Betfred League Cup Group B
Saturday 22nd July 2017
Hearts 3 (Lafferty 22’, 86’(P), Berra 70’)
East Fife 0
Hearts XI: Hamilton, Smith, Souttar (Petkov 45’), Berra, Walker (Stockton 77’), Buaben, Lafferty, Cowie (Martin 62’), McGhee, Grzelak, Goncalves
Subs: Noring, Nowak, Brandon, Moore
Booked: McGhee, Stockton
East Fife XI: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson, Slattery, Duggan, Wilson, Millar, Gordon, Reilly (Flanagan 75’), Willis
Subs: Wilkie, Inglis, Mutch, Young
Referee: Nick Walsh
East Fife travelled to face Hearts on matchday 3 of the Betfred Cup but left empty-handed as Premiership side ran out 3-0 winners at Tynecastle. Manager Darren Young made two changed to side that drew with Dunfermline on Tuesday with Ryan Goodfellow and Kieran Millar stepping in for Nathan Flanagan and the injured Thomas Cordery.
The home side could have been ahead on 6 minutes when Michael Smith beat the offside trap but saw his shot rebound off the inside of the post into the arms of Goodfellow. Hearts were doing all the running in the early stages and passed up another two great opportunities inside the first 15 minutes when first captain Christophe Berra couldn’t find the target after losing his marker at a corner before Kyle Lafferty headed wide from a couple of yards.
East Fife’s first sight of goal occurred on 17 minutes when a break upfield by Mark Docherty saw Chris Duggan cushion the ball down for the onrushing Ben Reilly. Reilly was beaten to the ball by Berra but the defender’s clearance ricocheted off Reilly and flew narrowly wide. Hearts broke the deadlock on 22 minutes when Lafferty got on the end of Smith’s cross to head past Goodfellow from close range.
Lafferty almost doubled the lead 10 minutes later but for a timely intervention from Ben Gordon. Hearts continued to press; this time Jamie Walker denied by a smart stop from Goodfellow. East Fife’s best opportunities in the first half came from set pieces with former Fife ‘keeper Jack Hamilton struggling under high balls and being bailed out on more than once occasion by his defence.
East Fife had to weather a storm of a different kind after the break after the heavens opened and puddles started to form on the Tynecastle surface. Summer football anyone???? It was the visitors who adapted best to the conditions; Duggan beating the offside trap a couple of minutes after the restart but no one was able to get on the end of his cut back. A good break by Aaron Dunsmore saw the ball reach Paul Willis unmarked at the back post but was denied by a great save from Hamilton.
Just before the hour mark, Willis was again denied by Hamilton who managed to hold at the second attempt with Duggan waiting to pounce. When the conditions easing, Hearts started to regain control of the match with Walker going narrowly wide with a volley on 65 minutes before terrific defending by Gordon denied Esmael Goncalves. The home side grabbed a second goal on 70 minutes when Berra rose highest to head home from a corner. Walker should have made it three 5 minutes later but dragged his shot wide from a couple of yards.
Kyle Wilson found the side netting for East Fife on 77 minutes before the striker almost set up Kieran Millar with a tap in on 81 minutes but the Hearts defence were able to clear before Dunsmore saw his shot saved by Hamilton. Gordon was sent for an early bath 5 minutes from time, picking up his second booking bringing down Gongalves inside the box; his first coming following an altercation with Cole Stockton in the middle of the park 10 minutes earlier. Lafferty placed the ball on the spot and sent Goodfellow the wrong way for his second of the afternoon.
There were chances at both ends as the game drew to a close; Duggan forcing Hamilton into a decent save with his effort from 40-yards before Goncalves heading narrowly over into stoppage time.
A much better performance from East Fife after the break; more creative, more confident but the hosts ran out deserved winner. Onwards to Tuesday for our final group match of the Betfred Cup when Eglin City visit Bayview.