Real Maroon brought a well organised and motivated side to Motherwell for the matc, but in the end FPC’s failures at both ends of the pitch all but handed victory to the visitors in a match that really should have been a home win.
The opening exchanges were hard fought with little between the sides, but in the 12th minute a mix-up between FPC’s centre back and keeper allowed the Hearts striker to challenge a 50/50 ball with Glenny at the edge of the box. Despite the two meeting the ball at the same time, the forward managed to force it high into the top corner to open the scoring.
FPC are not accustomed to trailing at home and moments after the restart they were on the attack with MacKenzie firing in a fierce shot from 15 yards which was brilliantly tipped round the post. MacKenzie didn’t have to wait long to find the net though; he caught Heart’s right back in possession just over the halfway line and robbed him with a crunching tackle, then ran 30 yards into the box unchallenged before firing a low shot which this time had the keeper well beaten.
In 20 minutes Tonner found himself through on goal, lifting the bouncing ball over the goalkeeper’s head but missing the left hand post narrowly. The same player had a second one-on-one with the keeper, this time firing a low shot diagonally across the goal from inside the box. The merest of fingertip touches helped the ball onto the post, and it bounced out kindly for a Hearts defender to tidy up. FPC lacked width with Stuart Jack and others sidelined, and the few times the ball found its way out to the wings the opportunities were squandered with Hearts closing down effectively.
The missed chances were rued when FPC went to sleep at not one but two quick free kicks in short succession. Despite half-hearted appeals for offside, Real Maroon’s striker made no mistake with only Glenny to beat, and fired the visitors ahead again.
Play settled towards half time with fewer chances created but pressure and possession were slowly coming round to favour the Motherwell side. Hearts conceded several niggly free kicks, and just before the break they paid the price when Fox sent in a tempting delivery from 25 yards, the one quality cross delivered in the half. The ball was on target and Tait made no mistake by bulleting it home with his head from virtually on the line to level the match going into the break.
The second half started with sustained FPC pressure but a series of good defensive clearances and uncomposed shots at goal contrived to keep the score deadlocked. Hearts created few opportunities, but twice they found themselves clear on goal but Glenny made excellent point blank stops each time. The match turned on 70 minutes when Hearts won an innocuous free kick just inside the FPC half. The delivery was poor and was running straight into the hand of the ‘Corner goalkeeper, who mistimed his catch and palmed the ball into his own net.
With 20 minutes left on the clock FPC threw a huge effort into their forward play and dominated the territory in the remaining minutes. Scott Anderson, Tait, John Anderson and Tonner all had chances to salvage a draw at least but failed to convert. Hearts, however, defended stoutly and held on to record a satisfying victory, the first ever by an away side at Ravescraig against FPC.
The defeat loosens The ‘Corner’s grip on the British League title, and they will need to win all of their remaining fixtures to ensure the Scottish championship stays in Lanarkshire.