Heartbreak at AAMI Park

A late penalty from Robbie Fowler has denied Melbourne Heart FC an historic first ever win as the Hyundai A-League newcomers were held to a 2-2 draw by Perth Glory.

A late penalty from Robbie Fowler has denied Melbourne Heart FC an historic first ever win as the Hyundai A-League newcomers were held to a 2-2 draw by Perth Glory.

Fowler converted from the spot deep in injury time after Michael Baird was ruled to have been fouled in the penalty box, ensuring Heart-s search for a debut victory continues.

Head Coach John van ‘t Schip admitted the team was heartbroken to concede a goal in the dying embers of the contest, saying his side had again shown improvement.

“That-s the most difficult thing I think because we are working very hard to get that first win and today it seemed to be there, but as we know, the game is more than 90 minutes,” he said.

“Looking back at the game, I think the first half was good, we played very aggressive, very quick and forward defending football, created some good chances. We got a good lead with the goal and I thought it was a deserved penalty.”

He added: “But then coming back from the equaliser, which was a strange goal again, it was a little bit unlucky, but we kept on going and made a good goal with Nick Kalmar.

“In the second half, we didn-t manage any more to play the game we did in the first half, we didn-t keep the ball up high. You could see Perth was applying more pressure, and they made one or two opportunities but Clint (Bolton) was playing a great game.”

Heart burst out of the blocks in the opening stages of the contest, with Brazilian forward Alex Terra immediately making an impression with his pace and guile.

And it was the former Fluminense player who ensured Heart would take the lead after he was brought down by Naum Sekulovski in the 18-yard box.

Dutch front man Gerald Sibon then stepped up to convert the spot kick in the fifth minute, side footing the ball to the left of Tando Velaphi to become the first Heart player to score at AAMI Park.

But despite Heart being in the ascendency, Glory soon struck back, as a wickedly struck Fowler cross was deflected past Bolton in unlucky circumstances in the 20th minute.

The setback though spurred Heart on, as Kalmar and Matt Thompson asserted control in the midfield, challenging Perth with probing runs and inquisitive forward balls.

And the side indeed soon got its just reward, as Kalmar struck home from inside the box, driving his shot past Velaphi to hand the home side the lead heading into the break.

Perth lifted its intensity in the second half, and began to press deep into Melbourne-s half as Adriano Pellegrino and Jacob Burns combined to provide steel and creativity.

Fowler was presented with a stunning chance to restore level terms, but Bolton was up to the task, producing an outstanding save.

However, the former Liverpool superstar ensured Heart would remain on the quest for three-points, shooting past Bolton from the spot.