London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sun 30 Aug 2009 St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Hugh Keevins auth-> Mike Tumilty
[M Davidson 23] ;[M Hardie 93]
1 of 008 Jose Goncalves 59 ;David Obua 86 L SPL A

St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2

Aug 31 2009 Hugh Keevins

DIVING. Spitting. Eight bookings. Four goals. McDiarmid Park was bubbling with controversy as Hearts put their first point on the board.

But the biggest talking point was the way in which the Edinburgh club hauled themselves off the floor and avoided a storm cloud enveloping Tynecastle by the time they returned to Edinburgh.

The disharmony between the club's owner and manager might be on a scale with the Gallagher brothers but Perth was an Oasis of calm for Hearts in the midst of the current turbulent times.

They were a goal down and looking a dispirited side before Jose Goncalves equalised Murray Davidson's first-half goal and sparked a revival that eventually threatened to turn the game on its head when David Obua put Hearts in front in 85 minutes.

But an injury-time free kick from substitute Martin Hardie ensured a share of the spoils.

However, the memory of the excitement won't take away the bitter taste of the unsavoury incidents that saw Suso escape punishment for spitting and Christian Nade being cautioned for simulation.

But Hearts have to take comfort wherever they may find it.

Csaba Laszlo's appearance on the touchline to do a pre-match interview at least vouched for his presence at McDiarmid Park after much speculation over his future.

The Edinburgh side's primary objective on the day was to avoid a third defeat in a row in the SPL. That would have meant the club making their worst start to a season since 1918.

Davidson had two early chances to drop Hearts right in the brown stuff but the youngster managed to let the Jambos off the hook from prime positions.

The visitors certainly looked like they were carrying a bit of luck and that was confirmed when Lee Wallace was fortunate only to be given a yellow card when he brought down Collin Samuel while being the last defender.

Samuel might have been a long way out but his ground-eating stride would soon have carried him into Janos Balogh's line of vision if he hadn't been fouled.

It was the ninth booking of an infant season for the club with a red card against its name as well.

The trend of indiscipline went on when Goncalves obstructed Samuel and Mike Tumilty handed out another booking Hearts, meanwhile, were even more deeply in debt to good fortune as Suso appeared to spit at Saints full back Danny Grainger in front of fans in the main stand who reacted badly to a close up view.

It was a catalogue of let-offs that couldn't continue and the run of play eventually brought the opening goal for St Johnstone.

Inevitably it was scored by the ever alert Davidson. Dave McKay threw over a cross and Davidson timed his run well to arrive on time and direct a header past Balogh at the base of his left hand post.

Hearts' big moment seemed to have come eight minutes before the interval but Gary Glen screwed his shot wide of Alan main's goal.

The miss failed to bring Laszlo out of the dug-out where he'd remained seated for the first 45 minutes and Hearts looked like a team ill at ease with themselves.

Craig Thomson was cautioned for another reckless challenge, bringing down Davidson, within five minutes of the re-start.

And then Nade was yellow carded when he was adjudged by the far side assistant DavidWatt to have dived under a challenge from Main. The match official's view of the collision wasn't conclusive and he took his colleague's word for it.

The only surprise was that St. Johnstone hadn't compounded Hearts' misery by extending their lead and their regret over that was underlined after 58 minutes when Goncalves nodded an equaliser from Thomson's free kick.

Laszlo's side had looked down the barrel of their worst run since the end of the First World War and weren't content with just dodging a bullet. They wanted to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a display of belated heroism.

That seemed to have been achieved when Obua finished a goalmouth scramble with a shot through a ruck of players.

The scorer was booked for diving into the Hearts fans but if that's another step along the way to the club losing more cash then they'll regard it as money well spent. The home team's Kenny Deuchar was also cautioned for dissent at the same time.

The Jambos were short changed though when Hardie beat Balogh from distance with a swerving free kick just before the final whistle.

Taken from the Daily Record

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