Melbourne Victory 2-2 Central Coast Mariners
Melbourne Victory produced a good second-half performance to salvage a 2-2 draw against Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park in Melbourne this evening.
Victory remain in 6th place, while the Mariners are 3rd with three games in hand. If they were to win those three games now, they would be on top of the A-League ladder.
Daniel McBreen gave the Mariners the lead in the 29th minute when he ran onto Alex Wilkinson’s deep cross from the half-way line on the right. McBreen nodded the ball forward and outran two defenders before hitting the ball past Michael Petkovic from inside the box.
Archie Thompson could have had a first-half hat-trick for Melbourne, but he is not as sharp as he usually is, having had a forced 8-months lay off because of injury, and the chances went begging.
Melbourne’s back-three combined for the equaliser in the 62nd minute following Carlos Hernandez’s short corner. Billy Celeski floated the ball from the right towards the far post, where Kevin Muscat headed it back across goal for Adrian Leijer to back-head to the feet of Rodrigo Vargas, and he poked it home from close range.
Two minutes later, Victory were in front. A somewhat dubious free-kick was awarded against Pedrag Bojic when Robbie Kruse went down easily outside the left-hand side of the box. Hernandez sent his free-kick around the inside of the defensive wall and the ball curled back again and inside the top left-hand corner of the net with keeper Matt Ryan floundering.
Twelve minutes from the end, the Mariners grabbed a rather fortunate equaliser following a low corner delivered from the right and into the goal area. Wilkinson could only force the ball towards goal from the edge of the 6-yard box and Grant Brebner, in trying to clear, forced the ball off Petkovic’s leg and into the net for an own-goal.
Melbourne had two more excellent chances to earn the 3 points.
In the 82nd minute, a perfect cross from the right by substitute Tom Pondeljak was headed wide by Kruse when he should have hit the target.
And, 3 minutes from the end, a back-heel by Kruse put Marvin Angulo clear, but he sent his low shot wide of the right-hand post.
Melbourne Victory: Petkovic - Leijer, Muscat, Vargas - Broxham, Celeski (Pondeljak 79), Brebner, Angulo - Kruse, Hernandez (Dugandzic 83), Thompson (Ferreira 76) [Sub not used: Mattei]
Booked: Leijer, Brebner
Goals: Vargas 62, Hernandez 64
Central Coast Mariners: Ryan - Bojic, Wilkinson, Zwaanswijk, Rose - McGlinchey, Griffiths, Amini (Kwasnik 71), Bozanic - Simon, McBreen (Lewis 90) [Subs not used: Doig, Henderson]
Goals: McBreen 29, Petkovic 78 og
Ref: G Parsons