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Hearts 2012

Heart of Midlothian welcomed Football Aid to Tynecastle for another hugely enjoyable afternoon of action. Players arrived into the Main Stand and onto the Hallowed Turf only a day after the Jambos had recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory over Aberdeen which all but secured the club a top 6 finish before the SPL split. Conditions were perfect; the sun was shining, the pitch looked great and the fans were making a lot of noise. It had all the ingredients for a great game of football!  

Sunday 11th April 2012
Hearts Home vs Hearts Away
Kick Off: 11.00am
Match Officials: Ben Burton, Blaine Robertson, Jamie Clunie
& Boise Allan
Legends: Alan McLaren, Walter Borthwick and Jimmy Sandison
    

In the first Football Aid event of the season, both teams served up a hugely entertaining 90 mins of football for the noisy Jambos supporters in the Main Stand. And with a colourful group of Tifosi in attendance - supporting the large group of Italian fans who had travelled from Genoa to take part - the crowd certainly had a cosmopolitan flavour to it as well.

The players arrived into the player's car park on Sunday 1st April, fit and ready despite the early start. After being given a tour of the stadium the players were led to their respective dressing rooms to find their kit hanging up all primed and ready before making their way to the pitch for the warm up under the guidance of their Managers.

As the spectators started to take their seats in the main stand the players were lead to their dressing rooms for the pre-match team talk. After inspiring words of encouragement from their respective managers, both teams emerged from the tunnel fired up for the game of their lives.

The Away team started the game brightly, carving out several chances early on, the first being a low drive from John Fowler which clipped the outside of the left post.

Again the Away team threatened after a fine pass from a set piece from Captain Charlie Legget put Chris Murphy through on goal. However, Home Keeper Emanuele Bozano closed the space down well and prevented a clear shot on goal.

The Home team got back into the game though and Phillip Bayne produced an impressive snap shot from a corner that went just wide of the left post. Next up Matteo Cicala clipped the upright after being put through one on one by Giulio Alberti, the quick counter attack was the best chance of the 1st half so far. The same two would link up again just before half time with Cicala feeding Alberti, whose volley was saved by Alessio Bozzone following some neat individual skill.

A nice pirouette turn and shot from Dave Mackay and a Legget header from a corner increased the tally of shots on goal by the Away team. However, the score line remained blank with both teams' defences on top for most of the half, with some well timed challenges from both the Home and Away centre-halves, Balal Raza and Legget.

A further series of saves from Man of the Match Bozano and some defensive blocks kept the score line at 0-0 heading into the 2nd half.

Half-Time: Hearts Home 0-0 Hearts Away

After some much needed fluids during the break the game continued in similar fashion with both teams creating several chances. John Fowler forced Bozano to punch a fierce effort away from a free-kick, before denying the same player again shortly after, following a nice passing move.

However, encouraged by the frantic instructions from their Manager, the Away team snatched control of the game with the aid of the midfield pairing of Craig Murray and Bruce Millar.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 58th minute as No 7 Fowler weaved his way past two defenders and placed his shot past the on rushing keeper. The neat finish with the outside of the right boot was deservedly rewarded as the Moment of the Match. (0-1)

The Home team responded emphatically with a glorious chance for Peter McNeill to equalise but  he was unfortunate to see his shot creep wide of the post after neatly creating space in the box.

The Away team looked to increase their advantage with a fine through ball from Dave Buglass putting Mackay through on goal. However - not for the first time - Bozano did well to come off his line and close the space down.

The Away team may have felt aggrieved that they didn't get a penalty in the 30th min after it appeared that Riccardo Bozano was pushed in the back as the cross came in. However, the referee probably just got the decision right as the ball seemed to have gone just past him.

The game's defenders looked to be on top form for most of the early phases of the 2nd half, demonstrated - none more so - than by a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Andrew Alexander on Fowler.

The game seemed to be petering out and it took an impressive free-kick from the lively Matteo Cicala to lighten proceedings up. With his team 1-0 down he hit a thunderous kick from nearly 40 yards out which had to be pushed past the post by Bozzone.

With the Away team realising that victory was not yet secured, they lifted themselves again and produced a wonderful attacking move which involved Bruce Miller and Fowler, who played a one-two of each other before Fowler forced Bozano into a fine reflex save.

A few minutes later the Away team were on the prowl again with a lovely through ball from Millar putting Mackay through on goal but Bozano once again thwarted their attempts with a brave save at the feet of the Striker.

The pressure did finally pay-off with a fine strike from Bruce Millar in the 87th minute dashing any hopes of a Home comeback. Millar showed great skill by nutmegging the defender before releasing a powerful low right footed shot into the bottom right corner to double his team's lead.  (0-2)

However the Home team got some reward for the huge effort they put in, by getting a goal in the 90th minute from a free kick. Cicala floated in a wonderful ball into the 6 yard area which was met by the huge presence of 2nd half sub Davide Guastavino, who got his head onto it, sending it past the rooted Bozzone (1-2). The goal was followed by some fantastic celebrations from his fellow Italians, who must have been practicing their routine on the flight over! Unfortunately the goal came just too late in order to stage a come back and the match ended 2-1 to the Away team.

Despite the defeat, Home manager, and Hearts hall of famer, Walter Borthwick - who was assisted by ex-pro and Football Aid regular Jimmy Sandison - had nothing but praise for his players. He said: "They did me proud and it was a great effort by everyone."

The Away team manager, Hearts legend and Football Aid Ambassador Alan McLaren, said: "It wasn't a bad game was it? Both teams had a great desire to win but overall my boys deserved it as their keeper pulled off some brilliant saves."

Full-Time: Hearts Home 1-2 Hearts Away

Crowd: 104

Man of the Match Home: Emanuele Bozano
Man of the Match Away: Paolo Sideri
Moment of the Match: John Fowler

Home Team: Emanuele Bozano, Mark Brown, Jimmy Sandison, David Irving, Balal Raza, Kenny Watt (capt), Barry McNeill, Matteo Cicala, Davide Guastavino, Phillip Bayne, Peter McNeill, (subs) Giulio Alberti, Davide Rossi, James Cunningham, Andrew Alexander

Mascot: Christopher Irving, Thomas Yates

Away Team: Alessio Bozzone, Paolo Sideri, Charlie Legget (capt), Dave Buglass, Craig Murray, John Fowler, Jordan Watt, Dave Mackay, Bruce Millar, Chris Murphy, (subs) Francesco Traverso, Dave Buglass (No5), Lorenzo Traverso, Riccardo Bozano