Reds share spoils with Heart

An improved Adelaide United FC has been forced to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium.

An improved Adelaide United FC has been forced to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium.

In a game that sprung to life after half time, the Heart struck first through defender Brendan Hamill in the 49th minute before substitute Spase Dilevski equalised with his first goal for the Reds in the 78th minute.

A fast finishing United could not find a winner though as it tried to take advantage of a Heart outfit that played the final 13 minutes with ten men after Simon Colosimo was sent off for a second bookable offence.

While it was not the dream result the Reds were after, Head Coach Rini Coolen knows the performance, which included a far greater level of effort and endeavour than last week, is a step in the right direction.

“I-m disappointed because I thought we deserved a little bit more than a draw today. It was a great effort from the boys and I think you saw from the start of the game that the boys were still looking for some confidence, but during the game it got better and better,” Coolen said.

“At the end of the day we wanted the win and we deserved the win but we didn-t get more than one point. But for me it-s important that I can do something with this game because there were a lot of positive things to come out of it and that was different from the last couple of weeks.”

Fighting back from a demoralising 7-1 defeat a week earlier was always going to be a tough ask, but Coolen was pleased with his side-s response and the way it handled the pressure that has gradually been building up.

“It was pressure like normal because you definitely prefer to win games at the start of the season and also because of the expectations in our team, you can-t walk away from that,” Coolen said.

“But we were very disappointed with the way we played last week, so you have to bounce back and I think that-s what the boys did…we have to move on now and take the good things out of this game.”

Coolen made three changes to the starting eleven from the one that went down to the Roar in Brisbane, while it was the first time this season that the Reds boss had the luxury of starting with the three pronged attack of Sergio van Dijk, Dario Vidosic and Bruce Djite.

In a scratchy opening, it was a lively Djite that came close to giving the Reds an early confidence boost as he flashed two shots narrowly wide of the target in the opening 20 minutes.

With the Reds eager to find their groove and give the home fans something to cheer about, captain Jon McKain went inches away from opening the scoring when his far post header from a Vidosic corner was cleared on the goal line.

Coolen was forced top make an early substitution with Uruguayan Francisco Usucar coming into the holding midfielder role in the 39th minute after Evgeniy Levchenko succumbed to a calf problem.

On the stroke of half time the Reds had a strong shout for handball waved away, the conjecture over the decision bringing to an end an opening 45 minutes in which both sides struggled to find any serious fluency or cohesion going forward.

But that all changed four minutes after the break when Hamill took possession forward of half way, the Reds unable to stop his deliberate run, allowing the opportunist defender to sneak his shot in between an outstretched Eugene Galekovic and the United keeper-s right hand post.

Needing a quick reply, the Reds could not be blamed for lack of trying as Djite and Vidosic did their best to trigger a United charge.

But the Heart defence was proving difficult to unlock and Coolen introduced a fresh Andy Slory up front for a tiring Djite with 25 minutes remaining.

Slory-s presence lifted the home side and Vidosic came agonisingly close to bringing the match level when a committed van Dijk forced the ball away from Heart keeper Clint Bolton, but Vidosic-s attempt from the spillage curved wide of the post.

Slory then turned the game on its head when he won a foul on the edge of the penalty area, his dynamic run seeing Colosimo infringe and given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

But the real reward came from the resultant free kick as Dilevski was the first to react from a stunning Cassio free kick was just kept out by Bolton. The Heart keeper could only parry the ball away and on the acutest of angles, Dilevski split the eye of a needle to find the net and put the Reds on level terms.

The goal was a jolt of both confidence and relief for United and seemed to release the pressure valve as they went in search of a winner. But it would not come despite the continued intent of Slory, Vidosic and van Dijk, with Iain Ramsay smashing a long range attempt a few metres over the bar in injury time in what was the final chance of the game.

The Reds will be back at Hindmarsh Stadium again next Friday night for the re-scheduled Week 6 fixture against Gold Coast United. Tickets for the match are available through Ticketek.

Match Details Adelaide United FC 1 (Dilevski 78-) Melbourne Heart 1 (Hamill 49-) Referee: Jarred Gillett Crowd: 10,294 @ Hindmarsh Stadium

Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 4.Jon McKAIN (c), 6.CASSIO, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.Evgeniy LEVCHENKO (21.Francisco USUCAR 39-), 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce DJITE (23.Andy SLORY 66-), 14.Cameron WATSON (16.Spase DILEVSKI 72-), 17.Iain RAMSAY, 22.Milan SUSAK

Substitutes not used: 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) Yellow Cards: Levchenko 37-, Caravella 44-, Ramsay 63-, McKain 83- Red Cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart line-up: 1.Clint Bolton (gk), 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill (17.Jason Hoffman 67-), 4.Simon Colosimo, 6.Matt Thompson (c), 10.Wayne Srhoj, 11.Alex Terra (5.Fred 55-), 13.Jonatan Germano, 15.David Williams (9.Maycon 80-), 16.Aziz Behich, 23.Mate Dugandzic

Substitutes not used: 30.Sebastian Mattei (gk) Yellow Cards: Williams 9-, Colosimo 25-/77-, Behich 53- Red Cards: Colosimo 77-