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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth None auth-> Brian Winter
[G Munro 17]
6 of 009 Kevin Kyle pen 25L SPL H

Late surge fails to produce a winner for Jambos

Published Date: 18 December 2010
Hearts: Kyle 25 pen
Inverness: Rooney 17

THE resilience of Inverness is well known in the SPL and was in evidence again at Tynecastle as in-form Hearts were held to a draw.

Scotland's away-day experts moved ahead through Adam Rooney before Kevin Kyle equalised with a penalty, but it was remarkable that the home side's concerted pressure during the second half did not produce a winner.

The reason for that was the Highlanders' dogged defending. Hearts were determined, passionate and attack-minded in pinning their guests back. They created several openings but could not convert one point into three. Some shots landed wide of goal, and those on target were repelled by the impressive Inverness goalkeeper Ryan Esson.

This was one of only two SPL matches to go ahead on a freezing afternoon and saw Inverness bring their phenomenal away record to Tynecastle. At kick-off, the Highlanders had not lost a league match away from home in over 12 months, whilst Hearts had enjoyed six victories from six outings and eight wins from the last nine. Something had to give.

In an entertaining opening the hosts went for the jugular straight away. They appealed for a penalty when Grant Munro appeared to climb on the shoulders of Kyle during an aerial joust. That was dismissed by referee Brian Winter, whose next task was to jot down Rooney as the scorer of the opening goal.

With Ismael Bouzid off receiving treatment for a back injury, Inverness won a free-kick on the left flank and capitalised fully on the centre-back's absence. The ball was hoisted towards the back post by Russell Duncan, Munro headed downwards unchallenged and the merest touch from Rooney guided it beyond Kello from close range.

Hearts responded in defiant fashion and resumed control, pressing Inverness at every opportunity. Within seven minutes they had equalised through Kyle's penalty, awarded when Esson brought Stephen Elliott tumbling to the turf in a race for one of Kyle's headed knockdowns. The former Kilmarnock captain stroked the ball to the goalkeeper's right from 12 yards.

David Templeton almost put Hearts ahead with a raking right-footed attempt from 30 yards which careered off Esson's right post on 34 minutes. The goalkeeper then parried a left-footed shot by Ryan Stevenson, who was introduced for the injured Bouzid with Adrian Mrowiec reverting to centre-back beside Marius Zaliukas. The pressure continued through to the interval, leaving Inverness thankful to retreat to the away dressing room and reorganise.

Whatever was said by Terry Butcher, the visiting manager, had little effect in interrupting Hearts' control. Rooney bulged Kello's net shortly after the restart but was ajudged offside in doing so. That apart, Inverness emerged from their own territory only occasionally during the second half as their hosts relentlessly probed for a second goal.
Kyle was tackled by Munro in the act of shooting before his header from Eggert Jonsson's cross prompted a one-handed stop from the grounded Esson. Templeton tried again from distance in the 74th minute, this time the ball landed narrowly wide of target. Rudi Skacel angled two efforts across the face of goal and inches wide. That the hosts weren't ahead entering the closing stages of the game was down to nothing other than ridiculous misfortune.

Kyle was guilty of profligacy five minutes from time by sending a shot high instead of releasing the ball to the unmarked substitute Calum Elliot. Then, Zaliukas' header from a Skacel corner was cleared only by Esson's scrambling feet. Inverness broke clear in stoppage time but Kello parried Duncan's shot for Zaliukas to clear.

In the end Hearts couldn't force a winner, but it certainly wasn't for the want of trying.

Hearts (4-3-3): Kello; Jonsson, Bouzid (Stevenson 20), Zaliukas, Palazuelos; Black, Skacel, Mrowiec; S Elliott (C Elliot 84), Kyle, Templeton. Subs: MacDonald, Barr, Novikovas, Glen, C Thomson.

Inverness (4-1-4-1): Esson; Duff, Tokely, Munro, Shinnie; Duncan; Hayes (Odhiambo 84), Cox, Ross (Innes 90), Foran (Sutherland 75); Rooney. Subs: Tuffey, Golabek, McBain, Sanchez.

Referee: Brian Winter.

Attendance: 12,994.

Taken from the Scotsman

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