

Jefferies made two changes in the 55th minute as he attempted to fight his way back into the match.

Former Hearts striker Gary McSwegan and Craig Dargo, who returned after tearing his tendons in a freak training ground accident in August, came on for Di Giacomo and Murray.

The visitors, however, were dealt a blow moments later when Pressley was forced to leave the field through injury and on came Andy Webster.

But Jefferies' changes almost brought the desired affect as Canero should have levelled the scores in the 65th minute.

Alan Mahood slid the ball into the youngster's path but he drilled his shot straight at him instead of placing the ball past him.

Hearts almost conceded again a minute later when McSwegan slid the ball through to Mahood, but McKenzie again came off his line quickly to block his effort.

De Vries then controlled Maybury's ball and pulled off a first-time shot from 25 yards which looked destined for the bottom corner.

But Marshall made some amends for his earlier blunder to save to his right.


Kilmarnock Marshall, Fowler (Locke 73), Dindeleux, Shields, Dillon, Canero, Fulton, Mahood, Murray (Dargo 56), Boyd, Di Giacomo (McSwegan 55).

Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Hay.

Booked: Mahood.

Hearts McKenzie, Maybury, Pressley (Webster 57), McKenna, McCann, Queifio, Severin, MacFarlane, Valois (McMullan 83), Kirk (Simmons 69), de Vries.

Subs Not Used: Gordon, Weir.

Booked: Valois.

Goals: de Vries 48.

Att: 6,511

Ref: Kevin Toner (Scotland).

Taken from

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