Alloa 1-0 Hearts
Hearts’ League Cup campaign came to an uninspired ending when they suffered extra time defeat away to Alloa.
It was the second time the Tynecastle side had come up against the part-timers in just five days, after fairly easily dispatching them 3-0 on league business on Tuesday night in the capital. However, it was a different story in Clackmannanshire with an Alan Trouten penalty deep in to the second period of extra time proving enough to see the Wasps through to the last 16 and earn them their first ever competitive win over the Jambos.
The defeat will cause a lot of irritation in the Hearts’ support. Whilst dominating the match, the Jam Tarts struggled to create any real opportunities, or, when they did, they looked impotent in front of goal. It’s fair to say that Hearts have struggled to really look fluent or easy on the eye since Josh Ginnelly limped off early in the 1-0 win away to Arbroath in just the second league game of the campaign. To have that degree of reliance on one player so early in a campaign will be disappointing for Robbie Neilson who must be demanding more from his players.
Whilst the League Cup was certainly not the focus of Neilson’s season, to lose in this manner, not long after a questioning league defeat away at Dunfermline, will not be welcomed. Despite the league being the priority, this was still a first XI Hearts side, with three changes from the team that won comfortably on Tuesday night. White and Lee came in with Roberts and Naismith dropping out of the starting line-up. The third change was an enforced one when Craig Halkett suffered back spasms in the warm up and had to be replaced by Mihai Popescu.
Alloa worked hard throughout the 120 minutes. They were well organised and went about their business with purpose and determination. Hearts had no real answer or way round the Wasps’ approach and whilst fashioning chances to score in the 90 minutes never did look convincing or confident in finding the net.
Hearts move on to next Saturday’s league game away at Greenock Morton eager to get back to winning ways and generate some momentum. With a Scottish Cup final to look forward to before Christmas, the JTs need to get their early season promise and feelgood back.
Alloa: Parry, Taggart, Graham, Jamieson, Dick, Hetherington, Grant, Cawley, Trouten, Murray (Connelly, 94), Buchanan (Thomson, 101) Unused subs: Scougall, Brown, Malcolm, O’Donnell, Williamson, Lynch, Willison
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Popescu, Berra, Kingsley, Haring (Henderson, 112), Lee (Irving, 112), Walker, Halliday (Roberts, 81), White (Wighton, 81), Boyce (Naismith, 62) Unused subs: Stewart, Brandon, McGill
Referee: Gavin Duncan