Heavens pour down as Heart can’t break drought

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In what was Heart’s second game in their three match week, they hosted the in-form Newcastle Jets in Victoria’s flash flood conditions. Heart had come from an unlucky 3-0 loss to Gold Coast United after performing well, but not being able to contain a rampant United in the second half.

Melbourne were facing a side that had not lost for over a month, and as it turned out the game went to form with the Jets stealing the match 2-0, Heart unable to break their 500+ minutes played without scoring a goal.

Starting off quietly, with both teams attempting to get a feel for the game, the match exploded into action in the 7th minute with Jobe Wheelhouse receiving his marching orders for ‘palming’ (ie man-slapping) Aziz Behich in the face following an exchange of some tough tackling, including one after the whistle.

Although initially shocked, The Jets managed to re-group beyond anyone’s expectations, scoring twice within the next eleven minutes.

Francis Jeffers nabbed Newcastle’s first of the match and his first A-League goal following a poor Clint Bolton punch off a Jets corner in the 12th minute. Jeffers collected just inside the box, jinking and jerking until he got a site on goal before despatching the ball into the net via about seven deflections.

The damage got worse for the Heart just six minutes later when Jeffers played a superb ball behind Melbourne’s defence for Marko Jesic to collect. Bolton, left stranded by his backline, rushed out to the top of the box allowing the Jets forward to curl a shot around him and inside the near post.

Just like on Wednesday night, Heart were not without their chances, and both Nick Kalmar and Adrian Zahra will have trouble sleeping after spurning golden opportunities before half time.

Coming out after the break, the play was all Heart with constant pressuring of the Jets goal and numerous shot taken by a variety of players. Their toil should possibly have been rewarded in the 67th minute when first half substitute Jason Hoffman was brought down in the box by a Ljubo Miličević shoulder but the 50-50 decision went the way of Newcastle.

The entire half the Jets were simply holding on, trapped in their own third copping a barrage of shots from the Heart who were using their man advantage to continue flowing forward. In the end the extremely organised defence of Newcastle managed to do enough, confidently keeping the Heart at bay and reducing them to long range efforts.

The Jets are now looking good for the season, are on a six match unbeaten run and surely feel the sky is the limit. Melbourne on the other hand must be feeling frustrated; they play good football but just cannot get the results at the moment (very reminiscent of the Jets earlier in the season). As long as they don’t give up and keep to their philosophy, they will turn a corner and are still very much in the finals race. The return of Kristian Sarkies is also a positive.

Goals:
Francis JEFFERS ’12
Marko JESIC ’19

Yellow Cards:
Ruben ZADKOVICH ’41
Francis JEFFERS ’62

Red Cards:
Jobe WHEELHOUSE ‘8

Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Brendan HAMILL (Jason HOFFMAN ’45), 4. Simon COLOSIMO (c), 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP (Kristian SARKIES ’45), 6. Matt THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 9. Gerald SIBON, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 22. Nick KALMAR, 25. Adrian ZAHRA

Newcastle Jets: 40. Matthew Nash (gk), 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC (c), 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 18. Marko JESIC (Marcello FIORENTINI ’87), 19. Ali ABASS, 24. Francis JEFFERS (Labinot HALITI ’69)

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Christian Layland
The Media Manager at Western Sydney Wanderers for four seasons and the Melbourne Victory W-League team for two, Christian is co-founder and Chief of Staff of The Football Sack and currently coaches at Wanderers Academy.