Six Goal Thriller in the Highlands.
The points were shared in the Highlands in an entertaining 3-3 draw where the drama started before the match had begun and continued throughout the game. Owain Fon Williams pulled out in the warm up and Cammy Mackay replaced him between the sticks. That was just the beginning. Carl Tremarco had to be replaced after nine minutes and his replacement scored the opener five minutes later. None other than Dave the Rave, what an introduction from the fans favourite. Lonsana Doumbouya continued his scoring run with the second to double the advantage. Hearts were thrown a lifeline before the break when Bjoirn Johnsen scored and they went for broke in the second period. Faycal Rherras got a fortunate equaliser and it looked as though Hearts had the impetus, but Aaron Doran put the home side ahead again. His first goal since returning from his injury nightmare. Hearts turned the screw again and Arnaud Djoum levelled to set up a tense final fifteen minutes, but neither side could get their noses in front and a point each it was with all the punters going home happy after a highly entertaining contest.
Old Caley Girl will have a full report for us when she takes time to digest the afternoon's spectacle.
Back in December I had the misfortune to witness the Tynecastle 5-1 horror show, however, what a difference in ICT that day. Richie Foran in his post match interview that day said he knew what was wrong and how to sort it and he has been true to his word. At 3pm at the TCS the music played for the arrival of the players but instead of the players running on to the pitch the music went on and on and on……..............
Eventually both teams appeared but with Cammy Mackay in goal instead of the already announced Owain Fon Williams. OFW apparently had a back problem from the warm up and had to drop out.
After nine minutes play David Raven replaced an injured Carl Tremarco and the home crowd wondered if it wasn’t to be our day. We were wrong though as this turned out to be a terrific match to watch with end to end action.
Caleyjags started off brightly with Doumbouya hitting the crossbar and on the 15 minute mark David Raven opened the scoring with a cracking volley, finished like a striker after a headed knockdown from Ross Draper following some tidy teamwork.
ICT extended their lead in 32 minutes with a right footed shot into the top of the net from 17 yards. We broke up a Hearts forward move and swiftly transferred the ball forward. When it came to Lonsana Doumbouya just inside the box, he wasted no time in smashing it high into the net Liam Polworth with the assist.
Hearts huffed and puffed but really were not causing too much problems in front of goal until a slip from Josh Meekings allowed Johnsen to run into the box and pull one back for the visitors eight minutes before the break, rifling the ball home from ten yards on the right side.
Hearts continued to press for an equaliser before half time but the Caleyjags went into the break in the lead.
Half Time 2-1
Both teams came back out from the break pushing for more goals and it was Hearts who leveled in 51 minutes with Rherras taking a chance from long range and hitting the target beyond Cammy Mackay who was wrong footed and bamboozled by the cross/shot which everyone missed as it bounced into the net. One of those awkward ones I'm afraid.
At that point you had to wonder if heads would go down but no, Aaron Doran had other ideas pinching the ball of Don Cowie following a lob and firing low past Hamilton in the Hearts goal.
The end to end action continued and Hearts were rewarded with another goal to equalise, Djoum hitting it across Mackay from fifteen yards on the right side. Hearts continued to pile on the pressure with subs Tony Watt and Conor Sammon but fortunately for us, they couldn’t find the winner. In the end 3-3 seemed fair I suppose but I think both players and fans will be disappointed not to take all three points.
Full time 3-3
A hugely entertaining match with plenty to thrill fans of both teams and any neutrals present. Defensive mistakes stopping us take the 3 points. An interesting post match debate could be had from comments made by Gary Warren that he would prefer to win ugly than by entertaining draws. Given the injury dramas a point was welcomed by most and cemented our top six place on merit.
A small worry is the injuries sustained. Owain Fon Williams, Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Iain Vigurs. Hopefully all not too bad.
An unpleasant feature of this game that I feel I must mention was Hearts tendency to go down every few minutes (polite way of mentioning a lot of diving) and the fact that Craig Thomson seemed to be falling for it at every turn. Is it just me or is the standard of refereeing dropping again in this league?
OCG MotM – Several candidates but my vote goes to Lonsana Doumbouya. Improving every game, put in a shift and knows where the back of the net is. He is full of promise and hopefully lots more goals to come.