Controversial decision sparks goal line technology debate

Todd Howarth’s first goal of the season was not enough to earn Perth Glory a vital home win as a piece of sublime skill from substitute Alex Terra earned Melbourne Heart a 1-all draw in a thrilling end-to-end contest at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

Todd Howarth-s first goal of the season was not enough to earn Perth Glory a vital home win as a piece of sublime skill from substitute Alex Terra earned Melbourne Heart a 1-all draw in a thrilling end-to-end contest at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

But the biggest talking point of the night was a goal not allowed to Jamie Harnwell in the second half after replays showed the ball clearly crossed the line. “I can-t blame the referee,” Glory interim head coach Ian Ferguson said at the end of the match.

“The linesman was in a better position but we have to move on.

“We-ve all now seen it and the ball was over the line,” Ferguson said.

Jamie Harnwell and Tommy Amphlett came into the starting eleven at the expense of Jamie Coyne and Jacob Burns and both were swiftly into the action as the game began at a brisk pace. Having probed and stretched the Heart defence on a number of occasions, Glory finally created their first goalscoring opportunity on 13 minutes as Harnwell rose above his marker to meet an inswinging Mile Sterjovski corner from the left, but the centre-back-s glancing header fizzed narrowly side of the target.

Two minutes later it was the visitors who fired their first shot across the bows, Nick Kalmar latching onto a fine cross-field ball from fellow-midfielder Rutger Worm, improving his shooting angle with a clever dummy, but ultimately seeing his deft 22 metre chip palmed over by the alert Tando Velaphi.

The chances were now starting to flow as the game continued to open up, with Todd Howarth firing straight at Heart ‘keeper Clint Bolton following a neat passing move that began at the edge of Glory-s box and moments later, the evergreen Josip Skoko starting and finishing a sweeping 80 metre move by blazing high and wide when well placed some 20 metres out.

A vocal nib Stadium crowd were clearly enjoying what was developing into a free-flowing encounter, with both sides fully committed to the attack and it was the home side who continued to create the better chances. The lively Howarth went close to breaking the deadlock on 22 minutes as he just failed to get the vital touch onto a deflected low cross from the overlapping Scott Neville, while either side of the half-hour mark, marquee man Robbie Fowler was off-target with a free-kick and a powerful header.

With the pressure from the hosts mounting, the Victorians finally buckled on 34 minutes as former State League duo Amphlett and Howarth combined to put Glory in front. The former twisted and turned his way into the box despite the close attentions of several Heart defenders, played a neat one-two with Fowler and the ball then broke loose for Howarth who again found himself in an advanced position and this time managed to rifle home from close range.

Three minutes later Glory came close to doubling their advantage as Josh Mitchell connected with another dangerous Sterjovski corner to force a smart stop from Bolton low to his right and then on the stroke of half-time, Fowler headed narrowly wide, with Sterjovski again the set-piece provider.

Refusing to allow the interval to disrupt their rhythm, Glory wasted no time whatsoever in regaining the ascendancy. The second-half was a matter of seconds old when Amphlett screwed an angled shot wide after more impressive approach work from the ubiquitous Sterjovski and moments later it was Pellegrino-s turn to threaten the Heart goal, launching a long-ranger with his less favoured left foot that Bolton was relieved to see flash just wide of his right-hand post.

Pellegrino has been in stellar form in recent weeks and showed just how high his confidence is with another fine solo effort just before the hour mark. Leaving former Glory colleague Wayne Srhoj trailing in his wake, the diminutive midfielder raced to the edge of the box and unleashed a howitzer of a shot that again flew just a few centimetres over the bar with Bolton beaten.

A second goal seemed inevitable and Glory thought that it had arrived on 63 minutes. Sterjovski-s corner was headed back across goal by Mitchell where his central defensive partner Harnwell flicked the ball over the line despite Shroj-s desperate attempt to clear. Amphlett then saw his follow-up again blocked on the line before a cluster of Glory players continued their protests at what they perceived as a legitimate goal not being awarded.

A visibly rattled Glory almost conceded a shock equalizer in the immediate aftermath of the controversy as substitute Alex Terra saw a goal-bound effort blocked, but the Brazilian was not to be denied on 70 minutes, finding the net in spectacular style. Fellow-substitute Gerald Sibon nodded down a deep cross from the left and the former Fluminense striker showed sublime skill and agility to plant a pinpoint overhead kick past the helpless Velaphi and into the roof of the net.

The frantic pace of the game continued unabated, with half-chances aplenty at either end as neither side showed any inclination to settle for a share of the spoils. On 82 minutes the home side were grateful to the in-form Velaphi who produced a superb one-handed save to deny John Aloisi who had been picked out by the overlapping Aziz Behich and the former Socceroo striker went close again moments later, somehow failing to steer Terra-s inviting low cross home from barely six metres out.

Howard Fondyke, Adam Taggart and Anthony Skorich were all thrown into the fray as full-time loomed, but it was Neville who came closest to securing a dramatic last-gasp win for the home side. In the very last minute of stoppage time, the Glory skipper embarked on a slaloming run that saw him beat three defenders, but as Bolton raced out to narrow the angle, he dragged his shot wide of the post.

Hyundai A-League - Week 23

Perth Glory - 1 Melbourne Heart -1

Saturday 15th January 2010, nib Stadium

Attendance: 7962 Referee: Gerard Parsons

Perth Glory: 1.Tando Velaphi, 2.Josh Mitchell, 4.Andy Todd, 5.Jamie Harnwell, 9.Robbie Fowler (26.Adam Taggart 80-), 12.Scott Neville (C), 13.Tommy Amphlett (22.Anthony Skorich 85-), 14.Steven McGarry, 16. Adriano Pellegrino (15.Howard Fondyke 79-), 17. Todd Howarth, 21.Mile Sterjovski.

Substitutes not used: 20.Alex Pearson (GK), Scorers: Howarth 34- Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 1.Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone (,23.Dean Heffernan 64-), 5.Michael Beauchamp, 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm (11.Alex Terra 35-), 10.Wayne Srhoj, 15.John Aloisi, 16.Aziz Behich, 20.Josip Skoko (9.Gerald Sibon 51-), 22.Nick Kalmar, 25.Adrian Zahra

Substitutes not used: 12.Peter Zois (GK), Scorers: Terra 70- Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil