Killie Comeback Kids!

Goal scorers Chris Boyle and Paul Di Giacomo

Hearts 3 - 3 Kilmarnock
(SPL Under 21 Match - Tynecastle, 5th May 2003, 7.00pm Kick Off)

The Killie youngsters finished off their season with a spirited draw against a physically strong Hearts side - and they did it the hard way coming from three goals down!

The visitors, lacking the experience of the players such as Boyd, McLaughlin and Hay, took a while to settle in this game, allowing Hearts to race into a 3 goal lead by the half-hour mark. The home side opened the scoring as early as the 6th minute, King firing into the net from the edge of the area.

Hearts dominated the opening exchanges using their favoured get-the-ball-as-quickly-as-possible-up-to-the-big-man-up-front tactic so well liked by their first XI. Although far from pretty, the approach was causing the young Killie back four some concern. The second counter came, however, via a more aesthetically pleasing route with Hamill doing well to cut inside two Killie men to skelp home from 20 yards giving Stewart no chance.

Killie gradually found their feet with Murray and Di Giacomo especially playing some nice football. Unfortunately, however a mixture of over-elaboration and poor finishing let the Ayrshire men down. Chief culprit in the profligate stakes was Jaconelli who was twice put clear by Jacko only to shoot wide. These misses proved costly because, as Killie continued to press, Hearts mounted a quick counter attack giving King a simple opportunity to double his tally and score Hearts third.

The half-time team talk must have been of the inspirational variety as Killie came out for the second 45 like men on a mission and went on to completely dominate the game until the end. The half was only seconds old went Di Giacomo reduced the deficit from close range after some nifty footwork.

Minutes later Jaconelli was again put clear of the Hearts defence, but was pulled back as he shot straight at the keeper. Killie's claims for a penalty were waved away however. The visitors continued to play some good attacking football and were rewarded with a penalty on 61 minutes after Jacko - making another surging run - was hauled down in the area. The young striker took the kick himself and scored on the second attempt after the keeper made a good block.

With their tails up, Killie pushed for an equalizer and it wasn't long in coming. Some great interplay from Gilroy and Di Giacomo on the right ended with the latter crossing for Chris Boyle to volley home form six yards. Our boys kept it going looking for the winner but it never came, a long range smack from Canning being the closest. For their part Hearts had one further chance in the match, King heading over when competing his hat-trick seemed easier. 

Hearts: Gordon, Sawers (Berra 45 ), MacLeod, Kaczan, Dunn, Janczyk (Fox 58), Knox , Simmons (McLaughlin 30), King, Gardiner, Hamill.
Subs (not used): MacDonald, McMullan.

Kilmarnock: Stewart, Coyle, Dillon , Canning, McGregor, McGuiness, Gilroy, C. Boyle (Gold 81), Jaconelli (Naismith 92), Di Giacomo , Murray.
Subs (not used): Samson, Sangster, J.P. Boyle.

Kilmarnock MOTM: Paul Di Giacomo.

Match report courtesy of Dave Hannah

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