Heart trump Jets

A 10-man Melbourne Heart side have finished the National Youth League season in fourth place after a gritty 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets in their Week 18 clash at Adamstown Oval on Sunday afternoon.

A 10-man Melbourne Heart side have finished the National Youth League season in fourth place after a gritty 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets in their Week 18 clash at Adamstown Oval on Sunday afternoon.

The Jets had the early run of play and duly went ahead via left winger Kale Bradbery in the 28th minute but the Heart equalised through striker Nick Kalmar just a few moments later to send the teams to half-time locked at 1-1.

Melbourne came out more determined in the second half and grabbed the lead in the 50th minute when David Williams slammed home a loose ball from point-blank range.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men on the hour mark when forward Andrijasevic used an elbow on Taylor Regan as both contested a high-ball.

Newcastle looked to press home the man advantage but were kept out by determined goalkeeping from Heart's Thomas Dunn and when Zac Walker stroked home a penalty in the 75th minute the visitors looked clear.

The Jets continued to press and eventually pulled one back when James Virgili slotted home in injury time, but it too little too late as the Heart held on for a hard-fought victory.

The Jets had the first chance of the match when Labinot Haliti chipped a ball over the top for winger James Virgili to chase. He got in behind Phil Petreski and then squared the ball into the box where left winger Kale Bradbery hit his first time strike over the crossbar.

The Jets continued to push with Dunn saving a scuffed strike from Haliti in the 14th minute before a Connor Chapman incursion produced the first goal of the match.

Chapman took the ball forward before linking up with Marko Jesic whose shot from the edge of the area was blocked the Heart defence, but the ball skewed away to Bradbery who attacked the volley at pace and fired his shot into the far corner.

The Jets almost doubled their lead just two minutes later when Virgili once again got down the right wing and crossed to the near post where Jesic's first touch took him around the keeper but he ran out of room and could only fire his shot into the side netting.

The Heart drew level against the run of play when Kalmar curled the ball into an empty net after Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan miscued his clearing punch.

Heart came out with more purpose in the second half and they took the lead five minutes after the resumption. Andrijasevic sped into the box on a intelligent angled run and fired a vicious shot that was parried away by Duncan, but Williams pounced on the loose ball and fired home to put the visitors 2-1 up.

The game took a dramatic turn on the hour mark when the Heart went down to 10 men after Andrijasevic was dismissed for a stray elbow that left Jets defender Regan with a nasty gash to his eye.

With the man advantage the Jets pushed forward and went close to restoring parity when Haliti lost his marker only to head another Virgili cross into the crossbar. Dunn then made another point-blank save as Haliti fired with purpose from six metres out on the angle.

Another goal against the run of play extended the Heart's lead in the 75th minute. Josh Groenwald put an innocuous looking through ball into the Jets box, but Peluso continued to chase and when Duncan hesitated in coming forward to collect an easy pick-up Newcastle centre-back Sam Gallaway shouldered Peluso to the turf.

Referee Adam Gehrig pointed to the spot and Zac Walker sent Duncan the wrong way to give the Heart a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

With the game in their keeping the Heart put everyone behind the ball, virtually camping in their own half to thwart some desperate attacking by the home side.

The Jets eventually broke through when Virgili used his pace to get on the end of a Ragusa through-ball before firing a crisp right-foot shot into the far corner to make it 3-2 in the first minute of extra time.

Newcastle had a chance to snatch a late equaliser when Ewart floated in a dangerous cross and Haliti headed from six yards out but Dunn was well placed to swallow the chance as the Heart held on for a hard-fought victory.

Newcastle Jets 2 (Bradbery 28', Virgili 90+1) Melbourne Heart 3 (Kalmar 32', Williams 50', Zac Walker 75p) At Adamstown Oval, Newcastle