Hearts 2-2 St Johnstone: Match Report

15 May 2016 02:34

Hearts battle back to hold St Johnstone after thrilling Tynecastle start

Hearts fought back from two goals down to earn a point against St Johnstone in their final Ladbrokes Premiership match of the season.

Saints were quick out of the traps and scored twice inside 12 minutes courtesy of a Liam Craig penalty and a close-range Graham Cummins effort.

But Hearts levelled before the break with an Arnaud Djoum header and an own goal from Joe Shaughnessy, to secure a 2-2 draw.

Hearts finished the match with 10 men after striker Abi Dauda was shown a straight red card in the 58th minute for a reckless challenge on Liam Craig.

The hosts created the first half-chance during the opening exchanges when Djoum picked himself up off the ground in the box and got a shot away but his effort was deflected wide.

But just like in St Johnstone's last visit to Tynecastle in March, when they stormed two ahead after 21 minutes on their way to a 3-0 win, Tommy Wright's side again made a blistering start.

The breakthrough came after nine minutes from the penalty spot after John Souttar was penalised for pulling on the jersey of Cummins. Craig stepped up and found the bottom corner.

The visitors doubled their lead three minutes later. St Johnstone flooded the penalty box for Danny Swanson's corner and Cummins scrambled in a close-range effort.

Hearts were visibly stunned but showed great character to bring the game level within nine minutes.

Djoum pulled one back after 17 minutes with a guided looping header that found the top corner after Prince Buaben's delivery was not dealt with by the Saints rearguard.

St Johnstone defender Joe Shaughnessy then brought Hearts level with an unfortunate own goal. Buaben's cross from the right was directed at Juanma but Shaughnessy got a touch with his head that took the ball beyond goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

It was breathless stuff in a game that defied its status as a meaningless end-of-season clash.

Hearts striker Dauda was then twice denied adding a third for the home side by Mannus. The on-loan Vitesse Arnhem player had a near-post effort blocked by the leg of the goalkeeper before a glancing header was then brilliantly palmed away by Mannus.

At the other end Callum Paterson made a timely goal-line clearance after Danny Swanson connected with Cummins' cut-back.

St Johnstone created the first real chance of the second half but after chasing down a ball in a tight angle inside the box, Cummins lifted a shot over goalkeeper Jack Hamilton and the bar.

The game was played in a competitive spirit but Dauda overstepped the mark when he clattered into the back of Craig and was shown a red card by referee Greg Aitken.

The challenged triggered a melee involving nearly every player. The game continued to simmer as tackles flew in. Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson was also given a talking-to by the match official.

It was Hearts that created the next opportunity despite being a man down. Alim Ozturk struck a 40-year free-kick that Mannus got down well to.

Hearts goalkeeper Hamilton then pulled off an injury-time block to keep out a Cummins header.

Source: PA