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Glory smash Heart in A-League

By AAP .
11 January 2014 12:01AM EST

MELBOURNE Heart again showed its problems might have been deeper than the coach with Perth Glory beating them 3-0 as Newcastle and the Victory drew 1-1 in Friday's A-League action.

A Mitch Nichols own-goal has forced Melbourne Victory to share the points in a 1-1 round 14 A-League draw with Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

Nichols found the back of his own net late in the first half before Andrew Nabbout saved his blushes with a sure strike from close range for the equaliser shortly after the restart.

After a slow first half, the second stanza was highlighted by end to end action and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti saved the Jets late when he pushed a James Troisi shot wide in time added on to ensure the draw.

Only minutes earlier both Nathan Burns and Josh Mitchell put shots tantalising over the bar as the Jets failed to make the most of their chances.

With third spot up for grabs, both coaches rang in a raft of changes prior to kick-off and Leigh Broxham took over the Victory captaincy from the injured Mark Milligan as both sides started the fixture slowly in ideal conditions before 12,270 fans.

Kosta Barbarouses should have put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute when he found himself one-on-one with Birighitti but the shotstopper was good enough to parry the ball wide for what resulted in an ineffective corner.

After a period of sustained pressure in which Emile Heskey, Craig Goodwin and James Brown all missed opportunities to open the scoring, the Nichols own-goal broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when his rebound found the back of the Victory net.

After the break what had been a sluggish encounter broke open, starting with Nabbout's equaliser.

An entertaining second half ensued but neither side was good enough to break the deadlock.

The result leaves the Victory in third on the A-League ladder behind leaders Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Then, Melbourne Heart's winless run extended to a record-equalling 19th game after the A-League strugglers slumped to a 3-0 loss to Perth Glory in Friday night's clash at nib Stadium.

The Heart created a series of golden chances but couldn't put the finishing touch on their work, with a second-half brace to substitute striker Shane Smeltz putting the visitors to the sword.

Smeltz, in his first game back from an ankle injury, scored in the 86th and 89th minute after Heart striker Dylan Macallister was sent off in the 81st.

Adrian Zahra also scored for the Glory, whose second win on the trot moved them to fifth on the table, one point behind the third-placed Victory.

Heart's winless run matches the A-League record set by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights between 2005-06.

Should they fail to beat Newcastle at AAMI Park next Friday, the Heart will take sole ownership of the unwanted record.

Smeltz had missed the previous five games due to an ankle injury, but the New Zealand international made up for lost time following his 74th-minute introduction.

Former Heart midfielder Zahra gave Perth the edge in the 64th minute when he skipped past two defenders before unleashing a curling strike from the edge of the box.

But it was Smeltz who delivered the killer blow, making the most of a one-on-one chance against Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne for his first, before pouncing on a poor Redmayne clearance for his second goal.

Macallister, on the return from a hamstring injury, replaced Harry Kewell in the 70th minute.

But tackles on Sidnei and Jack Clisby within the space of 11 minutes resulted in his marching orders.

Heart captain Harry Kewell suffered a brain fade in the 43rd minute when he stuck up his hand to block a throw from Glory goalkeeper Vukovic.

Kewell earned a yellow card for that incident, with the 9,045 crowd booing the former Socceroo.

The veteran was lucky not to be red carded after attempting to re-enter the field in the 58th minute before he had been given permission by the fourth official.

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