Melbourne Heart FC celebrated the start of the new year in the best possible fashion with a 2-1 win - and much-needed three points - against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park this evening.
Melbourne Heart FC celebrated the start of a new year in the best possible fashion with a 2-1 win - and much-needed three points - against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park this evening.
Josip Tadic set up one and then scored another, either side of a Ryan Griffiths penalty, as Heart ground out a result in a close encounter with Gary Van Egmond-s side, which lifts Heart two places up the table into eighth position.
Golgol Mebrahtu continued his hot streak of form for the Red and White, latching onto a measured through-ball from Tadic in the seventh minute, following a turnover of possession instigated by Heart-s captain Fred, and netting his third goal in five matches.
Scorer of a sublime free-kick against Phoenix last week, Mebrahtu showed poise to slip the ball through Jets keeper Mark Birigitti-s legs for the opener.
Heart were pegged back when Jets equalised 11 minutes later, after Ryan Griffiths was brought down by Heart-s debutant keeper Andrew Redmayne, and the Newcastle midfielder converted the resulting spot kick in the 18th minute.
But in an almost carbon-copy situation, Birighitti was guiltily of the same misdemeanour, bringing down Heart-s Jonatan Germano for a penalty in the 26th minute.
Tadic stepped up to bury what proved to be the winner, as Heart held on for the remaining 64 minutes for its fourth win of the season.
The visitors made one alteration to its starting line up from its narrow 3-2 loss against Melbourne Victory, but it was Heart that made sweeping changes - with six changes from its match against Wellington Phoenix last Thursday.
Dominic Ritter was ruled out of the clash and replaced by Scott Neville for Newcastle, while Heart welcomed back Aziz Behich, Richard Garcia, Simon Colosimo and Patrick Gerhardt.
Head Coach John Aloisi also re-introduced Germano to the starting line-up, while he handed Redmayne his first start for Heart, promoting the 23-year-old keeper at the expense of regular Clint Bolton.
After Mebrahtu-s opener, the match almost went pear-shaped for Redmayne when he brought down Griffiths following a probing through ball from former England international Emile Heskey.
Redmayne was cautioned for his challenge and was sent the wrong way by Griffiths- spot kick, but he redeemed himself with a number of stand-out saves later in the match to help Heart to victory.
Heart-s second goal was set in motion after a clever flick over the Jets- defence from Josip Tadic, who sent the ball into the path of both Birighitti and Patrick Gerhardt.
Birighitti spilled the ball under a challenge from Gerhardt and in the aftermath, dragged Germano-s legs from behind to give referee Chris Beath no choice but to point to the spot.
Tadic-s penalty was emphatic from the spot, driving high into the roof of the net for the decisive blow.
Both teams had plenty of chances to add to the scoreline in the first period as a dangerous cross from the right from Mebrathu in the 31st was headed centimetres wide of the target from Germano.
Former Heart winger Craig Goodwin nearly proved nemesis for his former side in added time of the first time, firing a stinging drive which seemed destined for the top corner, only for Redmayne to tip the effort over the bar with a fantastic save.
Redmayne continued his fine form in the second half, saving a downward header from Heskey in the 48th minute, before Goodwin again tested the Heart stopper in the 55th minute.
The pace of the game lessened in the second period, as substitutions flew thick and fast and Dylan Macallister, who replaced Josip Tadic, had the best chance of the second half, forcing a save from Birghitti with a powerful low effort.
The win gives Heart momentum ahead of Sunday-s clash against Brisbane Roar against AAMI Park.
Match Details Tuesday 1 January 2013 Melbourne Heart FC (Golgol Mebrathu 7-, Josip Tadic 26- [PEN]) Newcastle Jets FC (Ryan Griffiths 26' [PEN]) AAMI Park Referee: Chris Beath Crowd: 5,641
Melbourne Heart FC Line-up: 20. Andrew Redmayne, 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred (17. Jason Hoffman 86-), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matt Thompson, 10. Josip Tadic (9. Dylan Macallister 64-), 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonatan Germano, 14. Golgol Mebrahtu (15. David Williams 73-), 16. Aziz Behich Substitutes not used: 1. Clint Bolton Yellow: Andrew Redmayne 16- Red: Nil
Newcastle Jets FC Line-up: 20. Mark Birighitti, 2. Scott Neville (22. Adam Taggart 85-), 4. Josh Mitchell, 8. Ruben Zadkovich, 9. Emile Heskey, 11. Connor Chapman, 12. Joshua Brillante (18. Jacob Pepper 58-), 13. Samuel Gallaway, 17. James Virgili, 23. Ryan Griffiths (7. James Brown 66') Substitutes not used: 1. Ben Kennedy (GK) Yellow: Mark Birightti 26-, Craig Goodwin 44-, Sam Galloway 45+2-, Emile Heskey 87- Red: Nil