A spectacular free-kick from Leroy George helped Melbourne Victory to a 1-1 draw against the Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League.
George produced a moment of magic in the 65th minute, cancelling out Connor Pain’s opener at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday night.
Victory had squandered numerous opportunities before Pain’s opener, with Thomas Deng hitting the post in the first half.
Pain scored a fine individual goal before George ensured Victory took a point from the Round 4 clash.
Victory made one change to the XI that drew 2-2 in Adelaide, with Mitch Austin rewarded for his equaliser by coming into the side.
George took the suspended Besart Berisha’s spot up front, with Austin starting on the left.
George almost set up the opener after 25 seconds as Mark Milligan received his pass and burst through, but the Victory star was denied in a one-on-one by Tom Glover.
Glover was forced into another save after 12 minutes, keeping out a George effort from an angle relatively comfortably.
Victory looked the more likely, but did need a last-ditch Jason Geria clearance to stay level midway through the first half.
Milligan curled a 20-yard free-kick just over approaching the half-hour mark as Victory continued to search for an opener.
It almost arrived eight minutes before half-time as Deng’s header from a George corner crashed off the post.
George forced Glover into a save just prior to the break, his header from a James Troisi cross lacking the power to trouble the goalkeeper.
Victory continued to threaten after the interval as Kosta Barbarouses, who moved central as George shifted to the right, fired just wide from 20 yards.
As the visitors pushed, the Mariners took the lead through Pain just before the hour-mark.
The former Victory attacker skipped inside from the left before firing an effort into the top corner from just inside the area.
Victory levelled soon after through George, who curled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards after Troisi was fouled.
Pain almost restored the Mariners’ lead in the 72nd minute, but his spectacular left-footed effort struck the crossbar.
The hosts hit the post again through Kwabena Appiah-Kubi as the teams shared the spoils despite an entertaining finish.
Victory is back at home in Round 5, hosting the Western Sydney Wanderers at Etihad Stadium on Monday, November 6.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 4
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Connor Pain 58′)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Leroy George 65′)
Central Coast Mariners: Glover (gk), Rose, Golec, Baro (c), Roux (McGing 45′), Brama, Hiariej, De Silva, Pain (Appiah-Kubi 75′), Asdrubal (Bingham 90+1′), Hoole
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Broxham, Williams, Deng, Geria, Valeri (c) (Sanchez 84′), Milligan, Troisi, Austin (Ingham 70′), George (Theoharous 80′), Barbarouses
Yellow cards: Asdrubal 31′, Deng 48′, Broxham 70′, Valeri 74′, Hoole 90+2′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford