Normal Service Resumed - 01/02/15
May 24, 2017
Twelve minutes into the evening kick off at Recreation park last night and all the knee jerk comments made in the aftermath of the defeat to Falkirk last week seemed to have been forgotten about by the travelling support. Normal service had been resumed and the feel good factor had returned. Only a couple of hours earlier I had been sharing jokes with fellow fans on our bus regarding e-mails sent to Anne Budge asking for the removal of our head coach over the past few days. How stupid must those fans be feeling today when they look at the championship table?
As we found our seats in the east stand news had trickled through that our often maligned ex frontman Christian Nade had given his Raith side a precious if not deserved point at Easter Road. After a solid ten minutes laughing at that news I eventually got round to looking at the team we were putting out and trying to make sense of the shape of the side. Jamie Walker would be given a free role playing infront of Gomis, Buaben and Pallardo. A narrow midfield but one which would offer more protection to our two centre halfs compared to last week. The other notable change was Keatings being given the nod upfront instead of Zefuik which allowed us a good option to stretch the Alloa backline.
We started the game at a brisk pace with Wilson finding the feet of Sow on a regular basis which allowed Walker and Keatings time to provide support. Alloa seemed reluctant to push the play early on which would allow Pallardo the time to carry the ball forward and strike a sweet right footed effort from twenty yards out which flew into the top corner. It was the early breakthrough that we craved to steady the team off the back of the defeat last week and helped set the tone for the rest of the first half. Seven minutes later Keatings would jinx past two Alloa players before finding the bottom corner with a tidy finish just moments after Simmons had broke through a static hearts defence only to see his effort hit the post. The remainder of the first half saw Hearts dictate play with Pallardo impressing and Sow looking sharp uptop but we were unable to strengthen the scoreline with Keatings smacking the bar from a free kick.
As with any game of football at any level 2-0 is a precarious scoreline and I was not impressed with some of the slack casual play in the final third at the beginning of the second half. Alloa made two changes on the hour mark introducing their two new loan signings and they would both be involved in the build play to the Spence goal which offered the home side a chance to repeat their heroics from the challenge cup semi final. The goal was a poor one to concede with Ozturk and Alexander possibly needing to have a look at themselves. The goal aside it was good to see the big Turk back in the side and he along with Danny Wilson can be pleased with their distribtuion from the back in this game.
The goal represented another test for the champions elect and they responded within a matter of minutes. Slack play from Simmons presented Walker with the opportunity to run through on goal and he slid the ball low and to the keepers right to restore the two goal advantage. The match played out at an exhibition game pace with Hearts playing within themselves and keeping the ball in an efficent manner with Paterson adding a fourth goal in the final moments of the match to add a touch of gloss to the final score.
All in all a routine match with the shape of the team utilizing the skills of Jamie Walker well in his prefered number ten role.
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