Harry Kewell's return wasn't enough to deliver a breakthrough win for the Melbourne Heart who held on for a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium.
Harry Kewell's return wasn't enough to deliver a breakthrough win for the Melbourne Heart who held on for a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney on Saturday at Pirtek Stadium.
In a pulsating clash, the Heart withstood a late onslaught from the home side to come away with a hard-earned point and perhaps halt the pressure on coach John Aloisi for another week.
Things started well enough for them as David Williams gave them a shock lead seven minutes before the break when his cross from the left somehow found its way into the far corner of Ante Covic's net.
But they could only hold the advantage for six minutes before Aaron Mooy, who had earlier fluffed two good chances, made the Heart pay for some shoddy defending.
The classy midfielder was left unmarked just outside the box, receiving the ball and turning before burying a shot past Andrew Redmayne into the bottom corner.
The second half belonged to the Wanderers with Youssouf Hersi, Labinot Haliti, Mooy and Matthew Spiranovic - whose header hit the post - all going close to snatching a late winner.
Kewell, who hadn't featured for the Heart since round one, came on with 18 minutes left and showed some nice touches which augurs well for the Heart going forward.
While they will count themselves unlucky not to have got all three points, the Wanderers' winless run has now stretched to three games.
Without a win this season, the Heart took the game to the hosts early on and almost took the lead inside 10 minutes through Golgol Mebrahtu.
Iain Ramsay's cross from the left allowed the young striker to ghost in between Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Adam D'Apuzzo but he couldn't hit the target with his volley.
The Wanderers were also creating their share of chances but struggled to really test Redmayne, with Mooy twice failing to hit the target from good shooting opportunities.
Their best chance of an enterprising first half came from a corner 10 minutes before the break, only to be denied by some super work from Heart defender Aziz Behich on the goal line.
Behich first hacked away Iacopo La Rocca's header and then had to stay alert to block another effort from Mark Bridge who deflected on Jerome Polenz's shot on the rebound.
Williams' goal came just minutes later as the Heart made the most of that let-off, but they couldn't hold on to the lead very long before Mooy struck a minute before the break.
The chances kept coming early in the second half as first Michael Mifsud went close as he blazed over from close range, while Hersi flashed a shot across the face of goal but just wide of the post.
It was all the home side from that point on as the Heart were happy to hold on for a point and they did just that thanks to some inspired goalkeeping from Redmayne and a bit of luck as Spiranovic hit the post with a late header.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Mooy 44) Melbourne Heart 1 (Williams 38) Crowd: 14,549 @ Pirtek Stadium