Heart nearly stopped after Williams send-off

Melbourne Heart 3 Brisbane Roar 2

Roy Hay

Melbourne Heart was cruising at three-nil against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon, when David Williams was sent off for a two-footed tackle in the 67th minute. Within the next nine, Besart Berisha scored twice, once from the penalty spot and Brisbane suddenly had the momentum and a chance to take all three points. Somehow Heart managed to regroup and the ten men held on to the single goal lead until the end.

Heart made only one change from the team which beat the Jets, with David Williams coming in for Golgol Mebrahtu, while the Roar named young Victorian George Lambadaridis on the bench.

It was a strange first half. In the first ten minutes Heart had no sustained control of the ball at all, then Jonathan Germano slipped the ball through to Josip Tadic who was about to shoot when Michael Theo slid out to save at his feet. Two minutes later Heart was ahead as Germano fed Richard Garcia on the edge of the box. It looked as if Garcia was trying to find Tadic, but David Williams overlapped on the left and got his shot away as Theo cannoned into him. The ball finished in the net in the 13th minute.

Chaos in the Heart penalty area.

The game resumed as it had been before with the Roar having much more possession while Heart soaked up the pressure and Roar could not find the killer pass in the attacking third of the field. In 35 minutes Heart doubled its lead when Michael Marrone began a run from deep as people were screaming for a free kick on Heart skipper Fred. Eric Paartalu tried to slow Marrone’s progress but the full back was able to slot the ball through to Tadic, who appeared to be well offside. No flag was raised and Tadic beat Theo from close range. The Roar’s best response was a fierce shot by Paartalu but it was too close to Andrew Redmayne who held it firmly.

At half time Mike Mulvey took off Massimo Murdocca and sent on Nick Fitzgerald, but it was Heart which added to its lead when Aziz Behich made one of his typical slaloming runs down the left flank. It seemed that his final pass was aimed at Richard Garcia, but it was skipper Fred who finished the move. Roar had a chance to equalise shortly afterwards when Mitch Nicholls was brought down on the edge of the penalty area but Thomas Broich’s free kick deflected off the wall and was safely gathered by Andrew Redmayne. Redmayne was booked for time wasting in 66 minutes, but it was the next refereeing decision which changed the game. David Williams trying to regain a ball which had been lost in a Heart foray went flying into a tackle with both feet off the ground and was immediately sent off.

Aziz Behich and Mitch Nicholls in opposition.

The sending off changed the game completely as the Roar smelled the chance of an upset. The visitors began to string chances together and Heart looked disorganised, particularly in defence. Fred brought down Ben Halloran in the box in the 73rd minute giving Besart Berisha a chance to score from the spot, which he did a minute later. Two minutes later and Berisha got his second after Heart gave the ball away and Broich found the Albanian striker with a precise pass. Both sides made double substitutions to introduce fresh legs for the last frenetic period which included five minutes of added time.

Heart fans' message is clear

The officials will not look back on this game with much pride in their performance. Heart was gifted an offside goal. Richard Garcia was booked for contact with his trailing leg after he had won the ball cleanly with his right foot. Andrew Redmayne’s caution for time wasting was pedantic and while the Williams lunge was reckless, the sending off was harsh.

Match details

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Melbourne Heart 3 (David Williams 13’, Josip Tadic 35’, Fred 53’) Brisbane Roar 2 (Besart Berisha 74’, 76’)

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-off: 4:00pm

Referee: Alan Milliner

Assistant Referees: Luke Brennan and George Lakrindis

Fourth Official: Shaun Evans

Attendance: 6,303

Melbourne Heart:

20.Andrew Redmayne, 2.Michael Marrone, 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (14.Golgol Mebrahtu 81’), 8.Matthew Thompson, 10.Josip Tadic (9.Dylan Macallister 81’), 11.Richard Garcia, 13.Jonatan Germano (17.Jason Hoffman 62’), 15.David Williams, 16.Aziz Behich.

Unused substitute: 1.Clint Bolton

Yellow cards: Aziz Behich 49’, Richard Garcia 64’, Andrew Redmayne 66’

Red cards: David Williams 67’

Brisbane Roar:

1. Michael Theo, 2. Matt Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman (21. James Meyer 75’), 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu (25. George Lambaridis 75’), 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca (24. Nick Fitzgerald 46’), 11. Ben Halloran, 17. Mitch Nichols, 22. Thomas Broich.

Unused substitute: 20. Matt Acton

Yellow cards: Ben Halloran 19’

Red cards: Nil

Shopping Cart: