Melbourne heartened, Adelaide extend lead
Nick Kalmar's early strike gave Melbourne Heart their first-ever A-League victory today as they beat North Queensland Fury 1-0 at AAMI Park.
John van't Schip's side drew two and lost two of their first four games, having been cruelly denied a deserved victory against Perth Glory last week by Robbie Fowler's late penalty.
However, they made ideal start in this game as Kalmar turned home Rutger Worm's cross in the 11th minute. It could have been 2-0 within a minute as Matt Thompson volleyed goalwards from Alex Terra's cross but Justin Pastfield made a fine save.
Isaka Cernka almost equalised for Fury in the 28th minute when a clearance from goalkeeper Clint Bolton landed at his feet but he was unable to direct a shot into the open goal.
The Fury were turning up the pressure as the game progressed and only a superb save from Bolton denied Gareth Edds just after the hour.
However, the Heart were resilient in their determination to take all three points and successfully snuffed out any further threats before the final whistle.
"We were close last week. If you look at the five games I think we deserved the three points today, not for the way we played in the first half, which was one of our worst performances, but we improved in the second half," said van't Schip.
Melbourne Heart's first win means they move up to sixth on five points, level with fifth-placed North Queensland Fury.
Meanwhile, Adelaide United opened up a three-point advantage at the top of the standings following a 3-1 win over A-League defending champions Sydney FC.
The struggling Sky Blues went into the game without a win so far this season and fell behind at Sydney Football Stadium after just 10 minutes through Sergio van Dijk's strike.
Matthew Leckie added a second shortly before the break and the game was ended as a contest in the 53rd minute when van Dijk grabbed his second of the game.
Stephen Keller did pull one back for Sydney in the 58th minute but it proved nothing more than a consolation as they remain rooted to the foot of the table with just two points.
In contrast, Adelaide have yet to taste defeat this season and top the standings with 11 points, three ahead of Perth Glory.