Heart Held By Resolute Gold Coast

Melbourne Heart FC has continued its unbeaten run at home after the side was held to a 0-0 draw by Gold Coast United at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Heart FC has continued its unbeaten run at home after the side was held to a 0-0 draw by Gold Coast United at AAMI Park.

Despite dominating possession, Heart was unable to break through for an eventual winner, as United defended resolutely to withstand the home side-s siege.

Head Coach John van ‘t Schip admitted he felt his side deserved more than a solitary point, particularly following a promising second half display where Heart-s passing game came to the fore.

“It was a difficult game, especially in the first half,” he said. “You could see that we have to get a little bit used to each other, and there were good parts. But it was also quite open. Gold Coast did it quite well by trying to press us high up and they achieved that a few times.

“We were very disciplined, we stayed in our organisation. I think the second half, we surely deserved more. We kept on pressing high, we played good football in some parts. I have to give a compliment to all the boys, and also of course those who came in and hadn-t played many games until now.

“I-m very happy with that. It-s also good to see the squad in total is growing and we get more depth with these types of players getting in.”

With the attacking trio of John Aloisi, Alex Terra and Gerald Sibon ruled out through injury and suspension, and defender Dean Heffernan a late withdrawal, Heart called upon its brigade of burgeoning talents, as Aziz Behich joined Nick Kalmar and Eli Babalj in the starting eleven.

While Babalj only recently returned from international duty in China, the Australian Institute of Sport graduate made a strong impression, regularly finding himself in dangerous territory as Heart made the early running.

Dominating the midfield battle, Josip Skoko dictated the tempo with metronomic consistency, pushing the ball across the park in an attempt to unlock a stubborn Gold Coast defence.

Although chances were seemingly fleeting throughout the opening period, Dutch import Rutger Worm went agonisingly close to granting Heart the lead, his curling effort only narrowly evading the far right corner of the goal.

Heart upped its intensity after the break, pressing forward in numbers, with Kalmar and Worm both going close through headed efforts.

However, the best chance of the match fell to Babalj, who managed to wriggle his way free of United-s stranglehold only to be denied by a stellar save from Kiwi international Glen Moss.