GOALKEEPER Mark Ridgers and striker Gary Oliver marked their returns from injury last night as Hearts Under-20s lost 3-2 to Motherwell at Airdrie
Due to injuries and youngsters having school commitments, Robbie Neilson was only able to list three subs, but Adam King played in what could be his last appearance in a maroon jersey as he prepares for a glamour move to Swansea City.
Motherwell took the lead in 16 minutes when striker Craig Moore – who scored for Well’s first team against Hearts at Fir Park earlier in the season – latched onto a through ball before rifling a shot past Ridgers.
Liam Gordon levelled for the visitors in the 37th minute when he headed home Sam Nicholson’s corner from eight yards out. Hearts started the second half well, with Oliver twice denied by Motherwell goalkeeper Ross Stewart, while Billy King saw a shot come back off the crossbar.
However, it was Motherwell who went ahead again when Dale Shirkie netted a loose ball from around six yards out.
Moore extended the hosts’ advantage just a minute later when he latched on to a through ball, held off a challenge and fired home a angled shot. In what was a crazy few minutes of action, Nicholson pulled one back for Hearts with an angled shot from the corner of the 18-yard box. Hearts had the better of the closing stages, with Oliver going close, but they were unable to force an equaliser.
Hearts: Ridgers, L Smith, Ford, K Wilson, Gordon, A King, Simpson (A Scott 68), B King, Oliver, Buchanan, Nicholson. Unused subs: Hamilton, Craigie.