Melbourne Heart has recorded a 2-1 victory against Central Coast Mariners in Sunday’s entertaining National Youth League clash at John Cain Memorial Park.
Melbourne Heart has recorded a 2-1 victory against Central Coast Mariners in Sunday-s entertaining National Youth League clash at John Cain Memorial Park.
Goals to Stipo Adrijasevic and substitute Zac Walker ensured Heart remained unbeaten at home against a competitive Mariners outfit.
The Heart lifted their intensity in the second half, after a stagnant opening period that failed to yield a goal.
The win means the Heart displace the Mariners from second position on the National Youth League table, although the top four positions could be altered by Brisbane Roar’s clash with Perth Glory later on Sunday.
Central Coast took it to Melbourne on their home turf and had a number of chances to capitalise in the first half, but let golden opportunities go begging.
The prime example was when Mariners- striker Mitchell Duke found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat, but failed to get the ball into the net.
It took a long-range strike from Heart-s Brodie Patterson, that struck the crossbar, to create the confusion that was needed for Andraijasevic to head home the game-s opener in the 53rd minute.
Until then, both sides showed real grit and determination to stifle the opposition-s scoring chances.
Heart-s defence, in particular, were stoic led by Jeremy Walker and Josh Groenewald.
But the dynamic was changed, when Walker was forced to be substituted out of the game when he collided heavily with goal-keeper Nikola Roganovic, as they both attempted to clear the danger area in their own box.
Roganovic was also forced off the park with what looked to be a leg injury, while Walker seemed to suffer a head injury and possible slight concussion.
The Mariners sensed a chance for the equaliser and it came when Heart substitute Alon Blumgart brought down elusive Central Coast striker Kwabena Appiah-Kubi in the box in the 73rd minute.
Fellow striker Justin Hayward coolly slotted the penalty to tie the scores at 1-1, and take his tally to four goals for the season.
With both teams pressing to go ahead once again, it took some individual brilliance from Heart captain Dusan Bosnjak to break the deadlock.
Bosnjak made a darting run across the box, sidestepping at least five defenders in the process, before angling the ball back to Zac Walker who drove it home in the 86th minute.
The last few minutes were tense, as the Mariners sought desperately to find the equaliser, but the Heart hung on, much to the delight of their boisterous home crowd.
Melbourne Heart 2 (Andraijasevic 53, Walker 86)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Hayward 73p) John Cain Memorial Park