Heart Defeated By Clinical Gold Coast

Melbourne Heart FC remains in the top six on the Hyundai A-League table despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Gold Coast United 3-0 at Skilled Park.

Melbourne Heart FC remains in the top six on the Hyundai A-League table despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Gold Coast United 3-0 at Skilled Park.

Despite dominating the early stages of the contest, Heart was dealt a blow just before the break as Bas van den Brink headed home before a Jason Culina double in the second half sealed the result.

Heart immediately went on the attack early as the side sought to reverse its recent bout of form, as Matt Thompson came close to marking his return with a goal, driving a long range effort into the post.

As Gerald Sibon dictated terms in the attacking third of the park, Heart maintained possession with metronomic consistency, pressuring Gold Coast deep into its own half.

United though managed to look threatening on the break and in the 18th minute James Brown came close to opening the scoring as his half-volleyed effort parried wide by Clint Bolton.

But that proved to be a temporary reprieve as Heart maintained its onslaught, with a tantalising Alex Terra ball narrowly evading both John Aloisi and Adrian Zahra before Sibon managed to test United ‘keeper Scott Higgins with a masterful piece of invention.

Receiving a knockdown from Aloisi, the giant Dutchman unleashed an improvised left-footed strike when off-balance, forcing Higgins into a strong save.

After managing to weather Heart-s early dominance, Gold Coast managed to work its way back into the contest, with a Kristian Rees header providing a ominous sign of United-s intent to wrest control.

World Cup Socceroo Culina came into prominence late in the half, as his probing balls and bubbling creativity caused havoc, and it was a corner from the former PSV Eindhoven midfielder which conjured the opening goal of the match as van den Brink headed home to hand Gold Coast the lead.

Heart-s woes were exacerbated after the break as Alex Terra and Michael Marrone were withdrawn due to fitness concerns, forcing van ‘t Schip into an unplanned tactical switch as Rutger Worm and Brendan Hamill entered the fray.

While Worm-s introduction sparked a revival, it proved to be short lived as Bruce Djite was brought down in the area by Michael Beauchamp.

Culina stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick, squeezing his shot past the outstretched arms of Bolton to double Gold Coast-s advantage.

Despite the setback, Heart ventured forward in search of the reply which would reignite the contest, with Sibon driving low into a wall from an indirect free kick inside the box before Aloisi drove a shot across the face of goal after a neat header from Adrian Zahra played the Socceroo legend through.

Pressing forward, Heart-s fullbacks Aziz Behich and Hamill pushed on as Heart attempted to craft an opening, with van ‘t Schip altering Heart-s shape to a 3-4-3 formation.

However, Culina soon sealed the result for the home side as he applied the finish at the back post after a cut back from Djite to ensure victory.