Jair Tavares on target as Hibs fight back to earn point against Dundee United in Reserve League opener
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United opened the scoring through Kai Fotheringham, with Tavares replying for Hibs. Sadat Anaku then capitalised on a defensive mix-up to restore the visitors’ lead, with Baldé bundling home a Tavares corner to restore parity shortly after.
Hibs Academy Director Steve Kean had revealed plans to give several first-team players minutes in the second-string fixture and he stayed true to his word with Ryan Schofield starting in goals; Lewis Miller, Darren McGregor, Kyle McClelland, and Lewis Stevenson forming the defence, while Tavares and Momodou Bojang also started in an experienced line-up alongside Murray Aiken, Allan Delferrière, Josh O’Connor, and Robbie Hamilton in a 4-3-3 set-up.
Stevenson was on hand to fashion Hibs’ first chance of the game but O’Connor was unable to get a clean hit on his back-post volley from the edge of the area.
United had strong appeals for a penalty when Fotheringham looked to be felled by Miller in the box as the Australian defender looked to recover the ball but referee Kenny Brown waved away the claim.
Schofield was called into action shortly after, fielding an effort from Darren Watson, but the United midfielder was forced off with an injury midway through the half, making way for Miller Thomson.
The well-drilled Terrors were making life difficult for Hibs but a slack pass from Layton Bisland was pounced upon by Delferrière, who played in Bojang but the Gambian striker’s effort was saved by goalkeeper Ruaridh Adams.
Bojang would also see an acrobatic overhead kick attempt drift wide as he looked to make things happen as the main striker in Hibs’ front three.
Fotheringham sent a long-range effort just wide after exchanging passes with Logan Chalmers but Schofield was never worried.
Hibs made two changes at the break, introducing João Baldé and Oscar MacIntyre for Delferrière and Stevenson but the direction of traffic continued towards the pink-clad Schofield’s goal.
Fotheringham was involved once again as he intercepted a clearance and fed Mathew Cudjoe on the left flank and his low cross into the box was tucked home by the forward.
Hibs replied just two minutes later, Bojang doing well to hassle Bisland on the edge of the area and steal the ball before funnelling it into the middle to Hamilton, who swept it wide to Tavares. The Portuguese winger cut inside and curled an effort past Adams from the edge of the area to level the scores.
But United hit back themselves in an episode the Hibs defence won’t want to see back; McGregor and Schofield at sixes and sevens on the edge of the area and Anaku left with the simplest of tasks to tap into the empty net.
Hibs brought on Emmanuel Johnson for O’Connor to freshen things up and they squared the game again on the hour mark. Baldé looked to have bundled in a Tavares corner at the near post but Fotheringham might have got the last touch.
Neither side came close to a winner in all honesty, with Schofield gobbling up two tame efforts from Chalmers late on, while Hibs struggled to carve out any clear-cut opportunities with a draw a fair result.