Terrors held by Hearts

PA Sport
Arvydas Novikovas
Arvydas Novikovas

A glorious late strike by substitute Arvydas Novikovas gave Hearts a share of the spoils in their 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice.

United took the lead in the 32nd minute when midfielder Willo Flood fired in a powerful 35-yard drive but three minutes later the visitors were level through a Rudi Skacel header.

In the 65th minute Gary Mackay-Steven regained the lead for United when he drove in from the edge of the box but, with seven minutes remaining, Novikovas, on four minutes earlier for Andrew Driver, levelled with a powerful drive from 30 yards.

It was the William Hill Scottish Cup finalists who had the first chance in the third minute when a Danny Grainger corner from the right evaded the grasping hands of United keeper Dusan Pernis but right-back Ryan McGowan missed the target with his close-range header at the back post.

Tynecastle keeper Jamie MacDonald made saves from United skipper Jon Daly and striker Johnny Russell while Hearts midfielder Darren Barr was given a yellow card by referee Willie Collum for fouling Mackay-Steven, after the United wide-man had entertained the home fans with some lovely footwork as he sped past McGowan and Suso Santana.

Hearts striker Craig Beattie came off injured on the half-hour mark to be replaced by Stephen Elliott but the visitors had more to be worried about in the 32nd minute when they found themselves behind to a wonderful strike by Flood.

McGowan's headed clearance in the right-back position skewed into the middle of the park where the Irishman took a touch before rifling a powerful right-footed drive past McDonald and into the corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

Three minutes later, though, Hearts were level and this time McGowan made a positive contribution. The Australian defender's deep cross from the right appeared to be inadvertently headed back across his own goal by United defender Robbie Neilson as he challenged with Elliott, and the unmarked Jambos midfielder simply planted his header in to the far corner from 10 yards out.

Against the run of play United regained the lead in the 64th minute through Mackay-Steven with a goal that owed much to poor defending by the visitors. Flood's driven corner from the right was allowed to go all the way across the box to the Scotland under-21 player whose less than convincing shot sneaked past a couple of maroon jerseys and in at the far post.

However, battling Hearts were not to be denied and Novikovas became the Gorgie hero when he levelled with a thunderous drive which gave Pernis no chance.

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