Kilmarnock 1 Heart Of Midlothian 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 13 November 2004

These two European contenders shared the spoils in a hard-fought encounter.

Hearts were missing the spine of their team through injury and suspension, but they started brightly. Kevin McKenna was the source of most of the inroads into the Killie defence and he had the first chance in the eighth minute.

Paul Hartley lost his marker and slipped the ball through to McKenna who fired a shot low to the keeper's left, but new Scotland squad member Alan Combe was able to get down and push the ball behind.

The Killie keeper was called upon again the 15th minute when McKenna caused uncertainty in the Killie defence.

The ball fell to Dennis Wyness whose shot on the turn took a slight deflection, but Combe reacted quickly to get down and hold the effort.

Killie then lost Freddy Dindeleux to a groin injury and he was replaced by Gary Locke. The move worked in Killie's favour as Locke's industry halted the Hearts' momentum and turned the tide in his side's direction.

It also released Peter Leven to the left-back slot where he found more time to measure passes beyond the visiting defence.

Kilmarnock took they lead they threatened in the 30th minute with a well worked goal.

Leven. Locke, Gary MacDonald and Gordon Greer passed the ball patiently around the Hearts area before MacDonald slid an intelligent ball through to the onrushing Leven who lifted the ball delicately over the advancing keeper.

Kilmarnock pressed forward looking for a second before the break with former Jambos captain Locke in the vanguard.

His charge down in the 39th minute gave Colin Nish a run at the last defender, but he couldn't control the ball and settled for teeing up Locke who struck a brisk shot which was well saved by Craig Gordon.

The second half was scrappy, with the home side in control. Allan Johnston had a long-range attempt to break his Killie duck and he should have done so as the match swung.

Nish bundled his way past Christophe Berra creating a three on two situation. He played a clever ball to Johnston on the left, but he delayed his shot and Gordon was able to pull off a diving save.

Hearts then punished a rare slack pass from Locke as Patrick Kisnorbo burst forward and slid a simple pass to substitute Ramon Pereira who crossed to the far post for Wyness to equalise.

Kilmarnock could not contain Pereira, who was finding space in dangerous areas and the Spaniard forced Combe into an international-class save in the 75th minute.

He stepped in from the left and let fly with a curling effort which Combe punched powerfully away.

Hearts piled on the pressure but Killie could have won it as Danny Invincibile broke the defensive line, but Alan Maybury slid in to block his shot.

Heart of Midlothian Match Reports

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