Perth Glory are equal top of the Hyundai A-League after a convincing 2-0 win at home over Melbourne Heart.
Goals from Dean Heffernan and Billy Mehmet steered Glory to a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at nib Stadium on Sunday, a result that lifted Ian Ferguson-s side to equal first on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Heart may have headed west unbeaten in their opening two games of the campaign, but they were second-best throughout a lively contest which the hosts were unfortunate not to have won by an even wider margin.
The duel down Glory-s right flank was always likely to be a key feature of the game and so it proved, with Josh Risdon and Travis Dodd gradually getting the upper hand on opposite numbers Aziz Behich and David Williams as the first-half unfolded.
Indeed, it was Risdon-s cross that created the game-s first clear-cut goalscoring opportunity, the ball eventually reaching the back post where Heffernan-s initial shot was parried by Heart ‘keeper Clint Bolton before Patrick Gerhardt and Richard Garcia combined to clear the midfielder-s follow-up effort off the line.
Mate Dugandzic then threatened to level things up almost instantly, taking advantage of a slip from Scott Jamieson to bear down on goal, but the Glory left-back made amends by sliding in to block the Heart man-s shot and for the rest of the half, it was the hosts who were on the front foot.
Billy Mehmet and Michael Thwaite subsequently went close to converting fine crosses from the overlapping Jamieson before Ian Ferguson-s side finally claimed the goal their attacking intent warranted on 38 minutes.
Liam Miller-s inswinging corner from the left eluded Michael Marrone-s attempted clearance and Heffernan was on hand to bundle home his first goal for the club from close range.
A series of niggling fouls then ensured that the half ended on a sour note, with Thwaite, Jacob Burns and Dylan Macallister all earning cautions before the Risdon - Dodd combination supplied one final tantalising cross which just eluded the onrushing Mehmet.
Half-time Perth Glory 1-0 Melbourne Heart
The second-half began brightly, with Steven McGarry and David Vrankovic wasting decent opportunities at either end and Glory came close to doubling their advantage shortly after the hour-mark when more trickery from the impressive Dodd resulted in an inch-perfect cross which Mehmet headed wide.
With the Melburnians pushing men forward in search of an equalizer, gaps inevitably appeared at the back and Dodd and Jamieson in particular, frequently threatened to exploit them.
Marauding down either flank, the duo were a constant menace and Dodd was unfortunate not to get his name on the scoresheet in the 77th minute when he turned cleverly in the box only to fire straight at a relieved Bolton.
Chris Harold and Adrian Zahra were then handed their Glory debuts from the bench, with Nick Ward also introduced to the fray and each made a solid contribution as the home side finished the game the stronger.
It was Harold who created another great chance with eight minutes left, leaving Patrick Gerhardt trailing in his wake down before finding Mehmet who scuffed his shot and moments later the former Gold Coast man came close to marking his debut with a goal, firing narrowly over after being sent clear by Liam Miler.
Glory, and Mehmet, however, were not to be denied.
On 86 minutes Miller whipped in another inswinging corner and Mehmet-s glancing header left Bolton grasping at thin air as it flew into the far corner.