Melbourne Heart break winless streak

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Melbourne Heart have put aside a lacklustre start to brush aside an uninspiring Newcastle Jets outfit 3-0 with goals to Fred, Dugandzic and Behich.

The match seemed destined for a draw but was turned thanks to some magic from Fred who scored his first goal for his new club and in doing so broke the club’s record winless streak of eleven games.

Aziz Behich gave the Jets an early scare screwing a shot across the face of goal, just out of reach of Newcastle custodian Ben Kennedy. Unfortunately for the Heart fans behind the goal, the ball floated just outside the far post as well.

The Heart by all rights should have had the lead in the 9th minute after Jason Hoffman had his shot tipped away by Kennedy. The chance was unwillingly created by Nikolai Topor Stanley who gifted possession to Alex Terra, feeding Fred who in turn layed-off for Hoffman.

The glut of chances for Melbourne continued with Hoffman again having a clear opportunity to shoot on goal following a failed clearance by Newcastle. Once again the shot drifted wide of the far post.

Following the fast start the game fell into a lull, which has been a feature of the homes side’s Hyundai A-League fixtures this season, with Heart’s insistence on toying with long balls to the detriment of the match as a spectacle. The only hint of action coming from the occasional run by Fred that continued to go unnoticed by teammates.

Approaching half time, after the Novocastrians were denied a penalty for what looked like a tug on Jeffers, Terra’s pace created a chance for Heart on the counter-attack; teeing up Hoffman once again who followed the theme of the match and blasted the ball over the bar from a good position.

The second half started just how the first had played out, with Hoffman once again in the thick of it. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he turned, jinked and created space before unleashing a low and powerful shot, that although went straight to Kennedy, needed the ‘keepers full concentration to stop it from hitting the back of the net.

In the 57th minute there was finally some real action to write home about as Mate Dugandzic, the creator of almost everything Heart has had to offer both this match and the season so far, placed a brilliant curling shot that was destined for the corner of the goal until Kennedy provided a truly superb diving save to deny the former Victory man.

The momentum was slowing turning Hearts way with the Jets simply not creating chances nor keeping possession and the pressure finally payed off for Melbourne with Fred slamming home a goal he himself created.

The tricky Brasilian started the play with an impressive run down the right wing before cutting inside and passing the ball to the feet of Eli Babalj deep in the box. Babalj used both strength and skill to hold off multiple defenders and then feeding Fred who arrived late to slot his first goal for his new side.

The match then well and truly shifted Melbourne’s way when an idiotic back pass from Tarek Elrich found a waiting Mate Dugandzic who calmly slotted past a stranded Kennedy.

Behich put the icing on the cake in the 85th minute with a delightful curling shot from the edge of the box which left Kennedy with no chance.

The Heart, content with their three goal buffer, comfortably saw out the rest of the match to claim their first win of the season and their first ever home goals against the Jets.

The win lifts them from the bottom of the ladder and provides them with a much needed boost of confidence which they will be hoping to take into next weeks match against Gold Coast United, whom they just overtook in the standings.

Jets meanwhile will need to search for answers as their performance left much to be desired.

Melbourne Heart: 1 Clint BOLTON, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 Brendan HAMILL, 5 FRED (13 Jonatan GERMANO ’82), 6 Matt THOMPSON, 9 MAYCON (19 Eli BABALJ ‘55), 10 Wayne SRHOJ, 11 Alex TERRA(25 Adrian MADASCHI ’71), 16 Aziz BEHICH, 17 Jason HOFFMAN, 23 Mate DUGANDZIC

Newcastle Jets: 1 Ben KENNEDY, 2 Taylor REGAN (5 Tiago CALVANO ‘67), 4 Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 7 Kasey WEHRMAN (6 Ben KANTAROVSKI ’80), 8 Jeremy BROCKIE, 11 Tarek ALRICH, 12 Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13 Sung-Hwan BYUN, 22 Ali ABBAS, 23 Ryan GRIFFITHS, 24 Francis JEFFERS (14 Labinot HALITA ’64)

Goals: FRED ‘65, Mate DUGANDZIC ’74, Aziz BEHICH ‘84

Cards: Kasey WEHRMAN ’50, Eli BABALJ ’75, Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY ’76, Wayne SRHOJ ‘80

Crowd: 5194

Player of the Year:
3: Aziz Behich
2: Fred
1: Mate Dugandzic

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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.
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