Points Shared as Mariners Hold Victory

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A crowd of 9,674 were treated to a cracking game of football between Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park tonight.

The hosts came from a goal down to lead 2-1 only to concede an equaliser resulting in both sides taking a point apiece.

It was an even first half, but Victory striker Archie Thompson had a great chance to open the scoring when he was set up by a superb slide rule pass from Carlos Hernandez. However, his effort was tame and straight at Matt Ryan who saved comfortably.

The opening goal arrived just on the half hour when Alex Wilkinson’s ball over the top set Daniel McBreen free. The striker raced through and fired left footed through the legs of Michael Petkovic in the Victory goal.

Eight minutes into the second period, Thompson had another glorious chance to get on the scoresheet after linking superbly again with Hernandez. The Costa Rican’s through ball left Thompson one on one with Ryan but his effort was tame and easy for the keeper.

Victory did restore parity just after the hour. A high looping ball to the back post was headed across goal by Kevin Muscat, Adrian Leijer provided the knock down and Rodrigo Vargas applied the final touch.

That goal finally got the majority of the crowd involved and they were rewarded just two minutes when Carlos Hernandez stepped up and curled a stunning 25 yard free kick into the top left hand corner.

Last season’s Player of the Year has endured a difficult campaign to date but there is no denying his touch of class when it was really needed. Indeed, Hernandez nearly added to his collection of wonder goals shortly afterwards but his dipping long range volley went just over.

Somewhat against the run of play however Central Coast drew level in freakish circumstances. An inswinging corner dropped inside the six yard box and in the midst of a scramble, Victory midfielder Grant Brebner cannoned a clearance off Petkovic which rebounded into the net.

Robbie Kruse then wasted a glorious chance to put Victory back in front but his header from Tom Pondeljak’s cross flashed agonisingly wide of Ryan’s right hand post.

The final ten minutes ebbed and flowed but failed to produce any real chances for either side to claim all three points and the contest finished 2-2.

Melbourne Victory: M Petkovic, K Muscat, L Broxham, G Brebner, A Thompson, M Angulo, R Vargas, B Celeski, C Hernandez, R Kruse, A Leijer.

Subs: S Mattei, M Dugandzic, D Ferreira, T Pondeljak.

Central Coast Mariners:
M Ryan, D McBreen, J Rose, P Bojic, P Zwannswijk, R Griffiths, O Bozanic, M McGlinchey, A Wilkinson, M Simon, M Amini.

Subs: P Henderson, M Lewis, C Doig, A Kwasnik.

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