Heart stung by last minute derby winner

Melbourne Heart FC registered an impressive display of character and persistence only to succumb to a devastating late blow against city rival Melbourne Victory FC in a pulsating Melbourne derby last night.

Melbourne Heart FC registered an impressive display of character and persistence only to succumb to a devastating late blow against city rival Melbourne Victory FC in a pulsating Melbourne derby last night.

In front of a boisterous and passionate crowd at AAMI Park of 26,457, Heart dominated periods of an energetic encounter, but were sunk in the dying seconds by an audacious Archie Thompson strike, which gave the visitors a dramatic 2-1 win.

Heart were arguably the better of the two sides in a relatively even contest, created a number of opportunities and looked the more threatening, but left with nothing in a cruel blow.

Victory snatched the lead against the run of play in the 67th minute, as Victory-s in-form striker Marco Rojas swept home a cross from the left, but Heart-s captain Fred popped up nine minutes remaining to snatch a deserved equaliser.

However, the equaliser proved insignificant, as Thompson pinched a winner in the final seconds of the match.

Head Coach John Aloisi made two changes to last weekend-s starting line-up, with the fit-again Jonatan Germano handed his first senior berth for the 2012-13 campaign.

Jason Hoffman was relegated to the bench alongside Dylan Macallister, who was replaced by Josip Tadic in the starting line-up, while Nick Kalmar was ruled out due to injury.

Heart started the match in typically vigorous fashion in the eighth instalment of the Melbourne derby.

Leading the derby win ratio three to one, Heart looked to extend that statistic in its favour, as winger David Williams showed lightening pace down the left to draw a foul from Nick Ansell inches outside of the penalty box.

Heart-s early dominance helped to unsetlle derby debutant Nathan Coe in the Victory goal, as Tadic nearly profited from a nervy fumble from an Aziz Behich cross, only for Mark Milligan to save his keeper-s blushes by blocking Tadic-s shot.

Heart then almost snatched the lead as Richard Garcia headed Behich-s corner downward and goal-ward, only for the most diminutive player on the pitch, Rojas, to stand up when it counted, nodding Garcia-s effort over the bar.

Behich and Williams were causing Victory all manner of problems and the former nearly set up the opener, cutting back from the left to Fred in the 32nd minute, only for the Brazilian to fire wide.

Victory threatened on rare occasion, but Clint Bolton had a relatively quiet first half.

It was Heart that looked the more menacing in the second period as Fred volleyed agonisingly wide with a superb effort after Garcia squared with his head.

Bolton was finally called into serious action to smother a Gui Finkler cross just past the hour mark, but was beaten five minutes later as Rojas swept home on his left boot.

Williams then fired a low shot wide of the target, as Heart quickly looked to bounce back with an equaliser.

The home side found one, as Fred stole in unmarked to head Michael Marrone-s cross past Coe to level the scores in the 81st minute.

But there was further drama in the second minute of injury time, as Thompson latched onto Rojas- through ball and netted with a chipped shot that hit the woodwork twice and snuck over the line.