A YOUNG Hearts side were held by Cowdenbeath in a pre-season friendly at Central Park.
Scorers: Cowdenbeath - Johnston (36); Hearts - King (1)
Ten teenagers featured for the vistiors, all of whom had played against Stirling Albion 24 hours previously. More experienced players like Morgaro Gomis and Prince Buaben will return to the squad for friendlies against Preston North End and Everton over the next two weekends.
Billy King opened the scoring inside the opening minute but Hearts were hauled level before the break when Craig Johnston equalised and, in truth, the game was an even affair overall.
It was winger King who made an instant impact from the left flank with the opening goal after just 43 seconds. He sprinted forward onto Sow’s flick and produced a composed finish across the body of Cowdenbeath’s trialist goalkeeper with his right foot.
Greig Spence’s overhead attempt bounced past the post on 13 minutes as the hosts tried to restore parity quickly. They hustled and bustled in midfield and attempted to interrupt Hearts’ tempo, which was notably quicker than the previous evening at Forthbank. Occasionally the competitive edge threatened to spill over in the first half but the bit of tension in this friendly certainly made it more interesting for the sparse crowd.
Cowdenbeath’s probing eventually brought them level on 36 minutes. A cross from the right by one of the hosts’ five trialists was stroked low into the net from six yards by Johnston. In a fairly even first 45 minutes, it was probably just what the part-time League One side deserved.
King and Jamie Walker were Hearts’ two most influential players in the first half. Walker in particular looked a class apart in an unorthodox central midfield role. After a raft of interval substitutions by Neilson, the second period began but there were still several teenagers on the field for Hearts. Only trialist Dario Zanatta and defender Daniel Baur remained on the pitch from the first half.
Hearts were pushed forward in search of a winning goal but it was Cowdenbeath who came close near the end when a header from a corner by substitute Kyle Miller flashed wide of goal as the visiting defence appeared to switch off for a moment.
Cowdenbeath: Trialist (Trialist 52); Brett, J Armstrong, Donaldson, Yaqub; Trialist, Kane (Scullion 52), Hughes (Callaghan 52), Johnston (Wright 77); Spence (Trialist 77), L Armstrong (Miller 63). Sub not used: Nish.
Hearts: Hamilton (Alexander 46); L Smith (Paterson 46), McGhee (Jones 46), Baur, I Smith (McHattie 46); Zanatta, Walker (McKirdy 46), Buchanan (Anderson 46), King (Moore 46); Reilly (McLean 46), Sow (Oliver 46).
Referee: George Salmond.