Hearts 1-1 Ross County: Match Report

07 May 2016 04:34

David Goodwillie prevents Hearts clean sweep over Ross County

Ross County substitute David Goodwillie scored a late equaliser to prevent Hearts from racking up a clean sweep of Ladbrokes Premiership wins against the Staggies.

A dull game came to life in the dying stages when Juanma put the hosts in front after 84 minutes.

But Goodwillie notched his first goal since joining County on loan from Aberdeen in January with a header four minutes later.

Prior to the dramatic ending, this meaningless end-of-season clash failed to get going.

After a pedestrian start, Hearts conjured up the first chance of the game after 10 minutes. Gavin Reilly's cross into the area was only cleared as far as the edge of the box and Abi Dauda hit a stinging first-time volley just over the bar.

County had not had much luck in front of goal but a flowing counter-attack move in the 16th minute came close to yielding a reward.

The ball found its way to Jonathan Franks on the right flank and his dink to the far post was perfectly weighted for Michael Gardyne but right-back Callum Paterson made a timely interception to prevent would have been a certain goal.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson handed goalkeeper Jack Hamilton his first league start of the campaign and the Scotland Under-21 cap bailed his team-mates out in the 23rd minute with a fine block.

Alex Schalk raced on to Martin Woods' pass inside the area with just the keeper to beat but the Dutchman's close-range effort was kept out by the shot-stopper.

Chances were few and far between, however, and - married with a lack of tempo - this game lived up to its billing as a dead rubber.

A counter-attack at the opposite end offered hope of a breakthrough for Hearts but they failed to make the most of their opening.

Dauda was forced wide after rounding goalkeeper Scott Fox following a heavy pass from Sam Nicholson and after allowing the County defenders to get back in position, Prince Buaben's scuffed shot from close range on the cut-back was cleared.

The midfielder then had two shots in quick succession from outside the area that were both blocked.

Neilson attempted to inject much-needed energy into his side's performance with the introduction of both Juanma and Arnaud Djoum at the break. Gavin Reilly and Don Cowie made way.

And Djoum immediately got involved in the action with a left-footed cross that found Buaben at the back post.

But the former Dundee United playmaker's low drive from an acute angle was kept out on the line by a combination of goalkeeper Fox and defender Andrew Davies.

The visitors did have the ball in the net in the 76th minute but captain Davies was adjudged to have been in an offside position when he headed in Wood's free-kick.

Moments later, County goalkeeper Fox pulled off a fine one-handed save to keep out Buaben's volley from a deep back-post delivery from Juanma.

The deadlock was finally broken late on when Juanma converted Buaben's near-post delivery in the 84th minute.

But just when it looked like Hearts would rack up a fourth straight win over County, Goodwillie was well positioned to nod in Wood's cross two minutes from time.


Source: PA


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