Early Nade strike sinks brave Accies

Christian Nade's first goal of the season earned Hearts back-to-back wins and consolidated fourth spot in the SPL as they beat Hamilton 1-0.

Last Updated: 12/11/08 at 22:44 Post Comment

Nade: Jambos matchwinner

Nade: Jambos matchwinner

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The French striker, whose future looked to be away from Tynecastle as he struggled with his weight in the summer, netted the only goal after just six minutes as Hearts edged a scrappy contest despite some late scares.

Nade was a constant menace before hobbling off shortly after the hour and is clearly enjoying a new lease of life under the guidance of Csaba Laszlo.

Billy Reid's bottom-placed side were much better after the interval but saw their winless run stretch to eight matches, with seven defeats.

Hearts made three changes as Michael Stewart started a three-game ban while Saulius Mikoliunas is out for two months due to a knee injury.

Jason Thomson also dropped to the bench with David Obua, making his fist start since August 30, Marius Zaliukas and Christos Karipidis coming in.

Hamilton made three changes with Trent McClenahan, Simon Mensing and David Graham all starting and Chris Swailes and Richard Offiong among the substitutes, while Marc Corcoran dropped out.

Inside two minutes Nade showed strength to hold off challenges on the right but his dangerous cross was plucked out of the air by Tomas Cerny.

Accies replied with a clever Mark McLaughlin overhead kick just wide after an Alex Neil corner had fallen to him.

But the hosts made the breakthrough on six minutes thanks to Nade's first goal since January.

The ex-Sheffield United striker latched onto Bruno Aguiar's flick from a Lee Wallace long ball and strode towards goal. McLaughlin and Martin Canning appeared to have closed him down, but as Cerny went to ground Nade somehow poked the ball home.

Nade was in the thick of the action again on 27 minutes, collecting Christophe Berra's chipped free-kick and turning to flick a shot just beyond the post despite the attentions of McLaughlin.

Nade then struck a fierce swerving shot that Cerny did well to palm away, and such was his input that he was coming in for some heavy treatment and hobbled off for treatment.

With Hearts briefly a man down, Accies almost took advantage on 38 minutes. Eggert Jonsson's clearance only found Graham and he tried to catch out Janos Balogh at his near post with a low drive.

The Hungarian saved but needed Zaliukas to clear for corner as James McCarthy, celebrating his 18th birthday, lurked.

Hearts stayed on the front foot after the restart and Aguiar soon tested Cerny with a long-range effort.

However, half-time replacement Offiong showed his threat on 50 minutes, heading wide under pressure at the near post from Graham's centre.

Nade should then have doubled his tally and the hosts' lead.

Aguiar's excellent cross from the right was perfect but Nade stretched to fire over from six yards.

With the game suddenly flowing from end to end, Offiong had an even better chance when Mensing picked him out at the far post. Unmarked, he could only head weakly into Balogh's arms.

Accies then appeared to have legitimate penalty claims when Zaliukas, trying to shepherd the ball out, rashly brushed aside McCarthy. Referee Douglas McDonald, however, was not interested.

Hamilton sensed an equaliser and, following a break down field, James McArthur perhaps should have done better in the 73rd minute when he headed over from close range after another fine Graham cross.

But despite some nervy late moments under sustained pressure, Hearts held on for the win and will seek a third straight success at Inverness on Saturday.

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Position Team P GD PTS
1 Dundee Utd 7 6 16
2 Inverness 7 6 16
3 Hamilton 7 6 14
4 Celtic 6 8 11
5 Kilmarnock 7 0 11
6 Dundee 7 -1 10
7 Aberdeen 6 2 9
8 St J'stone 7 -3 9
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10 Motherwell 7 -4 7
11 St Mirren 6 -7 3
12 Ross Co 7 -15 0

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