Melbourne Heart's tough task
Keeping their Heart pumping hasn't been an easy task from day one and Melbourne's second team are only just beginning to climb their own mountain.
It was an afternoon of headaches and heartache for Melbourne Heart on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park.
As the opportunity to find an elusive equalizer ebbed away as the game drifted into added time, John Aloisi would have been frustrated by the 1-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
In a game that only produced 5 shots on target, Aloisi-s team created a couple of opportunities that were amongst the best of them but were unable to capitalize.
Even more frustrating for the manager, two of his imports were guilty of not producing the final flourish expected of them when the moment arrived.
Josip Tadic, the Croatian striker, came to the club with a reputation for mixing it with the big boys and scoring goals when it matters. So far we-ve seen neither.
Richard Garcia was never a goal scoring machine, but he is the archetypal “seasoned pro”, battle hardened in The English Championship and having had a taste of Premier League action at Hull City.
Garcia spurned two opportunities to make his mark in the game, his diving header in the second half the best of them. These are the moments that matter for the club and the player. On this occasion it passed him by.
So a second straight defeat for Heart. Whilst it-s not panic stations just yet, this is a club that has worked on a thin margin from day one. On the face of it, a crowd of just over 6,000 increases the pressure on a club.
Having said that, the equivalent fixture last year drew a crowd of just 3,900.
Whilst The Central Coast Mariners have been mighty effective - they won The Premiers Plate last year after all - they-re never going to be accused of being the entertainers.
Nevertheless, the truth is Melbourne Heart is yet to find a story to call its own.
Whilst Western Sydney Wanderers enjoy the distinct advantage of a defined geographic identity and the strategic support of head office, Melbourne Heart is left to forage away in Australia-s most crowded and competitive market place on their own.
There is resentment on Yarra Side that that FFA didn-t provide the same level of material support in Melbourne Heart-s start up phase as it has with the Wanderers, yet it-s Heart that had the more challenging task.
Heart were asked to make a success of it in a town that Melbourne Victory had well and truly claimed as its own.
FFA were active in securing both personnel (former A League boss Lyall Gorman is now CEO at the Wanderers) and financial support for Western Sydney ( both the NRMA sponsorship secured by FFA HQ and the Westfield sponsorship which is a company owned by Frank Lowy).
Some within the Melbourne Heart franchise are resentful of this as they feel the club received minimal support on how to set up an A-League club when they were granted their license, in contrast Wanderers FC got Gorman and all the benefits of a tight FFA connection.
Having said that Heart was born at a time when The North Queensland Fury was on its last legs and Clive Palmer was starting up his dog and pony show.
It-s fair to say that at that time, FFA was stretched beyond its means.
Nevertheless, given the monumental task it faces, Melbourne Heart needs every available advantage that can be afforded it.
Whilst success in Western Sydney is paramount, the survival and growth of a second club in Melbourne is absolutely critical for the integrity of the Hyundai A-League.
And as Sunday proved, there is plenty of work to do - both for the club and the FFA.