Heart go nap in Wellington, in battle of form teams

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League 2013/14, Round 19
5pm, Saturday 16 February, 2014 – Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Wellington Phoenix FC 0
lost to
Melbourne Heart FC 5
(Engelaar 9′, Williams 19′, 51′, 63′, Wielaert 54′)

Melbourne Heart handed Wellington Phoenix a 5-0 thumping at Westpac Stadium on 16 February to close to within nine points of third place in the Hyundai A-League with eight rounds remaining, as the league’s form clubs clashed in New Zealand’s capital.

The bottom-placed club hit the ground running from the first whistle, David Williams and Iain Ramsay both going close in the first six minutes of play, the latter being denied by Glen Moss.

It was no surprise when Melbourne opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Ramsay took on Michael Boxall on the left before crossing for Mate Dugandzic. His shot was blocked, but the rebound fell perfectly into the stride of the imposing figure of Orlando Engelaar.

From twenty yards, he fair smashed the ball into the back of the net with such tremendous ferocity that Moss was still diving for it as the sphere rebounded off the netting behind him.

The 9,767 fans present were stunned into silence by that strike – little did they know what was to come! For, not content with their opening goal, Melbourne kept on coming.

Williams dragged his shot across the face of goal in the tenth minute after good work by Dugandzic on the right, while the same player skied a sitter from ten yards four minutes later, Aziz Behich and Dugandzic combining on the right.

After Wellington’s first raid, inspired by Kenny Cunningham, had been thwarted by Andrew Redmayne’s diving save at the feet of Stein Huysegems, the visitors doubled their lead with a lovely goal in the nineteenth minute.

Engelaar picked out Williams with a lovely ball over the top which lured Moss out of goal. Williams, without a second’s hesitation, deftly lobbed the ball over the advancing ‘keeper and, one bounce later, it entered the net – 2-0.

Wellington had to be next to score if they harboured hopes of turning things round, and Jason Hicks led the charge. His shot on the turn fizzed over the bar after Huysegems had engineered the opening straight from the kick-off, while upon receipt of Cunningham’s pass, the midfielder played a delightful ball into the stride of Jeremy Brockie, surging through the inside left channel.

Unfortunately, his cross lacked accuracy, falling behind Cunningham, who had to change direction and retrieve the ball before being in a position to shoot, a position that never materialised due to his having been closed down by Melbourne’s defence.

After Melbourne defender Patrick Gerhardt had seen a goal ruled out by the offside flag – the man-marking job he did on Carlos Hernandez in this match was text-book perfect, the Costa Rican finally rid himself of his “shadow” to take a free-kick on the half-hour. Redmayne dived to his left to save the curling twenty-five yard effort soundly.

Another Hernandez free-kick brought the best out of the goalkeeper six minutes later, by which time Melbourne were content to pick off Wellington on the counter-attack. Just prior to this set-piece, the raiding figure of Dugandzic had been thwarted by Moss’ saving at his feet, while Gerhardt directed a header at Wellington’s ‘keeper six minutes before half-time, after Dugandzic and Ramsay had raided down the left.

Redmayne was twice called upon to keep Wellington scoreless in the minutes before half-time, denying Hernandez on both occasions. Five minutes after play resumed, Cunningham also had reason to be frustrated by the ‘keeper’s actions, but what followed quashed any hopes Wellington harboured of mounting a second half comeback.

It was classic counter-attacking football. Half-time substitute Matthew Ridenton’s stray pass was swooped on on half-way by Williams, who quickly worked a double one-two with Massimo Murdocca before drilling the ball under the diving figure of Moss to make it 3-0 amid deafening silence from the usually vocal locals.

Straight from the kick-off, Cunningham fired a twenty-yarder at Redmayne, who sparked a Ramsay-led counter-attack culminating in Williams’ drive cannoning off the outstretched leg of Manny Muscat for a corner.

Dugandzic’s delivery was headed out to the edge of the penalty area, where captain for the day Robbie Wielaert was lurking – Melbourne’s regular skipper, former Liverpool star Harry Kewell, was nursing a toe injury.

Wielaert let rip from the eighteen yard line, and saw the ball crash down off the crossbar, onto the back of the diving figure of Moss, and off the unfortunate ‘keeper into the net – 4-0 after 54 minutes, with an own goal the officially recorded marksman, much to the shooter’s chagrin!

There was certainly no way back for Wellington after this, and to confirm matters, Williams completed his hat-trick – the first in Melbourne Heart’s history – in the 63rd minute, curling home a gem of a twenty-yarder in off the far post after Dugandzic had picked him out with a short corner.

After that, it was really a case of by how many, so inept and hapless were Wellington as an attacking force in this match. The only member of the home team who emerged from the game with credit was Moss, largely because without his efforts, the scoreline could well have approached double-figures.

He denied Nick Kalmar’s twenty-five yard free-kick in the 67th minute, then smothered a shot from Dugandzic eleven minutes later after great chasing by Stefan Mauk had retrieved a seemingly lost cause, the substitute then linking with Behich to set up the striker.

Four minutes from time, Mauk’s rasping twenty-five yarder was superbly turned over the bar by Moss, who was right behind another effort from the substitute two minutes later, after Dugandzic and Behich had linked down the left once more.

Referee Jarred Gillett’s final whistle soon after put Wellington out of their misery, and left Melbourne, who for so long this season have seemingly been making up the numbers, well within sight of the play-off spots. Could they?
Match details
Crowd: 9,767

Wellington Phoenix FC: Moss (gk); Boxall, Sigmund, Durante, Muscat; Lia (booked, 61), Cunningham (Boyd +58′), Hicks (Ridenton +46′); Brockie, Hernandez, Huysegems

Melbourne Heart FC: Redmayne (gk) ; Kisnorbo, Wielaert (booked, 29), Gerhardt (booked, 45) (Kalmar +57′); Hoffman (booked, 32), Murdocca (Mauk +73), Engelaar, Behich; Dugandzic, Williams, Ramsay (Garrucio +68′)

Ratings and points

Match 6/10 – too one-sided to rate higher
Pitch: 6/10
Referee: Jarred Gillett 6/10

Players points:
3. Mate Dugandzic (MH)
2. David Williams (MH)
1. Engelaar (MH)

By Jeremy Ruane