Hearts 1, Dunfermline 0. SPL, August 31, 2003
Dennis Wyness opened his goalscoring account for Hearts and inflicted defeat on Dunfermline for the first time this season.
The ex-Aberdeen man had struggled to find his feet after moving up a division following his summer transfer from Inverness to the Bank of Scotland Premier League, but showed enough in the second half to suggest he will be a valuable addition to Craig Levein’s squad.
He dazzled Tynecastle in the 62nd minute by picking the ball up 30 yards out and waltzing past the Pars defence and slotting home from 12 yards.
Dunfermline struggled to get to grips with their hosts and, barring a late flurry at the end of the first half, never looked like recording their first win at Tynecastle for 13 years. The Jam Tarts dominated for much of the opening half, but could not find a way past a resolute defence that, prior to this game, had only conceded one goal in their previous three matches.
Scotland internationalist Scott Severin came closest for the home side, but was frustrated to see his net-bound header plucked out of the air by goalkeeper Derek Stillie.
He had been the busier of the two glovesmen, and was called into action after only five minutes when he had to be alert to wrong-foot Mark De Vries and clear following a poor back pass by David Grondin.
Dunfermline showed in patches what they are capable of, and did have the ball in the net 10 minutes before the break, but Stevie Crawford strayed offside before hitting a low shot past Tepi Moilanen.
De Vries was, as ever, a handful for defenders to deal with, using all his physical attributes to cause problems for the Pars back three. However, for such a powerful man, he goes to ground all too easily, and managed to upset the visitors towards the end of the opening 45 minutes by throwing himself on the ground looking for a penalty when it became clear Andy Tod was going to beat him to a Phil Stamp cross.
Referee Alan Freeland, who had already taken the Dutchman aside to warn him earlier in the game, took no action.
He did go into Freeland’s book early in the second half with a foul on Scott Wilson finally ending the referee’s patience and prompting ironic applause from the visiting fans.
Stamp then tried his luck from 30-yards, but was let down by poor technique as he leaned back at the point of contact and sent the ball sailing high over the crossbar.
Hearts started to exert their influence on the game as time progressed and made the breakthrough they deserved in the 62nd minute with a wonderful solo effort from Wyness – his first for the club.
Wyness, a prolific scorer in the Scottish First Division, had attracted some criticism from Hearts fans over his performance in the previous three games, but proved the detractors wrong by picking the ball up 30 yards from goal, dancing past three defenders and sending a low shot past Stillie.
The Hearts striker was visibly buoyed by this and went close with a curling 25-yard shot after showing pace to turn the Pars defence.
The home side had really gained momentum and their cause was almost helped by some erratic goalkeeping from Stillie, who came to gather a simple looking cross and made a complete hash of it. Luckily for Jimmy Calderwood’s side Wilson was on hand to clear.
The Pars boss then embarked on one of his trademark tactical gambles, waving his men forward, but they were unable to find a way past a solid defence.
Wyness was withdrawn for youngster Graham Weir with 10 minutes remaining, having gone a long way to convincing the Hearts support he has what it takes to cut it at the top level.
Hearts: Moilanen, Neilson (Kisnorbo 64), Pressley, Webster, Maybury, MacFarlane, Severin, Stamp, Hamill (Boyack 71), de Vries, Wyness (Weir 80). Subs Not Used: Gordon, Hartley.
Ref: A Freeland (Scotland).