First half-strikes from Golgol Mebrahtu and Dylan Macallister helped Heart to a 2-0 victory over a Peninsula XI on Sunday.
Goals to new recruits Golgol Mebrahtu and Dylan Macallister helped an experimental Melbourne Heart side to a 2-0 victory over a Peninsula XI in Langwarrin on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach John Aloisi elected to give a number of triallists and youth players a chance, resting the majority of the senior players.
Clint Bolton made his awaited return from injury and lined up in goals for the first half, before making way for gloveman Nick Munro in the second.
Aloisi admitted it was a difficult hit-out and hinted there’s still improvement needed from some players.
“The positive thing is that we got 90 minutes into some boys that needed it,” Aloisi said.
Heart started the game strongly and controlled possession from the outset. The first real chance of the game fell to Jason Hoffman who burst into the area but dragged his shot wide of the post.
The Peninsula youngsters were keen to make a mark against their A-League opposition and were working tirelessly in the opening period to shut out Heart.
But on 26 minutes the breakthrough came when Golgol Mebrahtu scored a fantastic free-kick after Jason Hoffman was brought down about 25 yards out.
Ten minutes later Nick Kalmar tried his luck from long range with a brilliant curling effort which was matched by a fantastic save from Peninsula goalkeeper Michael Chivotti.
But only minutes later a poor error from the goalkeeper gifted Heart possession and he was punished as Macallister continued his great pre-season form with a ninth goal.
The second half was a much more even contest with Heart electing to play with 10-men, before going to nine men towards the end after Josh Groenwald and Josip Konyit picked up knocks.
Hoffman and Macallister had further chances but failed to convert, with the match eventually ending 2-0 to Heart.
Event organiser and Mount Eliza Junior Soccer Club President Pete Mcloughlin was extremely pleased with how the day went and the engagement by Melbourne Heart with Langwarrin Soccer Club.
“It was a fantastic day. We’re really proud of the efforts by Melbourne Heart of coming down here and interacting with the kids. We can’t praise them well enough,” Mcloughlin said.
“We’re a new club in our fourth year and we’re 100 per cent Melbourne Heart. The players today have been fantastic with the interaction with the kids and we’re very pleased.”
Melbourne Heart’s next and final pre-season game is this Saturday September 22 against Perth Glory at Epping Stadium with a proposed 1pm kick-off.