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A-League: Western Sydney Wanderers ride their luck to down Melbourne Heart

Melbourne Heart 0 Western Sydney Wanderers 1

Jeremy Walker of the Heart and Adam D'Apuzzo of the Wanderers contest the ball.

Jeremy Walker of the Heart and Adam D'Apuzzo of the Wanderers contest the ball. Photo: Getty Images

When your luck's out, nothing ever seems to go your way. When you are on a roll, everything falls in your favour. Thus it was that Melbourne Heart, despite a frantic finale and plenty of desperation, could not salvage anything from a typically resilient Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Tony Popovic's side was good enough to take one of a handful of chances that fell their way and then contain the hosts for over an hour to snare a win and the three points that takes them, at least temporarily, to the top of the A-League ladder.

That losing feeling: Aziz Behich of the Heart reacts after the final whistle.

That losing feeling: Aziz Behich of the Heart reacts after the final whistle. Photo: Getty Images

Heart are marooned at the foot of the table with just two points from their opening five games. It might be a bit early to talk of crunch matches, but next Friday night's home game against Sydney FC does look to have a critical air about it.

This game began in a fashion all too familiar to the hardy band of Heart faithful used to enduring periods of frustration with their side, who often begin games well before losing their way.

The hosts got off to a typically bright start with a rather different looking line-up, featuring debutant Paulo Retre in midfield in place of the injured Andrea Migliorini and Golgol Mebrahtu restored to the starting side wide on the right in place of Mate Dugandzic.

Maltese striker Michael Mifsud got involved right away, setting up Mebrahtu for a header that the striker put wide. The Eritrean-born forward then shot over after Massimo Murdocca won possession and fed the ball through, and it looked as though the bottom of the league Heart might be in the mood to embarrass the Wanderers.

But in equally typical fashion West Sydney began to impose the sort of stranglehold on this match that has been their stock in trade.

Strong and physically imposing, the visitors - who gave an A-League debut to their new signing, former Socceroo centre back Matthew Spiranovic - began to assert themselves.

It's not that they did so much with the ball in the opening period, but after that initial flurry they quickly stopped Heart from making anything of the possession they enjoyed, taking the sting out of the hosts before beginning to mount some threats of their own.

There was, therefore, a sense of inevitability about the way the game broke open in the 27th minute when Western Sydney took the lead.

Adam D'Apuzzo, the Wanderers left back, was left with too much time and space on the flank, Heart's defenders failed to cope with his cross, and Shannon Cole was able to fire in a shot that beat Andrew Redmayne. It might not have been all that they deserved at that stage, but it's the sort of thing that the Wanderers specialise in, squeezing the hopes of their opponent and then delivering a sucker punch.

In fact, the visitors should have doubled their advantage five minutes later when Spiranovic's header came back off the bar and Brendon Santalab somehow managed to miss from point-blank range.

Heart had threatened sporadically before the goal, Mifsud firing into the side netting from Iain Ramsay's pass, and again after, when a David Williams drive from outside the area struck the bar.

 

3 comments so far

  • It was a good football match for the first 45 minutes; then a very good football match for the next 25 minutes - and then a very VERY good football match for the remaining 20 odd minutes as both sides veered round the corner and headed down the straight for the finish line at break-neck speed in what, by comparison, made the Melbourne cup race look like a bunch of nags taking a collective of midgets on a leisurely recreational canter.
    This football match had excitement plus !
    Both sides could have won this football match.
    Johnny A. has finally got the Heart zinging along like a well-oiled sewing machine.
    What did you do in your final practice session before the match, Johnny ? Personally install turbo-charged pace-makers in the chest of each and every player ? Even Mifsud looked like he belonged - he looks to have grown in stature, and he showed some excellent touches.
    And no small wonder Heart played well - they have Hayden Foxe, ex-Blacktown City FC local boy ( and ex-other lesser clubs such as Ajax, Hamburg, West Ham and Pompey ) assisting Johnny A on the side-line.
    Melbourne Heart propping up the A-lg ladder ? On Friday night's showing, someone must be tugging on our collective leg !
    Anyone just recently arrived from planet Mars, and after duly parking their flying saucer in their driveway and tuning into the match on SBS would have been forgiven for thinking they were watching an engrossing table-toping football match - First vs. Second.
    Just as long as Heart can carry on this sort of form against Roar and Victory in the second round of the A-lg, and turn both sides over, Heart will have done A-lg football, and themselves, a big, big favour.

    Commenter
    Fair_Aussie_go_for_the _ONLY_One_TRUE_Football
    Location
    SBS TV match of the round .
    Date and time
    November 09, 2013, 4:52AM
    • Aaron Mooy, almost inconspicuously, played some excellent, quality football for WSW FC.
      'Man of the match' in my reckoning - sheer class.

      Commenter
      Fair_Aussie_go_for_the _ONLY_One_TRUE_Football
      Location
      Windsor
      Date and time
      November 09, 2013, 5:05AM
      • If Melbourne Heart stays on the bottom of the ladder, does this mean they will be in the B League next year?

        Commenter
        John Boxall
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        November 09, 2013, 8:10AM

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