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Csaba Laszlo <-auth auth-> Euan Norris
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Hearts 0 - 0 Dundee Utd - Jambos dominate but fail to score against stubborn United

Published Date: 12 December 2009
A MISSED penalty by Danny Cadamarteri cost Dundee United victory against Hearts on a day when the hosts controlled much of the proceedings but could not convert dominance into goals.
Eggert Jonsson was judged to have fouled Cadamarteri as they pursued a ball into the penalty box on the hour mark, but the striker's spot-kick was stopped by Hearts goalkeeper Marian Kello. The Slovakian delivered an astute performance overall in his first start since August but at the opposite end, despite extended pressure, the hosts could not fashion a way through the stubborn United rearguard.

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo conducted no fewer than six changes following last week's defeat at Hamilton, some enforced through suspension. Kello, Lee Wallace, Ruben Palazuelos, David Obua, Jamie Mole and 17-year-old Scott Robinson were named in the starting 11. For Robinson, the promotion meant his first start at senior level. United, meanwhile, included a now infamous Tynecastle old boy in their ranks as Andy Webster returned to Gorgie as captain of the visitors.

Despite the stadium being underpopulated there was a tingling atmosphere inside Tynecastle on what was a bitterly cold afternoon. Hearts opened strongly and looked to utilise the energy of their young forward line comprising Mole and Robinson. United threatened on the break initially and, after springing out of defence, watched Craig Conway stroke the game's first chance wide on 15 minutes.

Palazuelos and Larry Kingston both sent shots narrowly wide, as did Scott Robertson at the opposite end, before Laszlo replaced the limping Obua with Arvydas Novikovas. Robertson dispatched a vicious 18-yard drive which forced a fine double save from Kello on 33 minutes. The Slovakian parried the initial effort but his split-second reaction was even more impressive as he fisted the ball clear of the onrushing Casalinuovo, injuring himself in the process.

Referee Euan Norris, heavily involved in last week's tunnel discord as the fourth official at New Douglas Park, took centre stage for the remainder of the first period. Robinson escaped the attentions of his marker, Garry Kenneth, down the right flank and was blatantly pushed in the back twice, forcing him to lose control of the ball. However, no foul was given despite the incident taking place directly in front of the standside assistant referee Alan Cunningham. Norris then awarded a free-kick against Michael Stewart for an innocuous tackle, and a further one against Larry Kingston. In doing so, he antagonised Laszlo and his players no end, not to mention the home support.

Norris then booked Jose Goncalves for diving near his own corner flag following a jostle with Casalinuovo. The decision almost had devastating consequences for Hearts. From the resultant free-kick, Jon Daly came closest to breaking the deadlock in heading Craig Conway's delivery against Kello's right-hand post.

Hearts' motivation to score first was notable from the instant play resumed after the interval. They displayed passion and drive in abundance in probing their opponents relentlessly, however it required Kello's penalty save to prevent them falling behind. Jonsson was penalised following a tangle with United substitute Cadamarteri inside the box, but the Englishman's penalty was expertly saved low to the goalkeeper's left.

Kello confidently held substitute Danny Swanson's strike on 75 minutes, one of United's rare attacking forays as Hearts applied increasing pressure on their defence.

The match ended on an unsavoury note as the Tynecastle fans rounded on the ineffective Kingston for leaving the field four minutes from time injured. Despite playing the closing minutes with only ten men after using all three substitutes, the hosts did not look like losing a goal, although an absence of clear chances in attack prevented them capitalising fully in a match they controlled for long spells.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): Kello; C Thomson, Jonsson, Goncalves, Wallace; Kingston, Stewart, Palazuelos, Obua; Mole, Robinson. Subs: Ridgers, Kucharski, Novikovas 32 (for Obua), J Stewart, Nade 54 (for Mole), Glen 78 (for Robinson), Templeton.

Dundee Utd (4-4-2): Weaver; Kovacevic, Webster, Kenneth, Dixon; Myrie-Williams, Dillon, Robertson, Conway; Daly, Casalinuovo. Subs: Banks, Dods, Robertson, Swanson 59 (for Conway), Cadamarteri 50 (for Casalinuovo), Shala 77 (for Daly), Goodwillie.

Referee: Euan Norris.

Attendance: 14,873.

Taken from the Scotsman

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