Melbourne Heart FC defeat Oakleigh in pre-season hit-out


A David Vrankovic strike gave Melbourne Heart FC a 1-0 win over Oakleigh Cannnons.

A David Vrankovic strike gave Melbourne Heart FC a 1-0 win over Victorian Premier League outfit Oakleigh Cannnons at Kingston Heath on Wednesday evening in the Club-s latest pre-season hit-out.

In a close affair of limited clear-cut chances, Vrankovic-s 75th minute header from a corner proved the difference on the night.

Melbourne Heart maintained the majority of possession against an Oakleigh outfit happy to sit 10 men behind the ball for long periods of play.

There were a number of positives for Head Coach John Aloisi, with the hit out representing Jonatan Germano-s first pre-season match, while Benjamin Garuccio appeared in the second half for the first time since returning from Young Socceroos duties.

Aloisi commenced with a backline led by Patrick Gerhardt and David Vrankovic, while Jason Hoffman continued in right back and Aziz Behich at left back, while Tando Velaphi enjoyed 90 minutes with the gloves.

Across the midfield, Melbourne Heart employed Germano alongside Massimo Murdocca and Harry Kewell, who wore the armband after Wednesday-s captaincy announcement.

The front three included Mate Dugandzic, Dylan Macallister and Iain Ramsay which gave the side speed down the flanks.

However, it was Oakleigh who carved the first real chance of the match in the seventh minute, as Dusan Bosnjak struck a free kick on target which required the finger-tips of Velaphi in goal to guide it out for a corner.

Melbourne Heart created a number of half-chances as Kewell-s clever ball to Dugandzic in the 14th minute produced the team-s first shot, while a dangerous ball from Kewell six minutes later nearly found Dugandzic in the box.

Murdocca and Gerhardt had further chances following two Melbourne Heart corners, but couldn-t find the target.

Ramsay had Heart-s best chance on the half hour mark after a great ball from Murdocca released Dugandzic down the right and the later turned in a dangerous cross, only for Ramsay-s effort to be blocked.

Melbourne Heart continued to maintain possession, but a powerful shot from Gerhardt nearing the break, which flew high and wide, summed up the side-s potency in the first period.

Aloisi made three changes at the break, substituting Hoffman, Macallister and Germano and sending on Jeremy Walker and trailists Brent McGrath and Ross Archibald for the second 45 minutes.

The deadlock was nearly broken on the hour mark after a great effort from Behich looked destined for goal, but Griffin McMaster in the Cannons- goal tipped his low effort around the post.

The breakthrough came following a corner from the right in the 75th minute which Vrankovic steered home.

McGrath almost made an impact with nine minutes left as he latched onto a sublime ball from Kewell, but his strong strike was tipped over by McMaster.

Head Coach John Aloisi said the performance had been pleasing.

“They tried to be patient and wait for the right time to go forward and we ended up doing that a little bit more,” Aloisi said.

“I was happy that there were no injuries, first of all, and 90 minutes in quite a few players which is a real positive for us.”

Melbourne Heart travels to Perth next Tuesday to take on Perth Glory on Wednesday 11 September in the team-s next hit out.