Melbourne Heart's extraordinary run continues, and the improbable dream of a finals berth remains alive for another week.

John van't Schip's side saw off the challenge of A-League title favourites Brisbane Roar 1-0 through a second-half Orlando Engelaar strike, setting up a blockbuster derby meeting with Melbourne Victory next Saturday night.

In the process the league's cellar dwellers took their current winning streak to four in a row; since the Dutchman replaced John Aloisi just after Christmas Heart has won five, drawn two and lost only once in eight games, picking up 17 points from a possible 24.

The red and whites now have 21 points, and while they are still bottom of the table it is only on goal difference as they are level on points with Perth Glory.

Amazingly, given they took only four points from their first 12 games, they are only six points off sixth-placed Central Coast Mariners.

Brisbane, on the other hand, is beginning to look decidedly wobbly; this was its second defeat in as many matches, having lost at home to Newcastle a week ago.

The Queenslanders remain top of the table, but their lead over second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers is now only four points, and in truth they created few clear cut openings in this game.

Heart began with the sort of conviction that might have been expected of a side that won 5-0 away from home just seven days earlier.

Its confidence has grown considerably as its form has improved and it showed little fear of the league leaders as it began at a quick tempo.

Jonathan Germano has missed much of the season through injury but now the combative Argentine utility is back and Heart's midfield has been the beneficiary. Alongside Massimo Murdocca, the red and whites have a pair with an enormous work-rate. Both don't mind getting stuck in and putting pressure on the ball carrier in any part of the field.

Germano linked well with the attack as eary as the fourth minute when he teamed up with Iain Ramsay, who made space before producing a shot that was smothered by Michael Theo in the Brisbane goal.

With Mate Dugandzic happy to take on Shane Stefanutto down the Heart right, the opening dozen or so minutes looked good for the hosts.

But, after Thomas Broich's speculative long range shot Brisbane seemed to shake itself into action.

It's not that it created numerous opportunities - it didn't - but it maintained posession and recycled the ball in the manner to which we have all become accustomed in the past few years.

Besart Berisha shot over but neither he nor his fellow forwards, Henrique or Liam Miller,could muster a direct threat, with Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne's only real moment of first-half vigilance coming when he was required to deal with a Luke Brattan free-kick, which he held comfortably.

Orlando Engelaar is a massive physical presence and for a man of 196 centimetres his first touch and delicate ball skills are exceptional.

The former Dutch international has, in the view of his coach, not yet made the impact he can since his return from a broken leg, but he was a constant presence in the centre of the park for Heart on Sunday as he cajoled and organised, blocked and got a foot in, and tried to inspire his team as it pressed for an advantage in the second half.

And it was the big Dutch international who broke the deadlock on the hour mark, scoring for the second week in a row after some terrific build-up play from Dugandzic.

The winger picked the ball up wide on the right, nutmegged Luke Brattan and then delivered a beautifully weighted cross to the far post where Engelaar, who had ghosted in from midfield, stood unmarked with the time and space needed to calmly volley home with his left foot.

Heart centre-back Patrick Kisnorbo, who has scored twice with headers from set pieces already this season, went close with another header from a corner as the hosts went in search of a sealer to continue their tremendous run.

Heart had a great chance to double its advantage with 20 minutes remaining when it was awarded an indirect free-kick some eight metres from the Roar goal after a frantic goalmouth scramble when the ball appeared to stick between Berisha's legs.

With the entire Roar team on the goal-line, the ball was tapped back to Engelaar, but his thunderous shot was charged down.

The Roar rearguard was shaken and Socceroo defender Ivan Franjic sliced a wild clearance off for a corner, which Heart substitute Nick Kalmar headed over.

Broich had had a quiet game, but the German is still dangerous when given an opportunity and he came close with a shot that sailed past the post with 11 minutes remaining.

Berisha almost stole an undeserved equaliser in stoppage time only to be denied by a tremendous Kisnorbo challenge as he bore down on goal.

Ladder after round 20

P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 20 12 2 6 33 18 15 38
Western Sydney Wanderers 20 9 7 4 25 19 6 34
Melbourne Victory 20 8 6 6 30 32 -2 30
Sydney FC 20 9 1 10 27 28 -1 28
Adelaide United 20 7 6 7 33 28 5 27
Central Coast Mariners 20 7 6 7 20 26 -6 27
Wellington Phoenix 20 7 5 8 30 29 1 26
Newcastle Jets 20 6 5 9 20 27 -7 23
Perth Glory 20 5 6 9 19 24 -5 21
Melbourne Heart 20 5 6 9 24 30 -6 21