MELBOURNE Heart equalled an unwanted A-League record of 19 matches without a win after crashing to a 3-0 loss to Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Friday night.
A sensational goal from Adrian Zahra put the home side ahead in the 64th minute before the returning Shane Smeltz iced the win with a late brace.
Adding to Heart’s woes, substitute Dylan McAllister was sent off in his first match back from a hamstring injury after receiving two yellow cards during his 11 minutes on the pitch.
The undisciplined Heart copped five cautions as the Melbourne club failed to capitalise on a host of chances to snatch their first win of the season.
None came better than when Heart winger Mate Dugandzic found himself one-on-one with Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic late in the match, only to knock the ball wide of the goalmouth.
Perth’s second win in as many weeks under interim coach Kenny Lowe temporarily pushed the club back into the top six ahead of tough clashes against Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory.
Zahra had no problems celebrating against his former club when he dribbled into the box from the left and hammered the ball past a hapless Adam Redmayne.
Smeltz scored his first two goals of an injury-interrupted season when he first outmuscled Aziz Behich and then was gifted a second from a Redmayne error.
Heart captain Harry Kewell had a game to forget after copping a yellow card for a handball before being substituted after 70 minutes, much to the delight of the parochial Perth crowd.
Kewell and besieged striker Michael Mifsud have scored just one goal between them this season and never really threatened Vukovic or the Glory defence.
Heart’s 19th match without a win equalled the record set by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights in the first two seasons of the A-League.
It was a disappointing end for the Heart after working their way back into the match following a fast start from Glory.
Perth controlled possession in the first 15 minutes until Zahra was forced off the pitch with a cut head after an aerial clash with Heart defender Patrick Gerhardt.
Glory played with 10 men for seven minutes while Zahra was treated and the on-field advantage seemed to spark the visitors.
Patrick Gerhardt almost scored a priceless goal for Heart with a sliding effort that forced Vukovic to make a reflex save with his legs.
Vukovic was called into action again moments later to make a diving save to deny a long-range attempt from Nick Kalmar.
By that stage, Heart was dominating the match and would have taken the lead if Iain Ramsay had not hit the crossbar.
But they couldn’t make their early pressure count and were made to pay for a Glory side who look like an invigorated unit under the tutelage of Lowe.