Hearts 0-3 Killie
SPL, Oct 31st 2010, Tynecastle
SPL, Oct 31st 2010, Tynecastle
Hearts 0 Kilmarnock 3
SPL Match 10, Tynecastle, Oct 31st 2010
Kilmarnock's clinical finishing lifted them off the foot of the Scottish Premier League and denied Hearts the chance to move into third place.
Killie have now scored eight goals away from Rugby Park this term, two more than in the whole of last season.
At the end of a lively first-half in which both goals were peppered with shots, Killie defender Frazer Wright flashed home a header for the opener.
Jim Jefferies' Hearts pinned his former team back in the second period.
But an 80th-minute strike by Conor Sammon and a sublime lob by Alexei Eremenko gave the visitors the points.
Kilmarnock, propping up the Scottish Premier League at kick-off, knew the challenge central defenders Wright and Mahamadou Sissoko faced in preventing their former striker Kevin Kyle from adding to his goal tally, or from providing his Hearts team-mates with chances.
The hosts, for their part, began in buoyant mood after last week's 3-0 win over St Mirren and manager Jim Jefferies was able to name an unchanged side.
There were two attempts by each side in the first 10 minutes of the match.
Hearts started the match positively, with Marius Zaliukas's attempted left-foot volley, which hit off Calum Elliot and spun wide, indicative of their attacking intent.
By way of an immediate response, Eremenko weaved his way through the middle of the Hearts half and dinked a lovely ball to Liam Kelly, but his side-footed volley, an attempt to lob Marian Kello, drifted over the bar.
Mehdi Taouil was next to try his luck, taking a pass from Ben Gordon and cutting in from the right to fire a low curling shot at goal, which Kello tipped away superbly.
As the match roared from end to end, the home side pushed forward and Rudi Skacel set up Ruben Palazuelos to rifle a left-foot shot from the edge of the box that zipped past Cameron Bell's post.
The pace relented to a degree and, after a period of midfield carelessness by both sides, it was the Moroccan Taouil who had another try with his right foot, but again Kello was well positioned.
Kilmarnock are easier on the eye than last season, with Eremenko, Gordon and Rui Miguel, the latter in for Sammon, looking capable of troubling the Hearts back line.
Miguel, though, had a hangdog expression when he was subbed seven minutes before the interval, to be replaced wit Irish striker Sammon, though Mixu Paatelainen was at pains to explain the decision to the player on the touchline.
The Rugby Park side took the lead when Fraser Wright reacted fastest to Jamie Hamill's free-kick from the right, leaving Zaliukas flat-footed and his flicked header flashed past Kello from eight yards.
Jefferies made a double substitution at half-time, introducing Irish striker Stephen Elliot for his namesake, Calum, and Craig Thomson for Darren Barr.
Skacel's powerful 25-yard shot was well saved by Bell within minutes of the restart and the Killie keeper was called upon in 55 minutes to keep out a ripping shot by the Pole Adrian Mrowiec that bounced a yard in front of him.
Sammon curled a shot narrowly wide of the post in an increasingly rare attack by the visitors, but pressure on Bell continued with a snap-shot by Elliot going a fraction wide and Palazuelos shooting directly at him from long range.
As the Tynecastle faithful in the stands grew nervous at the score, Kyle caught Bell with his arm as the big striker went for a high ball right on the goal-line, and Suso Santana was booked for complaining to O'Reilly that he did not award him a free-kick on the edge of the box when he appeared to be tripped.
Hearts' third sub, David Templeton, pulled a shot wide after working himself into an inviting position, the finishing indicative of the desperation being felt by those in maroon.
With 10 minutes remaining, Conor Sammon silenced the home fans with a cool finish when he picked up Liam Kelly's ball down the right, arrowed into the box and struck a shot between Kello and his near post - a gap of about a yard - despite the speedy arrival of Zaliukas.
While Hearts licked their wounds, Eremenko ended any doubts surrounding the result with a marvellous shot over the head of Kello from 25 yards, the Finn controlling the ball with one touch and lobbing the Hearts keeper, whom he spotted hovering on his six-yard line.
After a season in which they have occasionally threatened to click in front of goal, Kilmarnock can now enjoy their biggest away win in five years.
Killie: Cameron Bell, Fraser Wright, Mo Sissoko, Craig Bryson, Jamie Hamill, Mehdi Taouil, (58 mins for Garry Hay), Ben Gordon, Alexi Ermenko, Liam Kelly, (86 mins for Tim Clancy), Manuel Pascali, Rui Miguel, (38 mins for Connor Sammon)
Subs Not Used: Kyle Letheren, Danny Invincibile, David Mendes De Silva, Harry Forrester
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