Glory put the latest dagger through Heart

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Shane Smeltz scored a late brace on his return from injury to help Perth Glory to a 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart at NIB Stadium.

The Glory had to wait until the second half to open the scoring through Adrian Zahra, and in truth, the result suggested there was more between the two sides than we saw on the field.

The bulk of the 9045 in attendance won’t care about that though as they move into the top six at least temporarily as the Heart, who had Dylan Macallister sent off for two yellow cards just 11 minutes after coming on as a substitute, extended their winless record to 19 games.

The first half saw both sides take the upper hand at different stages, with Sidnei Sciola and Chris Harold testing Andrew Redmayne in the Heart goal and Iain Ramsay striking the crossbar at the other end.

Adrian Zahra, who spent some time off the field with a head injury early on, broke the deadlock after 64 minutes when he cut in from the left, beat two defenders and fired past Redmayne into the bottom corner.

While Macallister’s red card was a blow for the visitors in the 81st minute, they should have drawn level just minutes later as Mate Dugandzic raced through on goal but his effort went wide of Danny Vukovic’s left post.

Smeltz, himself a substitute, shrugged off a defender to race onto Matthew Davies’ ball over the top and fire past Redmayne for his first goal of the season on 86 minutes.

The league’s all-time record goalscorer was at it again before full time as he pounced on a loose ball in the area to score.

Glory interim boss Kenny Lowe was understandably delighted to back up last week’s 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets with another positive result.

“Three clean sheets out of four, we shouldn’t have got done at Central Coast, I think the guys in the changing room have done well the last four games,” Lowe said.

“I think, obviously, the sending off changed the context of the game but at the end of the day you’ve still got to win the game with ten men, eleven men, whatever it is.

“I just thought our work ethic, our endeavour, our desire to win the second ball, our desire to play, it was really good.”

Even though Smeltz showed his goalscoring touch after coming on in the 75th minute, Lowe says that he will have to wait awhile before getting a start.

“One went in off his shin, one went in off his knee,” Lowe quipped before adding that the Kiwi had been keen to play for three weeks.

“We’ve got to drip feed him in,” he said. “The worst thing is he’s banged two in and he’ll be coming in the morning telling me he can play a whole game against Brisbane.”

Adrian Zahra, who netted against his former club, is a player who is revelling after being given a run in the side under the new coach.

“He was good tonight, wasn’t he?” said Lowe.

“The big thing is Adrian hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing so the rest of the other teams haven’t got a clue what he’s going to do so that’s wonderful isn’t it?

“When he sticks them in like that though he can do whatever he wants for the next 85.”
News broke during the game surrounding Japanese import Ryo Nagai, who badly injured his hamstring in the home game against Adelaide United before Christmas.

The Glory have chosen not to renew his loan deal and he will return to Cerezo Osaka today.

“Ryo’s got a hamstring injury, unfortunately he’s going to be out for a while,” said Lowe.

“We probably need all hands on board; we’ve got a very thin squad and can’t really wait five or six weeks for someone.”

Lowe went on to suggest that the Glory will explore the option of bringing in another player to fill the gap with the squad stretched thin due to injuries and international duty. “

We’re always looking; if stand still you get run over. We need to strengthen the squad.”

When asked about his own future, Lowe commented that he enjoying the head coaching role but any long term decision is out of his hands.

“I’m an engineer by trade, I enjoy that line of work, but I’m not in a particular rush to get back there,” he said.

Over the next three weeks, Glory face Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory at home as well as the Western Sydney Wanderers away so last night’s win will give them the confidence that they are going to need.

Heart have their own temporary coach in John van ‘t Schip and the Dutchman was keen to stretch that the scoreline didn’t fairly reflect the game.

“With the send-off you know that off course it’s going to be difficult,” he said

“And then I think we got the biggest chance of the game with Mate Dugandzic going one-on-one with Vukovic and he didn’t score, and immediately after they scored the 2-0 (goal).”

Harry Kewell was actually one of Heart’s better players on what was an eventful night for the former Socceroo.

As well as being subjected to some strong challenges, he was booked for deliberate handball in the first half, and was saved another yellow card by the fourth official who pulled him back by the jersey after he re-entered the field of play without permission.

“Harry first of all got two kicks, shin and calf, and he was tired,” said van ‘t Schip.

“He played 90 minutes last week, it was a short turnover, heavy trip so I thought he was empty and we needed to replace him for a fresh player.”

“Maybe he should have been protected also, that the referee gives a yellow card to the player that kicks him from behind and that didn’t happen.”

Van ‘t Schip confirmed that the club aren’t looking to bring in any players at the moment with a full roster and Orlando Engelaar and Jonatan Germano set to return from injury.

Next up for Heart is a home game against the Jets, and anything other than a win will see them take the record for most games without a victory.

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 2. Jack CLISBY, 7. Jacob BURNS, 11. Adrian ZAHRA, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 15. Isaka CERNAK, 16. Sidnei Sciola MORAES, 17. Chris HAROLD, 23. Michael THWAITE, 24. Matthew DAVIES, 25. Riley WOODCOCK. Subs: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 6. Cameron EDWARDS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 19. Joshua RISDON, 39. Luke RADONICH.

Melbourne Heart: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE, 3. Robbie WIELART, 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 10. Harry KEWELL, 11. Michael MIFSUD, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 22. Nicholas KALMAR, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC. Subs: 9. Dylan MACALLISTER, 15. David WILLIAMS, 20. Tando VELAPHI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 25. Andrea MIGLIORINI.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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