A ten-man Melbourne Heart FC has been held to a 1-1 draw against visiting Wellington Phoenix this afternoon at AAMI Park.
Melbourne Heart FC settled for a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix in its first home match of the season this afternoon, in front of a bumper crowd of close to 11,000 at AAMI Park.
Heart Head Coach John Aloisi drew plenty of positives from the match, which attracted 10 907, despite being disappointed his side had not clinched all three points.
David Williams, who impressed against Melbourne Victory last week, was a late withdrawal through a bout of gastro, handing striker Josip Tadic his first start in Red and White.
And it was Tadic who created the first opening just two minutes in when he was brought down just outside the penalty area.
Richard Garcia flashed the resultant free-kick over the cross bar as Heart looked to impose itself on the match early.
But the opener came from a much more fluent and direct move in the 20th minute as Phoenix- s Paul Ifill coughed up possession to Aziz Behich who utilised his pace to unlock the visitors down the left flank.
Behich sprinted the length of the pitch before cutting the ball to Fred in the box and Heart-s captain turned on a tight angle to tee up Matthew Thompson who drove an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Heart was dealt a double blow early in the second period as Simon Colosimo was dismissed for handball, tipping Alexander Smith-s goal-bound effort over the bar with an outstretched arm.
Ifill tucked away the resulting penalty to draw the sides level and Heart restructured to account for the loss of Colosimo.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Heart held its own in the second period and created some excellent openings, including a Dylan Macallister’s effort which was cleared off the line, encouraging Aloisi.
“I thought the last 30 minutes we controlled the game ten versus 11,” Alosi said.
“Credit to the players; you can see how confident they are how fit they are and we probably could have snatched it.
“The boys ended up doing what was asked of them and more, so I-m not disappointed in the performance.
“The way the team responded I couldn-t have been more happy and the way we were moving the ball around, it looked like we had a man more.
“I know we-re going to get better. We-re going to get stronger and stronger.”
Heart, who remains unbeaten with four points from its opening two matches, travel to Perth to take on Glory next Sunday in round three.
Sunday 14 October
Melbourne Heart 1 (Thompson 20′) – Wellington Phoenix 1 (Ifill [PEN] 48′)
Attendance: 10 907