Glory, Heart share spoils

Melbourne Heart have escaped with an important 1-1 draw with Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night as the new franchise strives for a Hyundai A-League finals appearance.

Melbourne Heart has escaped with an important 1-1 draw with Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night as the new franchise strives for an A-League finals appearance.

It was a crucial game for the Heart after Newcastle replaced them in sixth position during the week and the draw puts them back on equal points with the Jets. They do have a tough run, though, with Gold Coast, the Victory, Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners to come in the next four games.

The draw keeps the Glory four points clear of bottom-placed North Queensland, but all but sees them out of the race for the finals.

After an entertaining first half-hour with chances at both ends of the pitch, the Glory got the advantage when Todd Howarth slotted home a goal in the 34th minute.

The Glory appeared to make it 2-0 in the 63rd minute when a Jamie Harnwell header, which was flicked on by Scott Neville, appeared to cross the line before Melbourne's Wayne Srhoj cleared, however, referee Gerard Parsons and his assistants disagreed.

The home fans weren-t happy and even less so when seven minutes later the Heart levelled through a spectacular bicycle kick from Alex Terra. That proved enough for the draw despite Neville's last second strike that was just wide for the Glory.

Glory coach Ian Ferguson wasn-t about to blame the goal that wasn-t given on the referees either and knows there's little that can be done with such close calls on the goal line.

"I really can't blame the referee. At the end of the day he's in the middle of the park and the linesman probably has a better view of that. It has not been given and what can you do? You just have to move on," Ferguson said.

"We've all seen it now and it was over the line. Sure the players were bitterly disappointed, but there's nothing you can do. It would have been a nice cushion to have the 2-0 lead, but it wasn-t to be."

Melbourne Heart coach John van't Schip can live with the draw after falling down a goal.

"If you look at the whole game we are happy. Of course we came here to win and we knew what we had to do, and to get into the playoffs we need the points, but if you see how we played in the first half we were struggling," van't Schip said.

"The second half was a lot better with us creating chances, playing more our game and even after 1-1 there were chances to win it, but they had a very big chance as well so I can live with the result."

After a slow start tot he contest, a Harnwell header that was just wide from a corner sparked an eventful run of chances. Nick Kalmar struck a shot tremendously for the Heart after 14 minutes and was only denied a goal because of a superb save from Glory 'keeper Tando Velaphi.

Two minutes later Howarth struck a shot disappointingly straight at Clint Bolton and then Josip Skoko put a shot high at the 19-minute mark for Melbourne.

In the 34th minute the Glory was on the board when Howarth capitalised on good work from both Robbie Fowler and Todd Amphlett to put it right past Bolton from close range.

Heart coach van't Schip substituted Rutger Worm for Terra shortly after conceding the goal and Terra had an immediate impact with a great chance at an equaliser, but his shot only managed to go right into the arms of Velaphi.

Before Terra's equalising goal midway through the second half, there was the controversially disallowed goal and Amphlett bombed another chance for the Glory. Terra then silenced the crowd when he kicked the ball up to himself, and scissored it right past Velaphi.

John Aloisi had a chance to put Melbourne ahead in the 80th minute but his shot was well saved by Velaphi and then the Glory continued to pepper for a winner, including Neville with the very last kick of the game, but it wasn-t to be and the draw was a fitting result in the end.

Perth Glory 1 (Howarth 34') Melbourne Heart 1 (Terra 70') Crowd: 7962 at nib Stadium. 15/01/2011