Grant fires Sydney FC to dramatic victory


A dramatic 93rd minute winner from Rhyan Grant has powered Sydney FC to a spirited 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart, completing a fabulous comeback for the Sky Blues.

A dramatic 93rd minute winner from Rhyan Grant has powered Sydney FC to a spirited 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart, completing a fabulous comeback for the Sky Blues.

Grant, who started the match as a central defender, rose high to nod home an Alessandro Del Piero cross and sent the 13,125 fans who braved the wet conditions into delirium.

The goal capped an excellent second half performance from the home side, with two goals in the last five minutes snatching all three points and moving the team off the foot of the table.

After going behind to a Richard Garcia header midway through the first half, Sydney piled on the pressure, and eventually cracked the Heart-s resistance through Brett Emerton-s equaliser in the 85th minute.

And just as a draw seemed the most likely result Grant gave Sydney FC a first ever win against Melbourne Heart with his strike in front of The Cove.

Much of the credit must go to coach Frank Farina, who made a series of inspired substitutions, with subs Blake Powell, Terry McFlynn and Aaron Calver all making a difference.

Emerton was also phenomenal for the Sky Blues, single-handedly taking the game by the scruff of the neck when it was there to be won.

Farina welcomed back Fabio and Yairo Yao from injuries into the starting eleven from last week-s side that earned a 2-2 draw at Perth. Fabio slotted into left back, forcing Aaron Calver to the bench, with Grant moving into central defence. Yau-s inclusion also meant a move to the bench for Blake Powell.

Wet conditions greeted both teams and it was the visitors who adapted better early on, with Nicholas Kalmer testing Janjetovic in the first minute with a curling effort, that the Sydney custodian did well to keep out.

After the early scare the Sky Blues started to maintain possession but frustratingly couldn-t find the final pass in the attacking third.

Against the run of possession, Melbourne took the lead through Richard Garcia in the 24th minute. The Socceroos international headed home from 6m from a Kalmer cross, after the latter and Fred exchanged passes from a free kick.

Stung by the goal, Sydney launched an attack straight from the kick-off, with Brett Emerton seeing his goal bound effort blocked by the Heart defence.

Sydney looked to have equalised in the shadow of half time, but Sebastian Ryall saw his header effort chalked off for offside.

The second half started as the first ended, with Sydney on the front foot and looking the likely scorer of the next goal.

Once again, though, Sydney were finding it hard to test Heart ‘keeper Andrew Redmayne, with Del Piero and Yau both seeing efforts blocked by scrambling Heart defence.

The increasingly effective Yau was providing a constant threat for the home side and his efforts should have resulted in a Sydney FC equaliser. The Panamanian did brilliantly to rob Gerhardt on the edge of the box and drive into the penalty area, before teeing up Emerton, who shot high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

Emerton though made amends with five minutes remaining. The midfielder latched onto a brilliant McFlynn through ball and shimmied his was past three defenders before powering a shot past Redmayne.

With only five minutes to play there looked to be only one team going for the three points as Sydney continued to pepper the Heart goal.

Deep into injury time and after concerted pressure on the Heart goal, Grant popped up in the six yard box to head home a fabulous cross from Del Piero. The Italian had first done terrifically well to create space allowing the inviting cross, which Grant duly accepted, firing home to secure a second consecutive home win.

The result leaves Sydney only two points adrift of the top six and another home game next week to continue the charge towards the finals.

Sydney FC 2 (Emerton 85-, Grant 93-) d Melbourne Heart 1 (Garcia 24-)

Referee: Peter O-LEARY

Crowd: 13,125.

Sydney FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 2. Sebastian RYALL 3. FABIO (28. Aaron CALVER 77-), 6. Jason CULINA, 7.Brett EMERTON, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 18. Trent McCLENAHAN, 21. Yairo YAU, 22. Alia ABBAS (12. Blake POWELL 39-), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS (15. Terry MCFLYNN 59-).

Sub not used: 33. Matthew NASH (GK).

Yellow Cards: Peter TRIANTIS 47, Rhyan GRANT 54.

Melbourne Heart: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. FRED (27. Stefan MAUK 72-), 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 10. Josip TADIC (9. Dylan MACALLISTER 77-), 11. Richard GARCIA, 13. Jonathan GERMANO, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 22. Nicholas KALMAR (17. Jason HOFFMAN 77-), 25. Jeremy WALKER.

Sub not used: 1. Clint BOLTON (GK).

Yellow Cards: Patrick GERHARDT 65, Andrew REDMAYNE 68, Aziz BEHICH 88.