Derby delight for Heart who trounce Victory
Heart went into the third Melbourne Derby of the season on the back of a four-game winning streak and they showed no signs of slowing down after Orlando Engelaar put them ahead in the eighth minute, with Mate Dugandzic doubling their lead seven minutes later.
It was the Victory's third game in eight days and their already tough task turned into a near impossible one just before half-time when centre-back Nick Ansell was controversially sent off after being adjudged to have denied David Williams a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Late strikes from Williams and substitute Harry Kewell put the gloss on the win, with the Heart easing to one of the most memorable Melbourne Derby wins in their short history in the A-League.
The win sees the Heart move to eighth place on the table for at least 24 hours, just two wins outside the top six, while the Victory missed the chance to go to third.
Heart couldn't have asked for a better start to the game with Engelaar finding the back of the net in the eighth minute, tapping home after Williams flicked on a venomous Iain Ramsay cross at the near post.
It was the Dutchman who started the move, making the most of a shanked goal kick by Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, who replaced the under-performing Nathan Coe. Engelaar showed his composure to find Ramsay in plenty of space on the left.
It was only Thomas' fifth appearance in a Victory shirt and his early nerves showed no signs of ending, with the 21-year-old fumbling a corner he should've claimed before it was eventually cleared.
He could do nothing about the Heart's second goal however, with Victory old boy Dugandzic scoring against his former club for the first time after somehow finding the top corner of the net in the 15th minute.
Victory were handed a good opportunity to get back in it after half an hour when Heart captain Robbie Wielaert gifted James Troisi possession, but his left-footed drive from the edge of the area flew well wide.
That seemed to spark Kevin Muscat's men into action and they began to enjoy some good spells of possession with Heart's foul count beginning to climb.
However, the game was tipped on its head in the 42nd minute when Ansell was inexplicably given his marching orders after being deemed to have tugged on Williams' shirt when the Heart attacker was through on goal.
Tensions flared again on the stroke of half time when Adama Traore kicked out at Williams, with the Ivorian shown a yellow card by Strebre Delovski.
Victory nearly got themselves back in it just three minutes after the restart, with a dangerous free-kick from Gui Finkler finding the head of Archie Thompson, but Andrew Redmayne was up to the challenge.
Heart came within six inches of going three goals up in the 66th minute when Ramsay cannoned his shot off the frame of the goal after some brilliant build-up play.
Victory's undermanned defence was becoming more and more apparent as Heart laid siege to their goal, with Thomas once again called into action from a Nick Kalmar free-kick as the game ticked into the final 15 minutes.
And it was in those final 15 minutes that the Heart put Victory to the sword, with Williams tapping home into an empty net in the 83rd minute before Kewell turned back the clock with a classy left foot drive from outside the area three minutes later, sending the raucous Heart fans into dreamland.