Ten man Gold Coast hold Heart

Melbourne Heart Youth have failed to make 10-man Gold Coast United Youth pay in their 2-2 draw at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.

Melbourne Heart Youth have failed to make 10-man Gold Coast United Youth pay in their 2-2 draw at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.

The Heart went up 2-1 midway through the first half and were aided by the referee’s decision to send Chris Lucas from the field for a lunge on Josh Groenewald soon after.

Craig Goodwin opened the scoring for the hosts with a fine finish after a sublime solo run in the sixth minute but Gold Coast were back on level terms 15 minutes later through Daniel Severino.

Adrian Zahra controversially put Heart back into the lead when he swept home Goodwin’s square ball with the ball appearing to slip through the netting after going in.

But despite playing with an extra man for over 50 minutes, it was Gold Coast who almost snatched the game.

Jake Barker-Daish missed a penalty for United and the visitors carved out two other one-on-ones before Bobby Russell equalised in the 77th minute.

The Heart were looking to return to winning ways after slipping out of the top four at the expense of Brisbane Roar who romped to a 5-1 win in the sides’ clash last weekend.

Goodwin’s marauding run set up the opener for Heart within six minutes with what was a wonderful goal. The lively winger skipped past a couple of defenders out on the left before lashing a powerful left-foot shot past the helpless keeper.

That seemed to galvanise Gold Coast who almost levelled through Barker-Daish inside ten minutes. After dispossessing Zahra he received the ball back after a daring run with only the post denying his cushioned shot.

United continued to hunt for an equaliser and found it through Severino just moments before the players took a pause for the searing heat.

His goal in the 21st minute didn’t last long though. Controversy ensued after Zahra appeared to put the hosts back in front with a neat tuck away from Goodwin’s teasing cross.

Zahra was adamant he had scored but the ball appeared to creep under the netting after going in, prompting the officials to confer. That they did, and the goal was finally awarded in the 27th minute.

The visitors weren’t out of it but when Chris Lucas was shown a straight red for a lunge on Groenewald just before the 40-minute mark, they faced an uphill battle.

The Heart won a succession of free-kicks with some tidy passing in the final third late on in the half and made life difficult for the keeper.

After the break it was Gold Coast who surprisingly took the initiative.

And when Kristian Konstantinidis felled Mitch Cooper, the visitors had a penalty.

Barker Daish stepped up but saw his driving shot well saved by Nikola Roganovic in the Heart goal.

Melbourne were holding on at stages in the second half, Brodie Patterson struck a rare effort for the home side but the keeper had no troubles.

Barker Daish split the Heart defence to play Cooper through with a glorious chance but he was thwarted by Roganovic once more.

United soon drew level and it was no less than they deserved. Konstantinidis turned villain again, with his meek clearance falling straight to the grateful Russell who made no mistake from close range.

Melbourne Heart: 2 (Goodwin 6, Zahra 27)
Gold Coast United: 2 (Severino 21, Russell 77)