• Heart warming ... Mate Dugandzic is surrounded by teammates after scoring Heart's second goal against Victory (Getty)
Melbourne Heart's stunning revival continued unabated as it crushed 10-man arch-rival Melbourne Victory 4-0 in a one-sided derby at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
By
twg

1 Mar 2014 - 7:38 PM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2014 - 10:45 AM

The win - Heart's fifth in succession - saw John van't Schip's form team rise to eighth on the ladder - just four points out of the finals spots with six rounds remaining. Victory remains in fourth spot - six points clear of Heart.

Victory was undone within the opening 15 minutes as goals from Orlando Engalaar and Mate Dugandzic saw Heart race into an early lead to send a full house into fever pitch.

And its fate was sealed three minutes from half time when referee Strebre Delovski brandished a straight red card at Nick Ansell as he tugged at the shirt of David Williams, controversially adjudging the striker would have been clear in on goal had he not been impeded.

It was the final straw for a Victory side already down and almost out of the contest.

Second half strikes from Williams and Harry Kewell merely compounded the pain.

With finals football within reach, Van't Schip urged his side to stay level-headed.

"It's close and I know everybody's talking about finals, and in our heads, it's there," he said.

"There's a lot still to be played before we can say we're going to be in the finals."

"We just have to keep doing the things we're doing."

Victory coach Kevn Muscat handed goalkeeper Thomas Lawrence his first start of the season as he sprung a surprise by dropping Nathan Coe after a gaffe proved costly in the 4-2 AFC Champions League loss to Guangzhou Evergrande in midweek while playmaker Tom Rogic returned from his ankle injury.

But it was Heart keeper Andrew Redmayne who was the first called into action, diving low to smoother a free-kick from Gui Finkler after Patrick Kisnorbo had conceded the foul.

At the other end, the imposing Engalaar fed David Williams who fired over.

But when a misplaced clearance by a nervy Thomas fell to Engalaar in the ninth minute the Dutchman freed Iain Ramsay whose cross was touched on by Williams with the on-rushing Engalaar flicking the ball home.

Victory, who only arrived back in Australia on Friday, found itself two goals down after 15 minutes in bizarre fashion as Dugandzic's cross - aimed at Ramsay - evaded everybody, including Thomas, and flew into the net.

Victory refused to give in and Archie Thompson tested Redmayne with a header from Finkler's 48th minute free kick.

It took a fine reaction save from Thomas to deny Heart a third as Ramsay got on the end of a Dugandzic cross in the 56th minute.

Then, after being delightfully played in by the omnipresent Engalaar, Ramsay hit the angle of bar and post with a rising drive in the 66th minute.

Dugandzic wasted a glorious chance three minutes later, opting to use his foot and not his head, when he met a perfect Williams cross.

After missing a sitter, Williams finally made the game totally safe in the 83rd minute as he planted the ball past Thomas after it had pinged around the Victory penalty area.

The goal was his 10th of the season - making him the equal top scorer in the competition.

Substitute Kewell put the icing on the cake in 85th minute with a sweetly struck shot from the edge of the area as he celebrated his return from injury.

It was the 24th goal Victory had conceded in eight games.