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Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth None auth-> William Collum
[J Sutton 54] ;[T Hateley 59] ;[J Sutton 88]
3 of 010 Craig Thomson pen 25 ;Rudi Skacel 36 ;Ryan Stevenson 53L SPL H

Hearts 3 - 3 Motherwell

Hearts threw away a three goal lead to draw 3-3 with Motherwell in today's enthralling Clydesdale Bank Premier League match at Tynecastle.

The Jambos found themselves 3-0 up early in the second half, with goals from Craig Thomson, Rudi Skacel and Ryan Stevenson. However Well showed tenacity and commitment to level the game, goals coming from a John Sutton double and Tom Hateley. Sutton's second and the equalising goal came two minutes from full time.

JJ made two changes from the team that drew away in Inverness a week previously. Marian Kello returned in goals in place of an injured Jamie MacDonald and Eggert Jonsson recovered from a facial injury, meaning Andrew Driver moved to the bench as the gaffer stuck with a 4-4-2 formation.

In a scrappy opening period it was Motherwell who made the most impact in the final third of the pitch, winning a quick succession of corners after Stephen Jones drove forward from midfield and John Sutton worked well down the left wing.

As Hearts looked to get a foot into the game, Ryan Stevenson battled hard across the top of the park, putting in several strong challenges in conditions

Hearts had their first chance on 20 minutes. Ruben Palazuelos twisted and turned at the edge of the Motherwell box before delivering a floating cross which was met on the head by a diving Rudi Skacel, whose looping header was glanced on by Suso Santana on the six yard line, though Darren Randolph was on hand to pull of a fantastic save, throwing himself across the goal to touch the ball over the bar.

Minutes later Sutton conceded a free kick on the edge of his own box. Craig Thomson struck the dead ball from 20 yards, his effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.

The Jambos made the breakthrough on 25 minutes via the penalty spot when Stevenson was hauled down in the area during a corner by Well defender Stephen Saunders. Thomson was the man to step up and he slotted his spot kick with power and accuracy into the right hand corner, sending Randolph the wrong way and scoring his first goal of the season in the process.

With half an hour gone the men in maroon almost double their lead. Stevenson chased a long ball though and powered past Shaun Hutchison before cutting inside and firing a low right foot shot, which beat the outstretched Randolph but could only strike the post.

Only 5 minutes later the Jam Tarts did indeed score a second. Skacel carried the ball forward before playing a neat one-two on the edge of the box with Stephen Elliott, upon receiving the ball back the Czech took a touch into the box and smashed his effort high and into the corner of the net. Randolph had no chance, as Skacel claimed his 12th goal of the season.

Hearts had to be alert at the back however, as the returning Kello pulled off a sublime point blank stop just before half time. Saunders bulleted a header from a corner, but the Slovakian cap was on hand to make the save.

Kello was called into action again a minute later. Francis Jeffers found himself in space with the ball at his feet on the Hearts six yard line, but the Slovak pulled off a smart stop at his near post from the Englishman's hard and high effort.

JJ was forced into a change at half time as Andrew Webster remained inside with an injury, Adrian Mrowiec replaced him at centre half.

The Jam Tarts continued the second half the way they had ended the first, by attacking the Motherwell goal. Thomson had a free kick which curled just over the bar, then Stevenson broke through the away defence and smashed an angled shot that beat Randolph, but amazingly hit one post before running along the line and hitting the other then out to safety.

Ten minutes into the restart and Stevenson got the goal that he so thoroughly deserved. Suso Santana played a dangerous cross from the right hand side right into the six yard box and Stevenson leapt to power a header into the back of the Motherwell net.

The Steelmen responded instantly though, a Jones cross from the right found Sutton in acres of space and his header floated past Kello and into the net to reduce the deficit to two goals.

Immediately afterwards the away side struck again. Tom Hateley's hard and low free kick, 20 yards out on the left deceived everyone including Kello as it found its way through a packed penalty area and over the line.

Both teams then proceeded to attack in search of the goals that would decide the game. Skacel's 65th minute stinging shot warmed the hands of Randolph, then at the other end Kello made two strong saves to deny Jeffers.

Minutes later it was Motherwell who almost grabbed an equaliser. The impressive Jones shot from the edge of the Hearts box, though the post denied his side a third goal.

The Gorgie men made two changes in an attempt to wrap up the game. Driver and David Templeton were introduced in the place of Suso and Skacel, and the changes almost immediately paid off when Ian Black rifled the ball goal-wards, though his effort was parried away by Randolph.

Disaster struck with only minutes remaining of the game, when Sutton got in front of Ismael Bouzid and his glancing header found itself in the back of the net. That was Sutton's second of the game and Motherwell's equaliser.

There was no time left for either side to grab a winner, as the game finished 3-3, and Hearts continue to wait to secure third place in the league.

Hearts: Kello, Jonsson, Webster (Mrowiec, 46), Bouzid, C.Thomson, Suso (Templeton, 73), Palazuelos, Black, Skacel (Driver, 81), Stevenson, Elliott Subs not used: Balogh, McGowan, Glen, Robinson

Motherwell: Randolph, Saunders (Ross, 59), Craigan, Murphy, Lasley, Jones, Hutchinson, Gunning, Jeffers, Hateley, Sutton. Subs not used: Hollis, Hammell, McHugh, Forbes, Casagolda, Smith

Referee: William Collum

Top Man: Ryan Stevenson

Hearts World

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