DUNDEE recorded their second successive win over Hearts courtesy of Matt Lockwood’s stunning free-kick at Dens Park. The SPL’s bottom club have only two victories to their name this season, both coming against Hearts following their narrow success at Tynecastle in September.
Scorer: Lockwood 22
The result saw the Edinburgh club slip to ninth in the league after an uninspiring display lacking in guile. Too many high balls into opposition territory yielded few chances until the final few minutes. That said, Dundee could easily have been 2-0 or 3-0 ahead by then had they converted the opportunities available to them earlier in the match.
Lockwood’s free-kick was a sublime piece of finishing midway through the first half. The Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas was penalised for blatantly and needlessly pushing Gary Irvine in the back on the edge of his own penalty area. Lockwood’s left foot drove the set-piece high into the top corner with Jamie MacDonald helpless, giving Dundee a vital advantage just as the visitors were settling into their rhythm
Rab Douglas parried Mehdi Taoul’s 20-yard attempt on 28 minutes, with Callum Paterson’s follow up deflected wide. The veteran goalkeeper was at full stretch five minutes later to push Arvydas Novikovas’ 25-yard free-kick to safety.
Dundee were content to sit in having gained the advantage. Yet they might have doubled their lead before the interval. Lockwood’s loping ball out of defence found Colin Nish onside and in behind a static looking Hearts defence. The striker evaded the onrushing Jamie MacDonald on the 18 yard line but had his shot blocked by Zaliukas and was left cursing his failure to make it 2-0.
John Sutton clipped Paterson’s cross narrowly over the crossbar early in the second period as Hearts restarted the match controlling possession of the ball. The visitors were lacking creativity, however, and gradually Dundee regained their composure. Andy Webster made a timely intervention to block another of Nish’s attempts at goal following a ricochet inside the penalty box.
Webster then almost gifted the hosts a goal by allowing a free-kick to slip under his foot into John Baird’s path. The striker’s shot was pushed wide by MacDonald, and Declan Gallagher volleyed the resultant corner wide of goal.
The final stages saw Hearts increase the tempo as Zaliukas moved forward to play as a striker. He headed over from Ryan McGowan’s cross and then into Douglas’ arms from another of the Australian’s deliveries. Zaliukas then headed a cross into the path of substitute Andy Driver but he failed to connect with the ball when a simple conversion looked likely three yards out, however he was ruled offside.
Ultimately, Hearts couldn’t force Dundee to crack as the Tayside club secured a vital three points in their fight against relegation.
Dundee (4-4-2): Douglas; Irvine, Benedictus, Gallagher, Lockwood; Riley, McBride, Davidson, McAlister; Nish (J Baird 68), Milne (Conroy 83). Subs: A Baird, McGregor, Boyle, Webster, Toshney.
Hearts (4-4-2): MacDonald; R McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger; Robinson (Driver 55), Barr, Taouil, Novikovas (73); Paterson, Sutton (G Smith 68). Subs: Enckelman, Holt, D McGowan, McHattie.
Referee: Steven McLean.