John van’t Schip described it as a “beautiful, ugly win”, but it was much more than that.
John van-t Schip described it as a “beautiful, ugly win”, but it was much more than that. This was a result and a performance that demonstrated to the greatest extent yet, that Melbourne Heart are a side that are not only capable of outclassing opponents, but they-re also capable of outfighting opponents.
The second round loss to the Perth Glory at AAMI Park earlier this season remains to this day probably our worst performance of the season. Although Glory never looked all that much better than us on the day, we succumbed to the physical pressure and crumbled under the challenge presented by Ian Ferguson-s side on that day. That pressure culminated in several defensive mistakes, and although we had our own chances to win or at least draw on the day, Perth-s desire and fighting spirit simply outdid that of the Heart on the day.
How fitting then, that Matthew Thompson should be the man to redeem himself so brilliantly against the side that tormented him that day. The midfield general scored a brilliant goal as he epitomized the confidence and quality that exudes from the Heart at the moment, when he burst forward from the middle, through Glory-s defensive bank of four, and unleashing a fierce piledriver past the hapless Vukovic to give Heart a deserved lead.
This was by no means the most classy performance we-ve delivered this season, but it was just as impressive a win as any we-ve enjoyed thus far. I was intrigued to see how we would react to conceding a goal so soon after scoring, and was so proud of the character the team showed in the face of that challenge. This is a team that has well and truly turned a corner in their development from fledgling A-League outfit into true contenders, a team that is now beginning to combine technical quality with a winning mentality.
It is exactly that character and attitude that John van-t Schip-s charges will have to take into AAMI Park on Friday night when they face fiercest rivals, Melbourne Victory. With both sides coming off great results this weekend, the fifth Melbourne derby is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated yet, and after bossing the last affair at Etihad, Melbourne Heart will want to make sure that if they do find themselves commanding proceedings once more, that they put the Victory to the sword.
It is a lesson that the Heart have seemingly learnt though, and their last two results have been more than indicative of that. There has never been a lack of quality at Melbourne Heart, but that quality is now being imposed on other teams through sheer strength of character and attitude, and when you can impose your will on a football match like the Heart are at the moment, you always have a chance of taking all three points.
Make sure you get down to AAMI Park on Friday night, and get behind your team, as we paint Melbourne red and white.
Fans can follow Matthew on Twitter @mg91.