CHAMPIONSHIP side Hearts managed to get all three points but they found the League 2 Fifers a tough nut to crack in Methil on Saturday.

Hearts had a lot of possession but seldom were able to cut open the Cowden defence, in which their skipper Craig Barr was a stand-out and a clear man of the match in a game that had to be moved away from Central Park due to the effects of last week’s flooding..

Cowdenbeath also had their moments in attack with Kris Renton causing the Jambos more than a few problems with his physique and close control, and former Blue Brazilian, Craig Gordon, had a couple of good stops from the front man.

Jamie Todd partnered Barr in blocking the door to Hearts and with young full-backs, Ross Pollock and Ross Clarke, on top of their jobs the Tynecastle side found it hard to create a lot of clear chances.

Kyle Miller was a workhorse in the central midfield area and made several good challenges and also put through some good passes.

Cian Kavanagh and Olly Hamilton joined him in posing the full-timers problems and Graham Taylor was excellent on the right hand side, regularly beating his man and causing the Hearts defence to give away a lot of fouls.

New ‘keeper Ross Sinclair played well also and pulled off a penalty save late on, but the award was indeed, a very soft one.

The Cowden team had to be re-shaped with experienced campaigners Fraser Mullen and Robbie Buchanan both missing, Hearts started well and were seeing a lot of the ball but Cowdenbeath managed to weather a couple of difficult moments involving Scotland internationalist Steven Naismith.

In seven minutes Cowden went forward and and Barr seemed to be fouled going for a Renton flick but referee Alan Newlands decided that there was no contact between Scott McGill and the big Fife skipper, although he was clearly held back.

In 17 minutes Hearts swept forward and it was Barr to the rescue to take the pace off Jamie Walker’s 18 yard shot which allowed Ross Sinclair to save.

Three minutes later at the other end Renton produced a fine save from Gordon with an angled 12 yarder but soon after at the other end a fine piece of defending by Todd stopped Naismith’s low shot.

On the half hour Jamie Walker latched onto a ball from the left and his header grazed the Cowden bar.

In 37 minutes a mistake by Cowden’s Clarke let Walker in down the right and his pass to Halkett saw the midfielder fire in a fierce shot which was magnificently blocked by Barr before Renton brought out another good save from Gordon with an angled 12 yard drive.

Goalless at the break but there had been chances for both sides and three minutes after the re-start a header from Hearts’ McGill went just over.

With Craig Wighton on for Naismith at the break Hearts started to look liveiier in attack and in 65 minutes the former Dundee front man’s shot was blocked by Cowden’s Miller and the ball fell to Jordan Roberts who fired a volley inches wide.

Cowdenbeath were continuing to defend well but a Walker effort went inches wide and in 78 minutes a corner from the wide midfielder saw HALKETT fire a 10 yard header wide of Sinclair.

With two minutes left a Miller shot from the edge of the Hearts penalty area took a wicked deflection and flew over the Hearts bar but the Jambos survived the corner and two minutes into time added on Hearts got a penalty when Todd was adjudged to have brought down Roberts in a chase for a long ball but Walker’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Sinclair.

Cowdenbeath: Ross Sinclair (7); Ross Pollock (6),Craig Barr (8), Jamie Todd (7), Ross Clarke (6); Graham Taylor (7), Cian Kavanagh (6), Kyle Miller (7), Mikey Herd (6), Olly Hamilton (6); Kris Renton (7) (Cox (57 (4). Subs not used, Swann, Easton, Sneddon, Owens, Glass and Whyte.

Hearts: Gordon (7); Brandon (6), McGill (7) (Frear 62 (4)), Popescu (7), White (7); Walker (7), Halkett (7), Lee (6) (Haring 82 (3), Roberts (7); Naismith (6) (Wighton 46 (7)), Ginnelly (7). Subs not used, Cochrane, Moore, Henderson and Zdenek.

Referee-Alan Newlands (6).