MELBOURNE Heart coach John van ’t Schip hasn’t given up on playing finals after Heart’s 2-1 win over Perth Glory at Lavington Oval yesterday.
In what was the hottest A-League match in history, super sub David Williams was again the hero with an 82nd-minute goal which delivered another three points to the resurgent Heart in 40-degree heat.
It was the third win in four games for Heart and redemption for a 3-0 loss to the Glory a month ago.
Although Heart are still on the bottom of the A-League ladder after 18 games, they are just eight points adrift of sixth-placed Wellington, and van ’t Schip said the Heart weren’t out of the hunt.
“From the beginning I said anything is possible but the most important thing is we have to improve our game,” he said.
“You hear a lot of coaches say that, but it’s the truth — you can’t control other teams.
“The only thing you can try to control is the way that you play.
“We’re growing, we’re getting better and we’re getting results. We’re getting closer.
“For us now it’s just to continue doing those things and we’ll see how far we can come.”
Yesterday’s history-making contest was delayed two hours because of the heat but still kicked off with the mercury above 40 degrees at 5pm — the first half including drinks breaks at 15 and 30 minutes.
As against Sydney last week, it was Williams who delivered the winner.
A one-on-one with Perth keeper Danny Vukovic saw the ball balloon into the air.
Williams was first to his feet, heading the ball goalwards as a desperate William Gallas could only chase in vain.
Heart dominated the first half but failed to cash in as scores were locked 0-0 at half-time.
A gilt-edged chance inside the first 10 minutes fluffed by captain Harry Kewell was the closest they got.
Man of the match Patrick Kisnorbo broke the deadlock just minutes into the second half.
The veteran rose to a perfect corner from Iain Ramsay in the 51st minute and gave Glory keeper Vukovic no chance.
The goal forced Glory on the attack and a goal mouth scramble on 72 minutes saw Steven McGarry volley in the equaliser.
While Kisnorbo and his defenders were a brick wall to the Glory, it was the tireless Massimo Murdocca and Argentine Jonatan Germano in the middle of the park who directed traffic and stemmed each attacking raid.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe didn’t believe there was a great deal between the teams on the day and put the result down to one simple factor.
“A mistake,” Lowe said.
“Two set plays and somebody who is fatigued and makes a mistake.
“They weren’t exactly playing fluent football, and neither were we.
“It probably wasn’t a great spectacle, to be truthful.
“It boiled down to a mistake from someone who’s a little fatigued, but that’s football.”