Heart A-League win continues Glory woes

February 9, 2013
By Sam Lienert

Melbourne Heart piled more pressure on battling Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson as a brilliant Nick Kalmar free-kick helped deliver a 2-0 A-League win at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Kalmar's first-half strike was backed up by a second-half goal from returned striker Eli Babalj.

The Glory's loss kept them bottom of the table, with last season's grand finalists having lost four games straight, with no goals in that stretch, to extend their winless streak to eight. The Heart climbed into the top six.

Perth had plenty of chances.

Shane Smeltz had a great opportunity in the 19th minute after former Glory defender Jamie Coyne gave up the ball in the penalty area, but Smeltz couldn't get enough power on his left-footer to beat 'keeper Andrew Redmayne.

The Glory protested furiously two minutes later after Chris Harold's foot was clipped by Melbourne's Patrick Gerhardt as he was about to stream into an open penalty area, but no free-kick was awarded.

Perth's disappointment was soon magnified when Melbourne's Matt Thompson won a free kick, and Kalmar's wonderful shot, from close to 25m, curled over the wall and clipped the underside of the crossbar on the way past a helpless Danny Vukovic.

Vukovic managed to stop two bullet-like long-range shots from the Heart's David Williams later in the half.

In between, Perth's Travis Dodd miscued a close-range effort after nice set-up work from Harold.

Babalj, recently back from a stint in Serbia, scored 12 minutes into the second half, a straightforward finish after a Jonathan Germano shot rebounded off the right post.

Glory substitute Ryo Nagai tried to reply, but couldn't connect well enough with either of his back-to-back shots from inside the penalty area, both cleared away by defenders.

Perth's desperate calls for a handball by Gerhardt inside the penalty area midway through the second half went unanswered.