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Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Saturday, 12 January 2008

Hearts 2-2 Motherwell

By Julian Taylor

Devidas Cesnauskas
Cesnauskas celebrates drilling home Hearts' opener

Motherwell recovered from two goals down to drag Hearts to a Fir Park replay in a sparkling cup tie.

Deividas Cesnauskis volleyed home for the Jam Tarts in 10 minutes after Audrius Ksanavicius found him unmarked with a low cross from the left flank.

Andrius Velicka made it 2-0 after 52 minutes, eluding the Well defence from a long ball before rounding keeper Graeme Smith to slot home.

Chris Porter responded, slamming a double in 64 and 78 minutes for Well.

Well boss Mark McGhee spoke of his admiration for the character his team displayed in their first outing since the tragic death of Phil O'Donnell.

"We came here determined to enjoy it regardless of the result," he said.

"There was a big crowd, our crowd were brilliant, I just wanted it be a football match worthy of a Scottish Cup tie.

Motherwell fans
The large Well support pay tribute to their late captain Phil O'Donnell

"Obviously we made it difficult for ourselves going two behind but even at 2-0 I said to Scott Leitch 'there is still something here for us'."

The visitors were boosted with the backing of 3,500 travelling fans in the capital.

New captain Paul Quinn featured while Keith Lasley faced the difficult task of stepping into the midfield position occupied by the late Well skipper.

David Clarkson, O'Donnell's nephew, retained his place in the Well starting line-up.

The Edinburgh side were forced to bring in Eduardas Kurskis in goal with Anthony Basso also injured, and caretaker boss Stephen Frail also brought back Michael Stewart following suspension and the fit-again Andrew Driver.

Hearts started with verve, Velicka screwing a snap shot wide following good work by Andrew Driver.

The opener arrived for Frail's men, however, with Cesnauskis finishing off with aplomb to give the current SPL strugglers a timely lift.

Well responded to the early blow in positive manner, with Kurskis palming away a dangerous Ross McCormack free kick.

Well scorer Chris Porter (left) celebrates with Paul Quinn
Well scorer Chris Porter (left) celebrates with Paul Quinn

But the home side retained their discipline, and Motherwell's only further chance of the half came on the break when Porter headed wide under pressure following Jim Paterson's cross.

Velicka made it much more comfortable for Hearts with the second, racing onto a speculative raking pass, and as the Well defence hesitated, the Lithuanian pounced for his 11th goal of the season.

The Lanarkshire side were far from downhearted though and endeavoured to haul themselves back into contention.

And their persistence paid off, when Keith Lasley flicked the ball into the path of McCormack who squared for Porter and the Englishman made no mistake.

McGhee had called for a powerful performance from his side, and their determination shone through as the second period ebbed and flowed.

And when Porter equalised in an almost carbon copy of their first, with McCormack inspired, it was no less than McGhee's men deserved.

The drama was far from over, with both teams doing their utmost to avoid a replay, and the dangerous Velicka clipped the Well crossbar in the dying minutes.

Both sides were forced to settle for the draw, with the Steelmen now anticipating a second chance to progress at home.

Hearts: Kurskis, Neilson, Karipidis, Berra, Goncalves, Cesnauskis (Mikoliunas 74), Stewart, Palazuelos, Driver (Wallace 77), Ksanavicius (Pospisil 87), Velicka. Subs Not Used: Bjornsson, Jonsson.

Booked: Stewart, Neilson.

Goals: Cesnauskis 10, Velicka 52.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Paterson, Clarkson (Fitzpatrick 90), McGarry (Darren Smith 63), Lasley, Hughes, Porter, McCormack. Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Brian McLean, Murphy.

Booked: Quinn, Craigan.

Goals: Porter 64, 78.

Att: 13,651

Ref: S Dougal

see also
Scottish Cup photo gallery
12 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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