Sunday, August 29, 2010

Heartbreak for Heart

Being a newcomer to any competition is difficult. That is especially so in the A-League.

Melbourne Heart made it four matches without a win tonight when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home at AAMI Stadium by Perth Glory before a crowd of 6,000.

The Heart had little luck. They conceded a terrible own-goal, and then a dubious penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the end of the match brought them undone.

The Heart scored early from a penalty of their own and led 2-1 at the interval. They withstood enormous pressure in the second half and seemed all set to record their first win when they succumbed to a penalty converted by Robbie Fowler.

Alex Terra was impeded in the 3rd minute by Naum Sekulovski and Gerald Sibon converted the spot kick, his first goal of the season, to give Heart the lead. It was the giant Sibon, in fact, who had played the through-ball for Terra to get into the box before being brought down.

Glory hit back and, in the 8th minute, Todd Howarth went close when he fired a good chance just over the bar from an angle on the left.

Matt Thompson missed a great chance to extend the Heart’s lead in the 12th minute when the Glory defence found itself outnumbered, but the ultimate man-of-the-match shot tamely from an angle.

In the 19th minute, it was 1-1. Fowler curled an inswinger from the right and Brendan Hamill, under pressure from Glory’s Branko Jelic, got a touch with his head, but only enough to help the ball strike Michael Marrone in the chest and bounce into the Heart net with keeper Clint Bolton helpless.

Nick Kelmar restored the Heart’s lead in the 37th minute. A Dean Heffernan free-kick from wide on the right was not cleared by the Glory defence and, when the ball carried to the far left-hand side of the box, Kelmar controlled it and cut inside before scoring with a low curling shot inside the far post.

Jelic had a half-chance for the Glory in the 56th minute following Steven McGarry’s cross from the left, but he nodded the ball high and wide of the target.

Jelic was replaced by Michael Baird in the 61st minute. Baird was finally playing after long delays in obtaining a clearance from Romanian club Universitatea Craiova.

Bolton produced a brilliant save from Fowler in the 71st minute as Glory dominated the second half.

In the 80th minute, Bolton again produced a marvellous save, this time from the marauding Sekulovski, who had been put into the box by Howarth.

Two minutes into stoppage time, Baird appeared to dive as he worked his way past Heart substitute Kliment Taseski and the referee, Kurt Ams, who was in charge of his first A-League match, pointed to the penalty spot.

Fowler notched his first goal for Glory by converting the spot-kick and maintaining his side’s unbeaten start to the season.

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