Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Heart Flutters at the End


Bubbledome Sat 8 December 2012

About time! About time Heart had a win. About time Melbourne Heart was rewarded with three points for their efforts in a game they just shaded. We all know the gods of football are often happy to punish teams who dominate but fail to penetrate. But at last they were kind to a Heart line up that was missing its Socceroos and led by an out-of-sorts Fred. The last minute goal to Golgol Mebrahtu – his first one in the A League – meant that a game seemingly headed for a scoreless draw ended up in the squeakiest of victories for the Cardiac Boys. It was hard to escape Aloisi’s Cheshire Cat smile after the game. And for all of Ian Ferguson’s cannily delivered, gruff disappointment in the post-match presser, his bearing suggested it was result he had already accepted as being hard-but-fair.
The first half of the game was pretty awful. Heart once more looked like lost chooks, faffing about with the ball, giving away possession way too easily and shooting and crossing weakly when the many opportunities to do so arose. Kalmar seemed to switch into slow motion a number of times when in a shooting position. Unfortunately for him the Perth defence intervened at normal speed.
When Perth received possession they did a pretty good job of looking steady and capable. However, their calmer organisation seemed only to lead to impotent conclusions. Having said that, Smeltz looked somewhat dangerous a couple of times but was ultimately wayward in his attempts on goal. Perhaps their best chance of the first half came to Harold, who took advantage of Heart right back, Walker’s being out of position after overlapping in attack. Harold looked good taking the ball into the vicinity of the area but shot benignly and straight at a grateful Bolton.
Jeremy Walker, the young Tasmanian, held on to his place in the continued absence of Marrone and justified the glowing reports from the previous week in another solid performance. He looked undaunted against more experienced attackers and got forward well. He was found out of position a couple of times and in one instance revealed a lack of body strength when easily pushed off the ball by a defender he tried to skin. But the young man has a fabulous future ahead of him if he can build on this performance. Perhaps the greatest compliment paid to him on the day was when the Glory’s pet Rottweiler, Jacob Burns was put on him at the beginning of the second half, a challenge he took in his stride.
David Williams again took my eye. He had many opportunities to cross and/or shoot that he fluffed in the first 60 minutes. Yet he plays with such energy and commitment that it always feels that he may well do something special at any moment. In the final part of the game he came into his own, putting in two exquisite crosses from the left to an unmarked Fred who failed to convert both times.
Towards the end Perth came close, with Bolton saving Heart’s hide with two splendid saves. But in the end Heart’s domination of the second half resulted in the deserved game breaker at the death, scored by a young man whose joy seemed to light up the Bubbledome.
A couple of whinges: Heart’s crowd was pathetic. It’s a good club with seemingly good values and a decent list that plays an attractive if erratic brand of football, coached by the man (the right Aloisi!) whose name should forever trigger delight in the Hearts of Australian football supporters. How about turning up to support them then?
And Nick Kalmar, if you ever again dive like you did in the 83rd minute to try and get a penalty, then I will personally arrange for you to be carted off to NIDA where they will teach you to act properly. Bah!

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