Melbourne Heart 1 Wellington Phoenix 1
Melbourne Heart took on a Wellington Phoenix side depleted by international calls at AAMI Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The match ended all square after Heart scored an exquisite goal in the first half and the undermanned Phoenix equalised just after the break from the penalty spot.
The home team dominated the early exchanges but the visitors also settled well and tested Clint Bolton from a corner kick, then almost took the lead in the 15th minute, when Matt Thompson was short with a pass-back, but Bolton sprinted off his line to save the day. Thompson is a fan favourite and they lifted the midfielder by chanting his name. Within a few minutes he went from potential villain to local hero with the opening goal for Heart.
Aziz Behich knocked the ball past Paul Ifill deep in his own half and set off on a run down the left wing which tested the hamstrings. It ended with a good cross into the centre of the penalty area. Fred controlled it and laid the ball back to Thompson who had followed up at speed and he drove the ball over debutant keeper Jacob Spoonley for the Heart’s goal in the 20th minute.
Michael Boxall was booked for a nasty foul on Josip Tadic three minutes later but Thompson fired the ball over the bar. Manny Muscat had a chance for the Phoenix only to shoot wide from a cutback by Vince Lia. Patrick Gerhardt found Heart skipper Fred in space but Spoonley came off his line and grabbed the ball as Fred tried to take it round him in 39 minutes. Next Fred chipped the ball over the keeper and just past the post and Richard Garcia ended the first half with a header at the back post which bounced down and then up and over the bar.
Phoenix got on terms two minutes into the second half from the penalty spot. The kick came after an incident which transformed the match as a Phoenix corner kick by Luke Rowe was driven goalwards by Alex Smith. Simon Colosimo scooped the ball over the bar from right on the line, and referee Kris Griffith-Jones sent off the Heart skipper and awarded the spot kick. Paul Ifill sent Clint Bolton the wrong way with a firmly struck effort.
Heart had to reorganise and David Vrankovic replaced Josip Tadic, that is a defender for an attacker as coach John Aloisi tried to stem the momentum which had swung clearly in favour of the visitors. Heart conceded a number of corner-kicks with desperate blocks and deflections but Phoenix could not capitalise on any of the subsequent chances. Paul Ifill tried to chip Bolton but the big keeper got back to collect the ball just under his crossbar. As heart began to recover control Aziz Behich had another good run after breaking up an attack, but the final shot ended in the side=netting. Michael Marrone blazed wide from a good position and a pass by Fred. Heart finished the stronger, despite playing with ten men for nearly all the second half, but the one-all result was fair to both teams.
John Aloisi felt that Heart should have decided the game in the first half with the number of chances created. In the second he thought that the Heart players regained control after a period following the penalty and sending off when the visitors were in the ascendant. Though reluctant to praise individuals he thought that Aziz Behich should be a candidate to fill the troublesome left back position in the Socceroos line-up before too long.
Christ Greenacres, standing in for Ricky Herbert, and with the benefit of a hook up with the senior coach, was pleased the way his players overcame a somewhat sloppy start to play a very strong game, especially early in the second half. The experience for the youngsters who came in will be invaluable and while Phoenix remains upset about the game not being postponed because of the international calls, he pointed out that their return next week would be a huge boost to a team which has started the season well with a victory and an away draw.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
Melbourne Heart 1 (Matt Thompson 20’) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Paul Ifill 48’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Local kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant referees: Luke Brennan and Jonathan Barriero
Fourth official: Alex Azcurra
1. Clint Bolton, 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matt Thompson, 9. Dylan McAllister (22. Nick Kalmar 82’), 10. Josip Tadic (18 David Vrankovic 49’), 11. Richard Garcia, 16. Aziz Behich, 23. Mate Dugandzic.
Unused substitutes: 20. Andrew Redmayne, 17. Jason Hoffman
Yellow cards: Fred 43’, Dylan McAllister 67’
Red card: Simon Colosimo 47’.
39 Jacob Spoonley, 2 Manny Muscat, 5 Michael Boxall, 6 Alex Smith, 8 Paul Ifill, 10. Stein Huygesgems, 16 Louis Fenton, 17 Vince Lia, 22 Andrew Durante, 29 Luke Rowe, 31 Thomas Biss (12 Tyler Boyd 31’),
Unused substitutes: 28. Ricardo Clarke, 30. Scott Basalaj, 32. James Downey.
Yellow cards: Michael Boxall 23’, Alex Smith 70’, Manny Muscat 84’.
Red cards: Nil.