The Heart took another big step towards a debut finals campaign with a spirited performance against the Brisbane Roar in Queensland, in a match where the boys in Red and White demonstrated the character that became a cornerstone of the great form they enjoyed mid-season.
The Heart took another big step towards a debut finals campaign with a spirited performance against the Brisbane Roar in Queensland, in a match where the boys in Red and White demonstrated the character that became a cornerstone of the great form they enjoyed mid-season. After failing to win for weeks on end, the Heart are now on a run of three games without a loss, earning tough wins against Gold Coast United and Central Coast Mariners before last weekend-s spirited draw against the Roar.
Clint Bolton was the hero once more with his spectacular last minute penalty save from Adnan-s spot kick, as he confirmed once more his reputation as one of the league-s outstanding keepers. You could easily argue he remains the best in the league too, so good has he been since recovering from shoulder surgery which kept him out at the start of the season and seemingly had his career in doubt. No doubt the club will be doing everything they can to try and squeeze one more year out of the veteran, as his spectacular form helps to keep Melbourne Heart on their current trajectory to the finals.
With three games to play however, it-s not going to get any easier. An in-form Wellington Phoenix outfit will visit AAMI Park on Saturday as they look to dish out another hammering akin to the one they gave Melbourne back at the end of January, when they brushed away a poor Heart side 3-1 in Wellington. The Heart will boast a much stronger side this time around of course, with Matty Thompson, Fred, Aziz Behich and Mate Dugandzic all back in contention after a fine run of games since their returns from injury and Olyroos duty respectively, and will provide much greater competition than they did last time around.
With Sydney FC still flirting with the prospect of finals football in light of some much improved form themselves, John van ‘t Schip will know that despite three good consecutive results, any slip ups could very well be fatal. The Dutchman is keen to ensure his final few months in charge as the club-s inaugural manager is befitting of the fine work he has done thus far, and a solid run of form into the finals would ensure they are memorable for the right reasons.
You could never doubt the determination of everyone involved with the club to make this year the one in which finals became a reality, instead of just a glimmer of hope in the distance. The players and management have demonstrated as much over the last few weeks, and it would be fitting if that would continue against the Phoenix, the team against which the Heart looked set to throw away all their hard work only a little over a month ago.
Make sure you are at AAMI Park on Saturday cheering on the lads as they look to cement their spot in this season-s A-League finals series.
Follow Matthew on Twitter @mg91