Melbourne Victory was held to a 1-1 draw by the Central Coast Mariners in the Isuzu UTE A-League on Wednesday.
Victory had the better chances in Gosford, where it went ahead through Nick D’Agostino in the first half.
But the Mariners equalised with six minutes remaining through Nicolai Muller as Victory was denied a third straight win.
After an even opening 15 minutes, Victory started to grow into the contest.
Roderick Miranda was needed to clear a Jason Cummings strike before Victory created two excellent chances.
Marco Rojas saw a left-footed strike tipped around the post by Mark Birighitti before the Mariners goalkeeper also saved Brendan Hamill’s header from a Jake Brimmer corner.
Victory continued to threaten and Birighitti used his feet to deny Ben Folami, who was played in by the lively Rojas in the 25th minute.
The visitor was creating the bulk of the chances and Birighitti made another save, this time an easier stop, from Josh Brillante’s header following a Brimmer corner.
The Mariners looked set to be reduced to 10 men when Lewis Miller, already on a yellow card, brought down Folami, but the referee decided against sending the Central Coast full-back off.
Victory opened the scoring seven minutes before half-time through D’Agostino’s seventh league goal of the season.
After D’Agostino chased Roderick’s long pass, Dan Hall under-hit his attempted back pass and the forward tucked away another clinical finish.
Victory almost doubled its lead just after the hour-mark, but Birighitti made a good save from Rojas, who was put in behind by D’Agostino, before Jason Davidson almost picked out the bottom corner.
The Mariners created a good chance with 10 minutes remaining, but Marco Urena headed a Josh Nisbet cross wide.
However, Central Coast equalised through Muller, who finished on the turn from inside the area with six minutes left.
Chris Ikonomidis almost found a 90th-minute winner for Victory as his effort flew wide as the spoils were shared in Gosford.
What they said – Brillante
on the game…
“Frustrated is the word for us today. I thought we controlled most of the game until the end there. We dropped off a bit and let them come back in the game. We had a few chances earlier on, if we put them away then it would’ve been a different game. I think it’s a good thing to feel that we’re frustrated to only take a point away from home.”
“He’s on fire. He’s a very aggressive and sharp player. With the way he presses, he can always pinch goals like that and I’m sure he’s going to get a few more this season.”
Player in focus
Roderick Miranda produced a strong performance for Victory. As well as playing the pass that led to D’Agostino’s opener, the defender was strong at the back for Victory.
The point lifted Victory into fourth on the table, although it still has at least a game in hand on every team above it.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 Round 11
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Nicolai Muller 84′)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Nick D’Agostino 38′)
Central Coast Mariners: Birighitti (gk); Miller (Bayliss 78′), Hall, Rowles, Farrell (Smith 78′); N’Kololo, Nisbet, Bozanic (c), Goddard (Muller 58′); Urena, Cummings.
Melbourne Victory: Kelava (gk); Geria, Hamill, Roderick, Davidson (Nigro 82′); Brillante (c), Broxham; Rojas (Velupillay 75′), Brimmer (Kruse 75′), Folami (Ikonomidis 68′); D’Agostino (Margiotta 68′).
Yellow cards: Miller 28′, Kelava 45+1′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Victory heads to Japan to take on Vissel Kobe in an AFC Champions League play-off on Tuesday.