Friday night's game could not have turned out much better for Melbourne Heart. In the club's 100th game and the match in which Orlando Engelaar finally made his A-League debut, the club avoided ignominy and broke its 19-game winless streak, defeating Newcastle Jets 3-1 at AAMI Park. Though only 5046 turned out to see the game in near record heat, Heart celebrated in special kits and with all of the offseason's key acquisitions on the park at game's end.
Things did not start out looking so great for Heart, however, as Newcastle tallied the first goal. Taylor Regan headed down a Craig Goodwin corner in the 37th minute to give the visitors a first half lead. Yet seven minutes later, Heart got back to level footing when Ian Ramsay scored. Harry Kewell headed a ball into Ramsay's path and Kew Jaliens deflected the volleyed shot, leaving Mark Birighitti headed the wrong way. Hardly a minute later, Aziz Behich played a ball into the box from the left wing, finding Mate Dugandzic in between Newcastle's central defenders. The diminutive attacker headed the ball easily past Birighitti for a sudden Heart lead just before the halftime whistle.
Dugandzic sealed the game when he nutmegged Birightti in the 68th minute after corralling a nice through ball from Ramsay. That goal came eight minutes after Engelaar debuted, replacing Nick Kalmar in central midfield. The defeat stalls Newcastle in sixth place as Perth Glory jumped into fifth with its draw on Friday night.
Heart will try for a second straight win at Adelaide United next Saturday while the Jets will try to recover when they travel to Gosford and play Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
NEW Regan (Goodwin) 37'
MHT Ramsay (Kewell) 44'
MHT Dugandzic (Behich) 45'
MHT Dugandzic (Ramsay) 68'
Melbourne Heart: Redmayne; Behich, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Hoffman; Kalmar (Engelaar 59'), Murdocca; Ramsay, Kewell, Dugandzic (Garuccio 84'); Williams (Mifsud 32')
Unused substitutes: Velaphi, Kisnorbo
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Gallaway (Brown 46'), Jaliens, Regan, Pepper; Caravella, Kantarovski (Bridges 62'); Virgili (Ward 46'), Zadkovich, Goodwin; Heskey
Unused substitutes: Kennedy, Gibbs