2 from Super Smeltz makes it two from two


Shane Smeltz has wasted no time finding his Glory groove, the super striker burying two goals as he helped Perth win their second game of the season in a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.

Shane Smeltz has wasted no time finding his Glory groove, the super striker burying two goals as he helped Perth win their second game of the season in a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.

Smeltz scored his first Hyundai A-League goal for Glory in the 34th minute as he nailed a glancing header from a superb Liam Miller cross.

Heart equalised during first-half injury time, however, as Chris Coyne’s foul on Maycon in the box allowed David Williams to slam the ball into the back of the net.

But a poor backpass under pressure from Heart acting skipper Matt Thompson in the 67th minute gave Smeltz the opportunity to score once again as he drilled a classy strike from the edge of the box to give Glory their second win from as many games this season.

The result sees Perth, climb into second on the Hyundai A-League table, just behind league leader Brisbane on goal difference.

Having won their opening clash over Adelaide at nib Stadium last weekend, the Glory found themselves under pressure early in this encounter as Heart dominated possession throughout much of the opening 20 minutes.

In the second minute, Heart striker Maycon was allowed a free header in the box, one which he sent over the bar, while four minutes later Scott Neville brilliantly dispossessed Williams as he burst through on goal.

Both sides were conceding plenty of turnovers on a crisp spring evening in Melbourne, but it was Heart who were fashioning chances as Glory defender Todd Howarth hacked away former Perth midfielder Wayne Srhoj’s header at goal in the 15th minute.

Two minutes later, Howarth was powerless to stop exciting Brazilian Alex Terra from cutting inside him down the right flank and delivering a cross towards compatriot Maycon, one that was only narrowly high.

Despite their good defensive work, Glory didn’t really settle nor mount any meaningful attacks until the 20th minute when Travis Dodd burst through on goal only to be denied by Thompson’s brilliant tackle on the edge of the box.

Just after the half hour, Miller sent out a warning to the Heart as he fired in a dangerous free kick that would have been in the back of the net had Bas van den Brink not slightly mis-timed his header.

However, Perth didn’t have to wait long to score as they fashioned a goal from the ether.

Miller and Neville had exchanged passes from a throw on the right flank but with Miller released, he sent in a sizzling lofted pass that found Smeltz at the far post, the Kiwi striker’s glancing header giving Heart stopper Nikola Roganovic no chance.

It was Smeltz’s 50th Hyundai A-League goal but he wouldn’t have to wait long to add to that tally.

It just got worse for Melbourne, though, as skipper Fred was forced from the field with a hamstring injury, but the Heart, true to their name, almost levelled within the space of a few minutes.

It was Alex Terra of course who almost did the damage.

Having scored a spectacular overhead goal to draw a game with Glory last season, he almost did it again in the 35th minute with an attempt that missed the upright by inches with Danny Vukovic scrambling to make his ground.

Tempers started flaring from there on in as Glory skipper Jacob Burns was floored by a huge bump from teenage Heart defender Curtis Good that saw the youngster cautioned.

Despite, Good’s passion, Heart appeared content to play out the half until Glory defender Coyne grabbed onto Maycon’s jumper in the box, allowing Williams to drive a quality penalty past Vukovic, despite the Glory ‘keeper guessing correctly and almost getting his hand to the attempt.

Sparked into action by the equaliser, Terra almost gave his side the lead in the fourth minute of added time with a raking shot from the right that only narrowly went wide of the right-hand upright.

The flurry of excitement at the end of the first period didn’t lead to more thrills and spills when the two teams reappeared for the second half.

Indeed, it was a fairly quiet period of the game before Nick Kalmar, on for Fred, sent in a deflected shot just before the hour, one Vukovic dealt with comfortably.

But in the 67th minute, Perth again engineered a goal from nothing.

Under pressure from Billy Mehmet on the left flank, an off-balance Thompson knocked a dreadful backpass into the path of Smeltz.

Needing no second invitation, the Glory marquee man drove forward, cutting inside Good before unleashing a quality strike into the back right-hand corner for his 51st goal in this competition.

Heart created a good chance in the 76th minute as Mate Dugandzic’s good work set up Kalmar mere metres from goal.

But when Kalmar scooped the ball horribly over the bar, the chance was lost.

And, Glory almost added a third two minutes later as Miller used all his trickery to jink past two defenders and drive into the box, only to see his goalbound effort saved by Roganovic.

In the end, it hardly mattered as Glory secured a comfortable 2-1 victory to mark coach Ian Ferguson’s 50th match in charge as an Hyundai A-League manager.

Melbourne Heart 1 (Williams 45+2)
Perth Glory 2 (Smeltz 34, 67)
AAMI Park, Melbourne