In this Little Big Shot Youth Cup 4th Round tie on a typically bitter December afternoon, Heart of Midlothian U20s faced Inverness Caledonian Thistle U20s at Tynecastle.
Inverness got proceedings underway, in what turned out to be a fairly uneventful opening 10 minutes. Chances were at a premium, with the first shot coming 6 minutes in. Both teams looked to ease their way into the match as they both had good spells of possession each.
The first good chance of the game came Hearts’ way in the 15th minute, as Dario Zanatta cut in from the left wing and took a shot which was saved by Cammy MacKay in the Inverness nets. Liam Smith took the rebound but it was too high to trouble the Inverness keeper.
From then on in the pace and the tempo of the game started to increase.
In the 21st minute Inverness’ #9 Andrew MacRae darted past defenders through the middle of the park, but couldn’t get his shot away. A few minutes later Angus Beith had a splendid effort on goal for Hearts, which was powerful and dipping. MacKay managed to tip it over the bar for a Hearts corner. Hearts were starting to take control of the match.
The Hearts pressure began to yield results in the 32nd minute after Lewis Moore’s shot from the right hand of the box deflects into the path of Zanatta, who stabbed the ball into the back of the net from close range to give the hosts the lead.
Just a minute later, Hearts almost double their advantage after another great run from Zanatta down the left wing, the ball reaches Ian Smith who saw his shot blocked.
After most of the play continuing to be contested in Inverness’ half, Hearts grabbed their second of the game, this time through #10 Robbie Buchanan. Ian Smith swung the ball in from a corner for Buchanan, who volleyed home from 8 yards out in the 39th minute.
The Jambos weren’t down however, and added a third in the 42nd minute. After fantastic build up play, the ball came to Moore on the right wing who crossed the ball into the box to find the head of Zanatta who headed it low at the back post to grab his second of the game.
However, just a minute later in the 43rd minute, Inverness struck back. The visitors won a free kick on the edge of the box, which found MacRae who didn’t need an invitation to shoot. He fired the ball into the bottom left of the net, beyond Conor Easton in the Hearts goal, to pull one back for the away side.