Vanuafoot > News > Vanuatu Overseas Player News > Heart pinch 1-0 win over Gold Coast

Heart pinch 1-0 win over Gold Coast

Instead his brave Gold Coast side lost 1-0 to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park to a late Eli Babalj goal.
Mining magnate Palmer appointed 17-year-old first-gamer Mitch Cooper as his captain, suspended his coach Miron Bleiberg, then rolled out a virtual youth team to take on the Heart – and few gave the bottom-placed club any chance.
Instead, Palmer and hastily-promoted assistant coach Mike Mulvey nearly had the last laugh after their side produced a disciplined and stoic defensive effort to frustrate the Heart for much of a dour contest.
While the Heart had much of the possession, they lacked a cutting edge and it took a 79th minute goal from substitute Babalj to win the match for the Heart and resuscitate their finals hopes.
If Gold Coast came into the match as a joke, the Heart were hopelessly unfunny throughout the first 45 minutes.
Their best chance was a 30th minute sitter fluffed by midfielder Fred when unmarked six metres out.
After a first half so bad people were looking for a cure rather than a refreshment during the halftime break, Gold Coast nearly brought the match to life following the resumption when Golgol Mebrahtu fresh-aired a good chance.
A Ben Halloran shot on 51 minutes needed Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton to be alert.
Then the Heart made changes, brought on midfielder Matt Thompson and Babalj and settled into a better rhythm.
Gold Coast defender Adama Traore cleared a Simon Colosimo header off the line on 65 minutes as frustration levels started to rise, before Babalj was the beneficiary of a rare Coast defensive error.
A ball lost in the back third was quickly shuffled forward by the Heart, with Babalj on hand from close-range to finish.
It was the Heart’s first win in nine games, and lifts them to fifth place.
Mulvey, renowned as one of Australia’s best development coaches having brought through some of Queensland’s best talent in recent years, was proud of his side’s courageous showing.
His aim was for the team to attempt to play the ball out from the back, and was pleased with the response of his young charges – most of whom play under him in the national youth league.
“It was a respectable performance. We’re not leaving with nothing, we’re leaving with a lot,” Mulvey said.
“We’ve got some performances out of players that will stand them in good stead for the future, and we lost the game by trying to play football the right way, playing out from the back.
“I’d much rather lose a game that way than lumping it up the park and hoping for the best. We paid a big penalty for one slip but we’ll take away a lot from this game.”
The relief was visible from the Heart’s players and coach John van ‘t Schip post-match after they opened a gap on seventh place – at least temporarily – with their win.
“The performance was not that bad at all, seeing the tension that was in this game with everyone expecting us to win,” van ‘t Schip said.
Fred and young fullback Craig Goodwin were the Heart’s best, while 21-year-old centre-half Zac Anderson was outstanding for Gold Coast.
Gold Coast’s next match is at home on Wednesday night against competition leaders Central Coast Mariners, with the suspended Bleiberg’s future still up in the air.
Story by: