Heart cutting it close to making the finals

20130221-195452.jpgThe door to the finals is still ajar and Heart have a chance to put a foot inside if they perform in tomorrow’s game. With 6 games to go, 3 of them being home games, Heart have to make sure that they keep winning both at home and away.

Round 21 and Heart went to Hunter Stadium to take on the Jets. It was an important match for both teams, but once again the away syndrome that Heart have had this season kicked in. Newcastle Jets were also going into the match with their own dramas and issues, but they were able to overcome them and win against Heart with a 2-0 win. Even with Heskey kicking the first goal in the opening ten minutes, the first half seemed to be pretty even. The start of the second half and Heart was looking strong, but not being able to convert some close calls throughout the match cost Heart. In the last two games leading into the Jets match our back line was looking solid but they didn’t seem to sync as well with Colosimo returning the back line. Hopefully in tomorrow’s match against Sydney he will be back in form.

Someone tweeted mid week asking what crowd numbers to expect for the #MHvSYD match, with Scott Munn tweeting that they are expecting around a crowd of around 13,000 to 14,000. The Del Piero effect seems to be kicking in, and hopefully we can continue the momentum of the #OneMelburnian campaign. So let’s try and get the crowd numbers over 15,000 screaming red and white, and be the extra player for Heart.

Coming up against Team Del Piero, which just received a new player, um what’s his name again, Lucas Neill! It will be a bitter sweet game this Sunday, Heart was nearly across the line with signing the Australian Captain Neill, just to have him at the last minute sign up with Sydney. Well, the only thing which can be said to him is good luck, and it is great to see the older Socceroos starting to come into the A-League and support this great competition. This will be a tough one for both teams. Sydney are looking to bolster their fifth spot position and Heart are looking to keep the finals dream alive. It will be great to see Del Piero finally in the flesh and playing great football, but not too great because we want Heart to win this one. Aloisi should have close to a full squad to choose from for this important match, so there should be no excuses from that side of things. However, Sydney have also got a few players returning to their line up, and have been looking good over the last few games.

This will not be an easy task for Heart to win, but if they want to make finals, a win against Sydney tomorrow is needed. Good news for Heart was yesterday’s draw coming out of the #JETSvROAR match. With Sydney, Heart, Jets and Roar all fighting for those last two spots, a draw was a good result for Melbourne Heart and keeps us in the hunt.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Schip Happens!, the Melbourne Heart Fan Zine, which will be available on game day this Sunday and also you will be able to pick it up at The Imperial before the game.
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Heart’s hopes on the rise

Every week lately has been marked by comings and goings in the A-league. Even as I was writing this, exciting news came through of another possible arrival at Melbourne Heart – Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, following on from the signing this week of Dutch import Marcel Meeuwis. If Neill signs on in the next few days, then not only will Heart’s defensive stocks have rebounded dramatically, but the hopes of Heart fans of making the finals will be sky high.

Heart could take a huge step toward that goal tonight versus Newcastle Jets away. Everyone knows our away form needs to do a 180 degree turn, but confidence must be high after the team’s solid performance in its vital 2-0 home win over Perth Glory last weekend. Another newbie Jamie Coyne made his debut, sending his old club to last place and prompting the sacking of its manager Ian Ferguson. Nick Kalmar showed by
his man of the match performance that the Heart has the hunger to fight
for a top six finish.  Matt Thompson has lifted his intensity since
taking on the captaincy in Fred’s absence; Germano is finding some good touches again, Babalj seems fired up to make his mark after returning home and Walker continues to impress with his determination making up for his inexperience at times. It was also great to see Golgol and Macallister back from injury to get some game time.

Last week’s highlight was undoubtedly Kalmar’s stunning goal and we must produce similar efforts tonight, or goals of any kind to get the 3 points! Newcastle and Sydney FC (a huge home game for us next weekend) are snapping at our heels for a finals berth, so never has an away result been so critical as now. Go the Red and White!

Watch out AFL – Melbourne derby & the run home

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With the finals in sight, the A-league ladder is starting to sort itself out. There’s the top four, then you have 5th and 6th spots that could be filled by any of the bottom six teams. Melbourne Heart is still in with a chance, but it will be a steep hill to climb.

Last weekend we enjoyed the last of the Melbourne derby matches for the season (unless the finals delivers another one!). It was a great build up in Melbourne for the derby, with talk about the coming AFL season sparking up during the week. But Melburnians showed their support for the A-League with the derby match bringing in just over 41,000 and showing that football is strong in the Heart of AFL land. The game was of course another great one, with both sides playing well. Melbourne Heart came into the match with a very young back line, along with a struggling midfield and a promising attack. It was going to be interesting seeing Babalj and Tadic both in the starting line up.

While Babalj and Tadic didn’t really sync together, that is understandable given it was their first game together. Williams and Garcia were both lively on the wings as usual and how we didn’t score in the opening 20 minutes was purely down to Victory’s keeper denying us. The young guys at the back did well, with Walker looking better every game. Then of course their is our favourite Golgol; he is just explosive on the field and has that great bend-it-like-Beckham kick. Once he is fully fit from his injury, he is going to be a great asset to the Heart and hopefully we can hold onto him for a while to come. It’s a big blow that we have now lost Tadic (our leading goal scorer) for at least 4 weeks with a broken toe, although it’s lucky Babalj is back to fill in the spot.

The night was fantastic, we went along to the game with friends (both Victory and Heart supporters), and sat in the GA area where of course we were swamped by a sea of blue. I have to say the Victory supporters sitting around us were friendly, and we had great time with them all. Unfortunately the referee let the game down, and it should have been a draw for a fair result. But, no use crying about it – we lost and that’s it, we move on to the next game.

Both Max and Ash, in our blog ‘a quick look at melbourne hearts run home‘, said it was going to be a tough run home. Over the last four games we both predicted that Heart would have won at least one game, but have lost a few where we were expecting to at least draw, the derby match being one of them. It’s not over yet and if Heart can keep the form from the derby and maintain this we still have a chance of making the finals. Our chances should be boosted by this week’s signing of experienced defender Jamie Coyne. Heart still need to be able to win away from home, you can hardly expect to be a finals contender with only one away win this season. One week at a time… we come up against lowly Perth at home on Saturday, so make sure you’re there – Go Heart!