Date: 27th February 2010 at 8:48pm
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Hearts stretched their lead over Aberdeen to 8 points, following a hard-fought win at Pittodrie today. On a pitch resembling Fir Park, the players struggled to turn, pass and control the ball. Indeed the first half had very few talking points – a Jonsson shot over the bar, a fine saving tackle by Lee Wallace, a penalty claim when Stevenson was pushed in the back before he could jump for a ball, and a Stevenson shot held by Langfield summed it up really. Sadly, Dawid Kucharski had to leave the field after 40 minutes, and his replacement Laryea Kingston took a full 3 minutes to get himself ready to come on.

The second half was little better as a spectacle, but the first incident saw Hearts reduced to 10 men, following a high challenge by Kingston on Fyvie which was deemed a straight a red card offence by referee Collum. I thought this was a harsh decision since both players went for the ball with a leading foot up. Kingston`s studs seemed to scrape the Aberdeen man`s inside leg on the way down – painful but clearly accidental. The referee could only have seen the incident from behind Kingston, and surely when he sees the incident from another angle he will question his own decision, if Hearts decide to appeal the red card.

Worse was to follow when Marius Zaliukas pulled a hamstring and had to go off. With no defenders on the bench, JJ had to juggle the formation when Paul Mulrooney came on as a replacement – with Lee Wallace and Eggert Jonsson now in central defence and David Obua at left-back. Minutes later, the ineffective Novikovas was replaced by Jamie Mole in an effort to give the over-run midfield someone to aim for. Surely Aberdeen would take control of the game now, with the tricky Aluko now on the field.

Amazingly, Hearts took the lead with an inspired piece of play by Eggert Jonsson. He cleverly read a pass intended for the man he was marking, nipped in to gather the ball and pressed forward – playing it to Mulrooney who gave Elliott a shooting chance from the edge of the box. His shot spun off a defender high into the air – but the Icelander kept his eye on the ball and, despite having his back to goal, executed a perfect overhead kick to place the ball into the bottom right corner of Langfield’s goal.

The final 30 minutes saw 10-man Hearts show commendable spirit and composure as Aberdeen threw in aimless punts and crosses. Indeed, we were down to 9 men for about 5 minutes near the end when Lee Wallace`s head collided with David Obua`s as he cleared a ball – with blood streaming from Lee`s wound. Thankfully he didn`t seem to be concussed, with some emergency treatment and a head bandage allowing him to carry on at the heart of the defence.

Even 4 minutes of injury time didn`t cause too much bother, and the travelling support were delighted to witness a 3rd successive victory.
We seem to have loads of forwards and midfielders to put on the bench, but the lack of defenders in the squad showed today. Jim Jefferies must be anxious to get Visconte and McGowan back from Ayr in the summer, along with Darren Barr arriving from Falkirk.

Jonsson, Wallace and Thomson were immense for hearts – with Obua doing his best work when it was ‘backs to the wall’ in the last 20 minutes.

Well done Hearts !!