Home defeat to Motherwell increases pressure on Hearts boss Levein
Uncomfortable afternoon at Tynecastle as Steelmen take the points.
Craig Levein faced further calls for his resignation as Hearts crashed to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-2 home loss to Motherwell.
A poor defensive display from the Jambos saw Declan Gallagher, Sherwin Seedorf and Jermaine Hylton find the net for the Steelmen.
Ryo Meshino did turn in a heartening cameo from the bench, teeing up a goal for Uche Ikpeazu and rippling the net with a fine curling effort himself.
However, that did little to assuage the fury of the home fans at Tynecastle.
An increasing portion of the Jambos fanbase believe Levein’s time is up. The club remain winless in the league this season and have only tasted victory in the league on four occasions in the whole of 2019.
Levein was barracked by all sides, with chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ from the Motherwell fans mixed with ‘we want you to go’ from home supporters.
It took just 20 minutes for the visitors to claim the lead in simple fashion. A fine inswinging corner-kick from Liam Polworth found Gallagher completely unmarked, having escaped the attention of Sean Clare, and he headed home from six yards out.
It almost got worse for the hosts when Seedorf cut inside from the left flank and found Polworth on the edge of the box – but the playmaker’s curling effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Clare then wasted a wonderful chance to level when a slick passing move between Ikpeazu and Steven MacLean teed him up 14 yards from goal. However, his tame shot was blocked by Mark Gillespie.
Motherwell, meanwhile, were dominating the midfield and regularly carving the home side open. A super save from the onrushing Colin Doyle was required after Alan Campbell had sent Devante Campbell through on goal.
Liam Donnelly, seeking to find the net for a ninth time in a remarkably prolific campaign, then crashed a dipping drive against bar after skipping past Jamie Brandon.
Motherwell extended their advantage five minutes after the interval when Ikpeazu carelessly surrendered possession to Seedorf, allowing the Dutchman to advance and produce a powerful shot which beat Doyle via the underside of the bar.
Hearts were afforded some hope by the introduction of on-loan Manchester City youngster Meshino. He dribbled into the box, rode a challenge, and shot from a tight angle. Although Gillespie saved, Ikpeazu was on hand to nod home the winner.
However, the men in maroon blew any chance of a comeback in shambolic fashion, with a mix-up between Clare and Doyle as they converged on a long ball forward allowing Hylton to steal possession and fire into an empty net from 20 yards.
Meshino, a shining light in the Gorgie gloom, struck with five minutes left on the clock – firing beyond Gillespie from just inside the box.
But Hearts could not find a leveller and the full-time whistle was met with a cacophony of jeers as stewards escorted Levein from the dugout.