Perth Glory romped to a fantastic 3-0 victory over a ten man Melbourne Heart with Shane Smeltz scoring a brilliant double as he came off the bench in his return for injury.
The New Zealand international showed his quality by scoring two goals in the space of four minutes just after Melbourne Heart saw themselves reduced to ten men following Dylan MacAllister’s second yellow card.
Interim Head Coach Kenny Lowe was quick to praise Smeltz’s return but insisted everyone has to be patient in his recovery.
“He’s been at me for about three weeks to play but for those three weeks he’s been hobbling around like a 94 year old. Not only did he come on and score two goals but his hard-work and endeavour was great. At any club, a goal-scorer is just as important as Danny Vukovic but he won’t be treated any differently to anyone else at the club. If his goals dry up then he simply won’t play but obviously he’s done so well for us tonight.”
Smeltz’s introduction was not until the 74th minute however and Glory still showed an attacking threat before he came off the bench with Sidnei Sciola proving to be a threat to the Heart defence.
The cultured Brazilian shaped a strike from long-range with some decent power but Melbourne Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne comfortably dealt with the effort.
Sidnei then had another strike only minutes later as he shot from a tight angle with the ball being drilled just wide of the far-post.
The Heart started to come into the game after that however and Iain Ramsay smacked the crossbar from long-range after some neat build-up play from the away side.
The men in purple responded quickly however with Adrian Zahra and Steven McGarry both seeing header’s close to opening the scoring just before the end of the first half.
Half-time – Perth Glory 0-0 Melbourne Heart
The second-half started brightly for the Heart and Glory had to depend on the ever reliable Danny Vukovic to keep the game scoreless.
Ramsay was the away side’s threat once more and his curling effort was superbly tipped over the bar by Vukovic which showed the quality and agility of the Glory No. 1.
There was hardly time to catch your breath as Chris Harold then went inches away from giving the Perth side the opening goal as his long-range stinger went inches wide of the top corner.
The men in purple continued their strikes from long-range as McGarry’s effort was tipped wide by Redmayne as Glory cranked up the pressure.
That pressure exploded in the 64th minute as Adrian Zahra opened the scoring to give the Perth side a well deserved lead.
The youngster cut in from the left-hand side of the pitch and strode into the box as he took his opportunity to bury the ball home and send the Glory faithful into raptures.
The 74th minute saw the return of Shane Smeltz but not even the most optimistic of fans in the nib stadium would have predicted his impact.
There was an unsavoury incident before the marquee striker’s first goal as Melbourne Heart were reduced to ten men as substitute Dylan MacAllister was sent-off after receiving his second caution in the space of six minutes.
Then the Smeltz show begun! His sheer effort and tenacity resulted in his first goal as the New Zealander harried the Heart defence and forced them into an error which gave Smeltz the opportunity to slot the ball home and he did so with great composure.
The Glory fans hardly had time to celebrate as Smeltz scored his second in quick succession after Redmayne uncomfortably dealt with a cross from the right-hand side and the star striker was there to give the Perth side a fantastic result and a well-deserved victory.
Hyundai A-League 2013-2014 Season – Week 14
Perth Glory 3-0 Melbourne Heart (11. Adrian ZAHRA 64’, 9. Shane SMELTZ 85’, 89’)
Friday 10th January
Referee: Peter Green
Perth Glory: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jack CLISBY, 7. Jacob BURNS, 11. Adrian ZAHRA, 14.Steven McGARRY, 15. Isaka CERNAK (9. Shane SMELTZ 74’), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES, 17. Chris HAROLD (6.Cameron EDWARDS 84’), 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Matthew DAVIES, 25. Riley WOODCOCK,
Subs not used: 39. Luke RADONICH (GK), 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 19. Josh RISDON
Bookings: 15. Isaka CERNAK (30’),
Melbourne Heart FC: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 6.Patrick GERHARDT, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA,10.Harry KEWELL (C) (9.Dylan MACALLISTER 70’), 11.Michael MIFSUD (15.David WILLIAMS 55’), 16.Aziz BEHICH, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 22.Nick KALMAR, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC,
Subs not used: 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Andrea MIGLIORINI
Bookings: 10.Harry KEWELL (C) (43’), 9.Dylan MACALLISTER (75’, 81’), 7.Iain RAMSAY (90’), 6.Patrick GERHARDT (90’)
Sending-offs: .Dylan MACALLISTER (81’)