- The Dark Blues lost 2-0 against Hearts at Tynecastle tonight. An Esmael Goncalves goal on the break put the Jam Tarts ahead in the first half and Christophe Berra added a late second from a corner. Dundee had a few good spells but did not do enough to trouble Hearts and can have no complaints about the result.
Scott Allan and Kerr Waddell returned to the Dee’s starting eleven, replacing Cammy Kerr and Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who were both on the bench. Hearts made four changes. Rafal Grzelak, Anthony McDonald, Cole Stockton and Esmael Goncalves came in for Michael Smith, Don Cowie, Jamie Walker and Kyle Lafferty.
Dundee started promisingly, moving the ball around well in midfield but without being able to find a pass that would penetrate the home defence. Hearts were more direct and had no more luck in the early stages trying to get through Dundee’s back three. Christophe Berra had the only shot in the first quarter of an hour, a wayward effort that flew well over the bar.
After 20 minutes Hearts started to pick up the pace, looking much more dangerous. An 18 yard shot by Prince Buaben struck a Dee shirt, prompting loud appeals for a penalty from the stands rather than the players. A spell of heavy pressure by Hearts ended with Elliott Parish saving with his feet from Cole Stockton’s angled shot.
Dundee’s first shot on target was a 25 yard free kick by Scott Allan that was too close to Jon McLaughlin to worry the Jam Tarts’ goalie. Far too many of Dundee’s attacks ended with them losing the ball cheaply and this led to Hearts taking the lead after 29 minutes. 16 year old Anthony McDonald picked up a slack, loose ball inside his own half, raced through the vacant midfield and sent Esmael Goncalves clear with a clever, dinked pass. GONCALVES held off Josh Meekings and slipped his shot under Parish and inside the far post.
The goal helped Hearts to relax and they were the better team for the remainder of the first half without creating any more danger. Dundee tried to pass their way through Hearts midfield and defence, but every attack broke down before the penalty area. Roarie Deacon came closest when he spun neatly in the box, but his shot struck a defender.
Jack Hendry required lengthy treatment after a late challenge by Cole Stockton and he didn’t reappear after the interval. Cammy Kerr came on and the Dark Blues switched to 4-2-3-1; O’Hara and Kamara the holding midfielders, with Deacon, McGowan and Allan in front of them.
Dundee started the second half well, taking charge in midfield and taking the game to Hearts. Deacon took a pass from Jon Aurtenetxe, cut inside and pulled his shot narrowly wide of the near post. There was a fleeting scare for the Dee when Stockton poked Connor Randall’s cross into the net, but from an offside position.
The Dark Blues then had another promising spell and Roarie Deacon was posing serious problems for the left of Hearts’ defence. He was also taking some heavy treatment and had to be substituted when he couldn’t shake off the effects of a foul. There was the occasional passage of neat football and some gentle pressure on the home defence but there were no clear chances and McLaughlin was only called on to make straightforward saves.
Midway through the second half Hearts created by far the best chance of the second half. Whereas Dundee were shuffling the ball around with getting anywhere the Jam Tarts opened Dundee up with two quick passes. Ross Callachan had just replaced Goncalves and Stockton sent him racing clear through the middle. Parish stood up to his shot and kept Dundee in the match with a fine save.
The Dark Blues kept themselves in contention and there was always hope that they would fashion a chance, but repeated carelessness and sloppy passing ensured that there was never any end product to their attacks.
After 77 minutes Hearts made sure of the win when the Dark Blues made a hash of defending a corner. McDonald flighted the ball into the goalmouth where it was missed by everyone. The ball broke off Kerr and fell handily for Christophe BERRA at the far post. The Hearts captain took full advantage, forcing the ball under Parish.
Dundee continued to attack, without looking threatening and they always looked vulnerable to conceding another goal on the break. Substitute Kyle Lafferty came closest, but Paris blocked with his legs.
At time Dundee showed flashes of the attractive passing game of which they are capable, but mistakes far outnumbered the moments of quality. The Dark Blues lost the ball almost every time they tried positive passes in the Hearts half, and conceded possession far too often even when they were only trying to do the simple thing. Disappointingly the Dee fell far short of the standard they have set over the last few games and that applies to every part of the team, except Elliott Parish in goal who was blameless with the goals and made two good saves. However, the defenders in front of him conceded two poor goals. The midfield made far too many mistakes, and in attack the Dee were ineffective. Hearts may not have put in a top class performance tonight, but they got the basics right, were far more dangerous than the Dee and fully deserved their win.
Randall, Souttar, Berra, Grzelak
McDonald, Buaben, Djoum (Cochrane 31), Moore (Lefferty 73)
Goncalves (Callachan 57), Stockton
Unused subs: Hamilton (gk), Smith, Cowie, Brandon.
Goals: Goncalves (29), Berra (77).
Booked: Grzelak (foul on Deacon).
Dundee FC 3-4-3
Waddell, Hendry (Kerr at half time), Meekings
O’Hara, Kamara, McGowan (c) (Leitch-Smith 74), Aurtenetxe
Deacon (El Bakhtaoui 64), Moussa, Allan
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Holt, O’Dea, Haber.
Attendance: 15,566 (531 Dees).
Referee: Craig Thomson. Assistants: Graham Chambers, Paul O’Neill. Fourth official: Euan Anderson.
Report: James Christie.