After fourteen straight games without a win to open the season, Melbourne Heart have now won three times in four after beating Perth Glory 2-1 at the Lavington Sports Ground in Albury, New South Wales. Not only was the win the second straight for Heart but it also (barely) qualifies as a victory outside of Victoria, with Albury sitting just north of the Murray River that separates the two states. Substitute David Williams scored the match winner in the 82nd minute, preventing Perth from making up ground on a finals position.
The match, bumped back to 5pm local time due to extreme heat, was as sluggish and disjointed as might be expected given the weather and water breaks every fifteen minutes. Only in the second half did either side muster much by way of attack and even then, the first goal came from a set piece. Patrick Kisnorbo headed in Iain Ramsay's corner in the 51st minute for a brief Heart lead, though it took the Glory less than twenty minutes to equalize. Steven McGarry, who was beaten by Kisnorbo on the first goal, fired in the tying goal in the 73rd minute after being played in by Shane Smeltz.
Williams was the late hero again, having defeated Sydney FC late in last weekend's game. Only on the park since the 56th minute, it was the substitute who gave Heart three more points when he nodded in the winner eight minutes from time.
The loss leaves the Glory without a win since beating Heart in Perth on January 10, a stretch of four games. If Kenny Lowe's side want to compete for a finals position, they would do well to pick up three points on Saturday February 15 at Sydney FC. Heart will go for a third consecutive win, this time across the ditch against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday February 16.
MHT Kisnorbo (Ramsay) 51'
PER McGarry (Smeltz) 73'
MHT Williams 82'
Melbourne Heart: Redmayne; Behich, Kisnorbo, Wielaert, Hoffman; Murdocca, Germano; Ramsay (Kalmar 77'), Mauk (Williams 56'), Dugandzic; Kewell (Garuccio 60')
Unused substitutes: Velaphi, Gerhardt
Perth Glory: Vukovic; Woodcock, Thwaite, Gallas, Risdon; Burns, Griffiths (Marinkovic 65'); Sernas (Sidnei 46'), McGarry, Harold (Maclaren 84'); Smeltz
Unused substitutes: Duncan, Clisby