Mariners lead, Brisbane wait
Jim Magilton made his official debut as head coach at Melbourne Victory on Friday evening, but it was a familiar story with the home side
Jim Magilton made his official debut as head coach at Melbourne Victory on Friday evening, but it was a familiar story with the home side doing well early on, only to concede a second half equaliser and then struggle through the remainder of the game and settle for a draw.
The game started brightly with Archie Thompson hitting the post inside five minutes, before Harry Kewell danced through the left side of Adelaide's defence and squaring for Thompson to snap up his 7th goal of the season from close range. Kewell showed a number of other flashes of his old self - the second game in a row that he's looked back to something like his best - with him and Thompson in form it is an ominous warning for the second half of the season.
Adelaide levelled early in the second half through Sergio van Dijk. The big Dutchman unmarked at the back post from a corner, and given enough time to consider a header, change his mind, let the ball drop and place his shot on the half-volley.
Kewell again took the Adelaide defence for a walk mid-way through the second half before rattling the cross-bar with a powerful shot, but that was the closest the home side came to grabbing the points.
It was a disappointing week for Melbourne Heart - on the wrong end of two results at home. On Sunday the Heart fell behind to an early Perth Glory goal from Shane Smeltz, but worked their way back into the game, eventually levelling through Kristian Sarkies, the former Victory and South Melbourne midfielder slotting home the rebound after Matt Thompson's penalty had been saved. It appeared that Heart would go on and take all the points, but a fast break saw Glory back ahead within a couple of minutes - Steve McGarry finishing from close range after Clint Bolton had fumbled a cross. It was ironic that Bolton's error should cost Heart points in the game which saw him move to second in the all time appearances chart in the Australian national league.
Heart backed up with a midweek match against table-topping Central Coast Mariners - and forced a man-of-the-match performance from young Mariner keeper Matt Ryan. The game appeared to be heading for an unlikely 0-0 draw when Adam Kwasnik appeared at the back post to slot home a McGlinchy cross.
The Mariners now sit an incredible nine points clear on top of the league and look almost untouchable - but will be wary of the fact that we were all saying Brisbane Roar were unstoppable just a few weeks ago.
Heart, with one point from the last four games need to get back to the drawing board - and have already started with the recruitment of experienced free agent Paul Reid to fill the central midfield boots of captain and playmaker Fred.
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