Melbourne Victory was held to a 1-1 draw by Western United as Leigh Broxham celebrated his 350th Isuzu UTE A-League appearance on Wednesday.
Broxham came off the bench in the second half at AAMI Park to become the first player to play 350 Isuzu UTE A-League games for a single club.
His side was already 1-0 down after Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s header, but Brendan Hamill equalised with five minutes remaining after Victory squandered numerous chances.
Victory required an excellent save from Ivan Kelava to stay level in the eighth minute.
Kelava did well to tip over a powerful volley from Steven Lustica in what was the first chance of the game.
Victory also needed a clearance off the line before Jake Brimmer fired a 20-yard effort straight at Western United goalkeeper Jamie Young in the 16th minute.
Just five minutes later and Lustica tested Kelava again, the Victory shot-stopper pushing away a 20-yard strike.
Western created another chance just before the half-hour mark, but Topor-Stanley put a difficult header from a Lachlan Wales corner well off target.
As a tight first half came to an end, Victory improved and Jason Davidson tried his luck with a long-range free-kick, but Young saved comfortably.
Brimmer also tested Young before Victory almost struck on the stroke of half-time.
A cross into the area was cleared into the path of Francesco Margiotta, who crashed a volley into the crossbar.
But Topor-Stanley opened the scoring two minutes into the second half, heading in from close range after a corner.
Margiotta threatened again a few minutes later, his strike from an angle saved by Young after Marco Rojas’ effort was blocked into his path.
Victory was continuing to build and Brimmer saw a powerful shot from 25 yards well tipped over by Young in the 53rd minute.
Young denied the home side again just after the hour-mark, making a great save from Rojas’ strike after the New Zealander created space inside the area.
Victory was starting to dominate the contest and Nishan Velupillay’s header from Rojas’ clipped cross from the right was saved by Young.
After Aleksandar Prijovic put a front-post header wide, Chris Ikonomidis was denied by yet another great save by Young after cutting inside from the left.
Broxham came on in the 78th minute as Victory pushed, but Young again denied it, his right hand enough to keep out a Jason Geria strike.
Victory would finally find a deserved equaliser with five minutes remaining as Hamill put away a Davidson cross as the spoils were shared.
What they said – Hamill
on the game…
“They were never going to give us the game. There’s a reason why they’re towards the top of the table, very good defensive unit so they were never going to give it. We had to work hard, be patient with the ball, create opportunities and I think we did tonight. We could’ve got a few more, but I guess we’ve got to work on our set-pieces defensively, we’ve copped a few over the past couple of games so something to work on as a collective.”
on the set-pieces…
“They’ve got some big boys, but so do we. We’ve been defending them very well all season, just the past couple of matches we’ve lacked a little bit of detail so it’s something to fix as a collective, but overall I think we created a lot of chances, disappointing to not give our home fans the three points they deserved tonight.”
Player in focus
Hamill stepped up against his former club. The defender tucked away the equaliser after Victory had been frustrated by Young.
Victory was held to a third straight 1-1 draw in the league. It sits sixth but still holds games in hand on teams above it.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 Round 13
Melbourne Victory 1 (Brendan Hamill 85′)
Western United 1 (Nikolai Topor-Stanley 47′)
Melbourne Victory: Kelava (gk); Geria, Hamill, Roderick, Davidson; Brillante (c) (Kirdar 78′), Marchan (Broxham 78′); Rojas, Brimmer, Velupillay (Ikonomidis 68′); Margiotta.
Western United: Young (gk); Risdon (c) (Skotadis 22′), Imai, Topor-Stanley, Garuccio; Lustica, Krhin; Pierias (Wenzel-Halls 86′), Wales, Pain (Bayew 89′); Prijovic.
Yellow cards: Risdon 13′, Imai 40′, Marchan 78′, Roderick 90+2′, Wales 90+4′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory’s busy run of games continues with a meeting against the Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Sunday.