Melbourne Heart slumped to its nineteenth consecutive winless game, over two seasons, after losing 3-0 to Perth Glory on Friday night in Western Australia. Shane Smeltz, fresh back from injury, scored twice as a late substitute to kill off any chance that 10-man Heart would eke out a draw. Nineteen straight without a win equals the A-League record set by the New Zealand Knights over the competition's first two seasons.
As usual, Heart had plenty of chances with Mate Dugandiz, Patrick Gerhardt and Nick Kalmar forcing Danny Vukovic into action. But as has been the case all season, once Heart missed its early chances, the game slipped away. Dylan Macallister, who replaced Harry Kewell in the 70th minute, picked up two yellow cards in eleven minutes and was sent off, leaving the visitors down a man when they most needed a late push for an equalizer. Instead, Smeltz, himself a second half substitute, scored twice in three minutes to heap more misery on Heart. Adrian Zahra scored the opener for Perth in the 64th minute.
After a good result in his first game back, John van 't Schip will not get much of a pass after this one. Heart have never been good on the road, even in his previous regime, but 3-0 is bad, with the performances of the likes of Kewell and Michael Mifsud emblematic of the club's struggles. Meanwhile, Perth jump back into the finals discussion, sneaking past Newcastle Jets into fifth place on goal difference. New manager Kenny Lowe will be happy to take all three points, especially with games against Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory next on the docket.
Perth host the Roar on Friday January 17 at the nib Stadium while Heart will have Newcastle at AAMI Park in a Friday night fixture.
PER Zahra (Davies) 64'
PER Smeltz (Thwaite) 86'
PER Smeltz 89'
Perth Glory: Vukovic; Woodcock, Clisby, Thwaite, Davies; McGarry, Burns; Sidnei, Cernak (Smeltz 74'), Zahra; Harold (R. Edwards 84')
Unused substitutes: Radonich, Risdon, O'Neill
Melbourne Heart: Redmayne; Behich, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Hoffman; Kalmar, Murdocca; Ramsay, Kewell (Macallister 70'), Dugandzic; Mifsud (Williams 56')
Unused substitutes: Velaphi, Kisnorbo, Migliorini