Melbourne Heart 1 Perth Glory 2
Melbourne Heart’s first home game against Perth Glory ended in a disappointing two-one defeat.
Simon Colosimo did not come up and Brendan Hammill started on the bench so in front of young keeper Nikola Roganovic, Heart fielded Michael Marrone and Aziz Behich on the flanks and Matt Thompson and Curtis Good in defence.
Heart made a good early break and Behich’s cross gave Maycon a clear header on goal but it went over the top.
After Liam Miller caused some mayhem in the Heart box David Williams forced Bas van den Brink into skewing the ball over his own crossbar in an attempt to clear.
But Perth were now beginning to find their rhythm as Heart regularly gave the ball away or committed fouls in dangerous positions.
A quick throw out on the right to Liam Miller gave the former Celtic midfielder a chance to fire over a diagonal cross which Shane Smeltz met with a classic header for the opening goal in 34 minutes.
Skipper Fred had twinged a hamstring in the warm-up and limped off a minute later.
He was replaced by Nick Kalmar.
Mate Dugandzic sprinted down the right and flicked the ball inboard for Alex Terra to attempt to reprise last year’s overhead kicked goal against Perth, but this time the ball squeezed past the post.
Curtis Good was booked for a very late lunge on Jacob Burns in 37 minutes, which resulted in a brief melee.
In injury time in the first half a long ball into the area led to a soft penalty as Chris Coyne pulled the shirt of Maycon.
Referee Parsons blew instantly for the offence and David Williams squeezed the ball inside Danny Vukovic’s far post.
Heart must have been hoping for a better performance in the second half, but the closest they came was when Mate Dugandzic nutmegged his man only for Nick Kalmar to blast the opportunity high over the bar.
Matt Thompson tried to turn the ball back to his keeper when under pressure out on the right but only gave Smeltz the chance to intercept and the Kiwi sprinted through and beat Roganovic handsomely in the 68th minute.
Heart had lots of possession in the final fifteen minutes but it was all in front of the Perth defence which stood firm and saw out time comfortably.
John van’t Schip said that his team seemed to play with some fear, and consequently ‘it was not the game we had in mind’. They continually lost the second ball or gave away possession.
Nevertheless the two teenagers, Good and Hammill who finished up in central defence in the second half acquitted themselves well and he expected everyone to lift for the derby match next weekend.
Ian Ferguson was delighted his team had come out on top in a game of few chances, which Smeltz took. He thought Perth had more depth this year and there was more quality and more energy in the squad.
But as he said the game can change in a heartbeat and he was not taking anything for granted at this stage though his team sits on top of the ladder after two games.
Melbourne Heart (David WILLIAMS, pen 45+2’) 1 Perth Glory (Shane SMELTZ 34’, 68’) 2
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 5.00pm
Referee: Gerard Parsons
Assistant referees: Luke Brennan/George Lackrindis
4th official: Alex Azcurra
24. Nikola ROGANOVIC; 2. Michael Marrone; 5. FRED (22. Nick KALMAR 35’); 6. Matt THOMPSON, 9. MAYCON, 10. Wayne SRHOJ (3. Brendan HAMILL 70’); 11. Alex TERRA, 15. David WILLIAMS; 16. Aziz BEHICH; 18. Curtis GOOD; 23. Mate DUGANDZIC
Unused substitutes: 30. Sebastian MATTEI; 13 Jonatan GERMANO
Yellow cards: Alex TERRA 32’; Curtis GOOD 38’
Red cards: Nil
1.Danny VUKOVIC; 3.Bas VAN DEN BRINK; 4.Billy MEHMET; 6.Chris COYNE; 7.Jacob BURNS; 9.Shane SMELTZ; 10.Liam MILLER; 12.Scott NEVILLE; 13.Travis DODD; 17.Todd HOWARTH; 27.Andrezinho (14.Steven MCGARRY 64’).
Unused substitutes: 15.Tommy AMPHLETT; 19.Josh RISDON; 30 Lewis ITALIANO
Yellow cards: 10 Liam MILLER 56’
Red cards: Nil