All the goals came in an entertaining first half as Melbourne Heart jumped off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 victory over the Newcastle Jets
|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
Melbourne Heart have snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Golgol Mebrahtu continued his emergence as a future star with Heart's first goal, while goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne made his debut for the home team, producing some fine saves in their first win since their 1-0 win over Perth Glory in Week 10.
Heart took an early lead when Mebrahtu slotted the ball through Mark Birighitti's legs to score his third goal in five A-League games.
A penalty to each team saw Heart lead 2-1 at half-time and the Red and White held on after the break to take the three points in the New Year's Day clash.
Heart coach John Aloisi made six changes from the team that started in the 3-2 defeat away to Wellington Phoenix.
Simon Colosimo and Patrick Gerhardt returned at the centre of Heart's back four after serving one-match suspensions, while Richard Garcia, Jonathan Germano and Aziz Behich also started having been rested against the Phoenix.
The shock selection was Redmayne's debut in goals ahead of Clint Bolton, who was dropped.
Before Tuesday's clash, Bolton had played 39 straight games for Heart since he missed the opening two rounds of last season with a groin injury.
Newcastle made just one change with Scott Neville replacing the injured Dominik Ritter at right-back.
In the sixth minute, Matt Thompson pounced on a poor pass out of Newcastle's defence, passed to Tadic, who burst forward before setting up Mebrahtu on an overlapping run and the 22-year-old forward finished well.
Heart's high pressing caught the Jets out on a number of occasions in the first half but it was the visitors who threatened next with Zadkovich's in-swinging cross requiring a good punch from Redmayne to clear the danger.
But Newcastle drew level in the 16th minute when Michael Marrone's header from Birighitti's goal kick dropped at Emile Heskey's feet and the English striker fed the ball to Ryan Griffiths, who got to the ball ahead of Redmayne to win the penalty.
Griffiths stepped up himself and slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
It was the home side's turn from the spot just eight minutes later when Birighitti dropped the ball under pressure from Patrick Gerhardt, allowing Jonathan Germano to take possession.
Still on the ground, Birighitti grabbed Germano's leg and was somewhat fortunate referee Chris Beath decided on a yellow card rather than a red.
Josip Tadic's penalty kick was high into the roof of the net and Heart led 2-1.
That was the way it stayed up until the break although both sides had chances to score with Tadic sending a header wide, while Craig Goodwin's fine strike from outside the box was tipped over by Redmayne at full stretch.
The second half started with a flurry in the first couple of minutes as Fred put the ball in the net but was correctly ruled offside, while Heskey produced a good header at the other end but was denied by another good save from Redmayne.
Newcastle had the better of the second-half chances but the Jets could not manage to get past Heart's debutant goalkeeper.
Heskey had two of the visitors' better goal-scoring opportunities, shooting over the bar before Redmayne held his strong header in the 80th minute.
The win takes Heart to 15 points and off the bottom of the A-League ladder, while the Jets return home after a poor week in Melbourne and having lost five of their past six matches.