Analysis: Melbourne Heart's resurgence

Melbourne Heart's astonishing 5-0 demolition of the Phoenix in Wellington not only confirms their A-League resurgence but ends their horror run of more than two years without a win outside of Victoria.

Melbourne Heart's astonishing 5-0 demolition of the Phoenix in Wellington not only confirms their A-League resurgence but ends their horror run of more than two years without a win outside of Victoria.

John Greco takes a look back at their road woes, the reason behind their form turnaround and whether they can make it all the way to an unlikely finals berth.

Long time between drinks The Heart's cake walk at the cake tin ended a 780-day wait between away wins, going back to their previous best result the 4-0 drubbing of Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium just after Christmas in 2011. That's 25 games outside Victoria without a victory. To put that streak into context, Australia has since had three different prime ministers, John Aloisi was coaching the club's youth team and the thought of Alessandro Del Piero playing in the A-League was nothing but a pipe dream. Coach John van 't Schip and the players will be hoping the Phoenix massacre doesn't signify another lengthy slump on the road

Why the turnaround in form? It would be easy to say the Heart's resurgence over the last two months is solely down to the appointment of van 't Schip. The experienced Dutchman has done a superb job galvanising a side that was low on confidence when he took charge, as well as making them a lot more resolute at the back.

But there are other contributing factors. The return from injury of marquee men Orlando Engelaar and Harry Kewell has been crucial while the likes of David Williams, Patrick Kisnorbo and Aziz Behich have found some form. The announcement of Manchester City-s acquisition of the club has also been a factor improving morale in the dressing room. It's all contributed to 14 points from a possible 21 - after no wins from the first 12 games - thanks to four wins, two draws and just the solitary loss.

Key player It's been said that David Williams looks a bit like Carlos Tevez and the pace attacker is certainly starting to play like him in recent weeks. Williams, who turns 26 next week, has for a long time been earmarked as a player of undoubted ability and potential but has struggled to live up to the hype on a consistent basis. But five goals in his last three matches - including the club's first-ever hat-trick against the Phoenix - is an indication Williams could finally be about to deliver. With Kewell out injured and the Michael Mifsud signing appearing to be a failure, Williams will need to continue on his current hot streak if the Heart are to maintain the rage.

Can they make the finals? If you said two months ago the Heart would be a chance to push for the top six heading towards March, you would have been laughed out of town. But their upsurge in form - and the struggles of those around them - makes it a distinct possibility with eight games still to go. Sure they have a lot of work to do but they are just seven points behind the inconsistent Sydney FC in sixth and their draw isn't too bad compared to their rivals.

The Heart play four of their next five matches at home, starting with league leaders Brisbane this weekend, and have three of those games against sides that will be affected by ACL commitments. They would probably need to win at least five or of their remaining eight games to sneak in and while it might be considered a long-shot you wouldn't rule anything out.

Melbourne Heart's Run Home: *Round 20 v Brisbane Roar - AAMI Park *Round 21 v Melbourne Victory - AAMI Park *Round 22 v Newcastle Jets - Hunter Stadium *Round 23 v Wellington Phoenix - AAMI Park *Round 24 v Central Coast Mariners - AAMI Park *Round 25 v Brisbane Roar - Suncorp Stadium *Round 26 v Adelaide United - Coopers Stadium *Round 27 v Western Sydney Wanderers - AAMI Park