Melbourne Heart youth striker Zac Walker has inspired the red and whites to a 4-0 win over AIS at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.
Melbourne Heart youth striker Zac Walker has inspired the Red and Whites to a 4-0 win over AIS at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.
The AIS had the better chances in the first half of the National Youth League match but failed to beat Heart's goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic, who was in inspired form.
In a rather lifeless performance by the home side, Walker and Roganovic were clearly the best for Heart, with Walker scoring a hat-trick and setting up the other goal in Heart's seventh win of the NYL season.
The majority of the first half was dominated by the young boys from Canberra, bookended by two flurries from the home side.
After starting the game seemingly still shell-shocked after last week's 11-2 defeat to Brisbane Roar, AIS started to take control after 10 minutes.
The away side upped the pressure on Heart's midfield and attacked at speed when they won the ball.
Joshua Barresi led the way for AIS and set up his team's best chance in the 25th minute when he dispossessed an opposition player on the halfway line.
The tall attacking midfielder released Bright Appiah down the right and Appiah found John Karatzas unmarked at the top of the box but the striker shot just wide of the post.
AIS were denied the lead 10 minutes later by a great save from Roganovic.
Scott Galloway's brilliant aerial pass found Stefan Mauk at the top of the box and Mauk volleyed towards the top corner only for Roganovic to acrobatically palm the ball away.
Barresi was the next to be denied by the home side's goalkeeper after he dribbled skilfully through Heart's defence but Roganovic's legs blocked his low shot.
Walker paid Roganovic back for his fine goalkeeping with five minutes to go before half time when he bent the ball over AIS goalkeeper Lucas Spinella for a cracking opening goal.
AIS should have equalised in the first minute after half-time when substitute Steve Kuzmanouski blasted the ball over from directly in front and Heart made the visitors pay yet again in the 57th minute when Walker grabbed his second, tapping in Kamal Ibrahim's cross.
The prolific scorer from Albury-Wodonga wrapped up the win and his hat trick with six minutes to go with a well-taken finish.
Daniel Peluso scored the final goal of the game when he sprinted onto Walker's through ball in the 91st minute.