Melbourne Heart have recorded their first A-League win, defeating North Queensland Fury 1-0 at AAMI Park. Nick Kalmar's first-half header was the difference as both sides spurned chances throughout the contest with Heart coming out on top to get maximum points for the first time in five matches since entering the A-League this season.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Crowd: 4,184 Referee: Gerard Parsons Yellow cards:MH - Alex Terra 41', Wayne Srhoj 66' NQF - nil
The rain was falling in Melbourne as the contest kicked off and the Fury made their intentions clear from the outset with an early chance falling to Isaka Cernak who forced Clint Bolton into a great save.
They should have gone ahead moments later when David Williams played in Eugene Sseppuya but the Ugandan striker somehow managed to completely miss-kick the ball when one-on-one with Bolton in what was a huge let off for the home side.
GOAL Against the run of play, the Heart hit the front in the 11th minute when Rutger Worm played a short corner to Alex Terra who played it back for Worm and the Dutchman chipped a pinpoint cross to the backpost for an unmarked Nick Kalmar to power home a header. It was the 22-year old midfielder's second A-League goal in two games.
North Queensland were looking dangerous and it seemed it was only a matter of time until the scored. They should have done in the 28th minute when Cernak missed an open goal after Bolton had left his line to force a through ball away from danger.
The conditions didn't seem to affect the standard too much as the rain began to teem down towards the end of the opening 45 minutes but the score did not alter as the Heart took a narrow lead into the break.
August's Young Player of the Month Chris Payne entered the fray for Fury after half-time as Franz Straka searched for some cohesion in the forward third but the tempo of the contest begun to slow right down.
Heart boss John van 't Schip tried to spark up proceedings by bringing on Aziz Behich for Worm but it was Fury's second-game defender Brad McDonald who tried to make things happen just on the hour-mark when he played a superb first-time cross to his captain Gareth Edds but the volley from the midfielder from pointblank range was brilliantly saved by Bolton.
Melbourne then struck back hard, indicating they desperately wanted a second, when Terra's shot was saved by Pasfield and then Behich controlled well outside the area but the shot whistled above the crossbar.
The Fury were coming as they toiled hard for an equaliser but the 70th minute introduction of John Aloisi for his Heart debut got the home fans back on their feet and he almost scored in the 90th minute but Pasfield made another quality save. Aloisi's side were able to snub out any North Queensland advances in the final 20 minutes and finally notch up their first win in the A-League.
It was also a very pleasing result for Heart's Dutch striker Gerald Sibon who has been dealing with a serious family health issue for the last few weeks and has been courageous in playing for his club.
MH Clint Bolton (gk), Michael Marrone, Brendan Hamill, Simon Colosimo, Matt Thompson, Rutger Worm (Behich 58'), Gerald Sibon, Wayne Srhoj, Alex Terra (Babalj 81'), Nick Kalmar, Dean Heffernan (Aloisi 70')
Subs - Peter Zois (gk), John Aloisi (70'), Eli Babalj (81'), Aziz Behich (58')
NQFJustin Pasfield (gk), Brad McDonald, Eric Akoto, Mark Hughes, Gareth Edds, Eugene Sseppuya (Payne 46'), Dyron Daal (Hingert 80'), David Williams, Simon Storey, Osama Malik, Isaka Cernak (Talay 63')
Subs - Jerrad Tyson (gk), Jack Hingert (80'), Ufuk Talay (63'), Chris Payne (46')