FFA’s report on how Melbourne Heart went during Series One of the 2012 F-League
The side was put together from scratch in the past two months and exceeded most peoples expectations in their first ever competitive hit-out together.
Heart head coach, Edgard Vatcky, did a brilliant job compiling the best available players in a short period of time before Series One of the season.
Unfortunately Heart lost all three games but showed great signs against sides that have been playing competitively together for a number of years.
The first of Heart’s three games on the weekend was against Boomerangs FS on Saturday afternoon.
It was bound to be an exciting contest from the outset as both sides were intent on getting on the scoresheet first.
Boomerangs had a number of chances in the first ten minutes, the closest of which came to captain Daniel Fulton whose shot was cleared off the line by Lev Lewis.
It was also a fairly physical encounter with the Boomerangs using their height advantage to the best of their ability.
Luke Cardamone and Callum Davies picked up yellow cards for the Heart late in the first half with the deadlock unable to be broken heading into the break.
Melbourne Heart came out into the second half pushing for a goal and were rewarded after three minutes with Lewis driving a powerful shot past the Boomerangs goalkeeper.
But the lead did not last long with Glenn Smith scoring a stunning goal just three minutes later, blasting a shot past Claudio Palmeri in the Heart goals from a tight angle.
And before long the Boomerangs had turned the game on its head with George Cattanach showing tremendous skill to control the ball and turn in one move before slotting the ball home.
Heart pushed for an equalising goal in the remaining ten minutes but the Boomerangs held on for the come-from-behind win.
Melbourne Heart’s next game was at 10am on Sunday morning against the Parramatta Blues who were defeated 4-0 by St. Albans in their opening game on Saturday.
It was a cagey opening to the game but a poor defensive error by the Heart gave Goran Ljuboja an early goal for the Blues.
On ten minutes Parramatta doubled their lead after another error at the back with Alan Kovacevic calmly putting the ball past Palmeri.
Parramatta then had an abudance of chances to put the game almost beyond reach in the first half but Palmeri was on hand to deny the Blues time and time again.
But he could not keep out Gavin Schipp early into the second half whose bullet strike from the half way line evaded everybody.
That goal seemingly deflated the Heart players and it was not long before the Blues made it four with Taian Cao adding another stunner.
Goalkeeper Dianoosh Rasoulzadeh was then introduced in place of Palmeri to try and pin back the scores but it left an empty net in which Cao capitalised to make it 5-0.
Heart were gifted the opportunity to pull one back from the spot but Carlos Munoz’s effort was saved by the Parramatta goalkeeper before Jordan Guerrero slotted a penalty at the other end with the game ending 6-0.
Game No.3 for Melbourne Heart was at 6pm Sunday evening against arguably the best Futsal side in the country, the St. Albans Strikers.
Edgard Vatcky fielded a very youthful squad compared to the other games and it seemed to be working early with Heart having all of the ball.
But after having all the possession and shots on goal it was St. Albans who scored first, against the run of play, through Jose Potillo.
It was not long before the Strikers had a second goal with Max Avrim converting just three minutes later.
A third goal and fourth goal came for St. Albans just before the break with Melbourne Heart missing their second penalty of the tournament in between.
Vatcky kept faith in his youthful squad and Heart started the second the way they began the first, dominating the play.
But exactly like the first half it was St. Albans who struck first blood, with Irzad Spijodic making it 5-0 and all but putting the game to bed.
Despite the score line, Melbourne Heart continued to play with hope and it was not long before their resilience paid off with a goal from Anthony Ramzy.
It was no surprise to those in attendance to see Heart finally on the scoreboard but they could not believe it when they had a second two minutes later thanks to a splendid finish from Muhammed Tankir.
The belief was there from the Heart players that despite being three goals behind the game was far from over.
Six minutes from time Ramzy got Heart’s third after showing fantastic strength and composure to hold off the defender and slot it past the goalkeeper.
St. Albans were rattled but did well to hold on to their lead with the game eventually finishing 5-3, an admirable effort by Melbourne Heart.
Head coach Edgar Vatcky expressed his delight at how the team performed throughout the weekend despite being together for less than a month.
“We are the new boys on the block. We’ve got players from a range of different places and who have never played together before, so it was always going to be a difficult task.” said Vatcky.
“The first and last games were excellent. We played really well in the first one and we were very unlucky not to have won by a fair bit.
“I think we got a bit complacent in the second game, we just got very stagnant and copped some goals for it.
“In the last game we applied our principles of the game and we stuck to them. We were coming up against a team who have been playing together for four or five years, maybe more.
“We knew they were very good at finishing and every opportunity they got they would put away, but we won the second half 3-1 and we’re pretty happy with that.”