Stenhousemuir 2 Hearts u20s 1

FH Stenhousemuir v Hearts 28/06/2016
FH Stenhousemuir v Hearts 28/06/2016

Stenhousemuir started pre-season preparations with an excellent odd goal in three victory over a smart Hearts under 21 squad at Ochilview.

The Warriors had to come back from a goal down at the break, Andy Irving causing the damage, but as the new teammates became more accustomed to each other they upped their game and Vinnie Berry found the net with a debut double to edge the contest.

Berry was impressive controlling the middle of the park while Fraser Kerr in the back line also looked a sound addition to the team, but it was the Tynecastle youngsters that started the better.

In the first minute Alistair Roy just failed to make contact four yards out with Robbie Buchanan’s excellent low cross and it took the home team until the 15th minute to manage a shot on goal.

Nevertheless, Liam McRoary was a bit unlucky to see his 25 yard effort soar just over.

Five minutes later though, Brown Ferguson’s men were behind. Harry Paton hit a terrific crossfield pass from the left to Roy wide left and when he centred low Andy Irving directed the ball well out of Colin McCabe’s reach to break the deadlock.

At this point it was pretty obvious the visitors had played together for some time, but Stenny gradually gained a better understanding and Alan Cook’s 20 yarder stung Kelby Mason’s fingers.

Without ever dominating the Warriors were showing up well in the second period and it was hardly a shock when Berry completed a fine passage of play by clipping over the advancing Mason in the 70th minute to square the match.

Goalmouth incidents were scarce, but Berry settled the outcome with a cracker of a drive from a loose ball at the edge of the box eight minutes from time. A strike of quality that Mason didn’t even see as it flew past him into the net.

Warriors manager Brown Ferguson was pleased with the contributions of new signings Berry and Fraser Kerr after Tuesday night’s win.

“I think you could see that Vinnie and Fraser are good additions to the squad,” he said, “I’m also pleased that Colin McCabe enjoyed his time here last season and has committed to another year with us on loan from Celtic.

“We are still looking around to improve the group, but not having a great deal of luck at the moment.

“We will be going with a tight squad in any case and it will give academy players an opportunity.

“It was good to get the win tonight, but pre-season is all about the players getting accustomed to each other and trying out systems and formations to find out what best suits the players for the new term ahead.

“I was pleased with the lads tonight, it was a good exercise, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done before the campaign starts.