Monday, April 21st, 2014

Killie 1 Jambos 1

0

Substitute Suso came to Hearts’ rescue in stoppage time as the Spaniard scored the equaliser against Kilmarnock after both sides had been reduced to 10 men.

The game came to life after Dieter Van Tornhout was sent off for a second bookable offence after 54 minutes.

Paul Heffernan put 10-man Killie ahead from close range 11 minutes from time.

Jamie Hamill was also sent packing a minute later, but Suso headed into the net following a Stephen Elliott cross in a dramatic climax.

Hearts manager Paulo Sergio had gone for experience after the midweek thumping by Celtic, with Rudi Skacel and Ian Black replacing Ryan McGowan and Scott Robinson.

Former Bristol City midfielder Lee Johnson started on the Kilmarnock bench against his former club after joining as a free agent.

Without broken-leg victim Manuel Pascali and with Danny Racchi dropping out, in came Mohamadou Sissoko and van Tornhout.

Tensions were running high following comments from both managers in the build up to the game and striker van Tornhout was shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Jamie Hamill, who also picked up a yellow for his aggressive reaction.

Van Tornhout passed up a good opportunity to head the visitors in front when he failed to trouble Jamie MacDonald after connecting with James Fowler’s cross and the Hearts goalkeeper then had to be alert to deal with Paul Heffernan’s looping header a minute later.

Fowler’s sliced clearance looped just over his own crossbar following a dangerous delivery from Black.

However, both goalkeepers remained virtual spectators, with the majority of the match being played out in midfield.

Elliott came agonisingly close to getting on the end of Andy Driver’s cross on the half-hour mark and Skacel finally forced a save, Cammy Bell making a low stop to deny the winger’s effort from the edge of the box.

Marius Zaliukas should have done better when he rose to meet Black’s corner, but the Lithuanian defender failed to hit the target.

Mehdi Taouil stung the hands of Bell, while Dean Shiels’ free-kick forced Hearts keeper MacDonald into a punched clearance at the other end as the two sides found their shooting boots after the break.

Killie were reduced to 10 men when van Tornhout was booked for another foul on Hamill, with Heffernan being booked as the home players vented their fury at referee Euan Norris.

Hearts went close to taking advantage when Hamill swung over a pinpoint cross, but Elliott’s header drifted inches past the post.

However, the home side grabbed the opening goal as Lewis Toshney rose to meet Shiels’ cross and, despite an excellent block on the line, Heffernan bundled the ball into the net.

Referee Norris showed his second red card of the game when Hamill received his marching orders for a second booking, the former Kilmarnock defender having lunged in on Garry Hay.

Hay fired wide of goal in the final minute as Kilmarnock looked to be comfortably holding on for victory.

Hearts were not finished, though, and McGowan’s perfect cross was turned in by Suso to ensure a share of the points.

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