Heart Overcome By Fighting Jets

Melbourne Heart FC has continued its Hyundai A-League pre-season preparations with a 2-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets at Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium.

Melbourne Heart FC has continued its Hyundai A-League pre-season preparations with a 2-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets at Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium.

First half strikes from Michael Bridges and Ali Abbas were enough to secure the victory for Newcastle, as the Jets produced a strong display to negate Heart-s attacking game.

Towering striker Gerald Sibon managed to snatch a goal back midway through the second half, but Newcastle-s rearguard remained strong, ensuring the side returned to the Hunter Valley with a confidence boosting win.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip was philosophical after the match, revealing the contest proved a great learning experience.

Van ‘t Schip said he was pleased with his side-s capacity to bounce back after a disappointing first half, and establish control of the contest as the Heart squad continued its learning process.

“We had a few difficulties in the first half, but we identified key areas which were causing problems for us,” he said.

“We changed it a little in the second half and the performance was much improved. We were able to play our game, use the space and we did a lot more from the wings.

“There was more clarity in the midfield during the second half, and they improved their communication as well as their positioning.”

In front of over 3,000 fans, the two sides staged a cagey opening at the former home of the Gippsland Falcons as Westpac-s Community Football Festival drew to a close, bringing an end to Heart-s three-day stint in the Latrobe Valley.

And despite seeming to settle into a rhythm early on, Heart soon found itself a goal behind as Bridges pounced on a defensive error before moving in on goal and slotting the ball past ‘keeper Clint Bolton in the sixth minute.

The early strike gave Newcastle the necessary impetus to begin pressing forward, quickly taking control of the midfield.

Former Iraq international Ali Abbas looked dangerous on the right flank, challenging the Heart defence with his pace before getting himself on the scoresheet in the 27th minute as Bridges turned provider, scrambling home a cross from the left.

Abbas- goal sparked Heart into action, with Kamal Ibrahim testing Jets glovesman Ben Kennedy as he launched a long range effort after cutting inside from the left flank.

Rutger Worm was then provided with a chance to claw one back, but the Dutchman was only able to drive his acrobatic half-volley straight at Kennedy.

Heart capitalised on the momentum early in the second half, pressing forward in search of the strike which would reignite the contest as Sibon headed home a Worm free kick in the 68th minute, however the Jets managed to hold on.