A superb second-half strike from Emily Gielnik was enough for Melbourne Victory to salvage a draw away to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday evening.
Victory came into the game in search of a third consecutive away win.
However, it was the Mariners who came out firing early in the contest.
Just five minutes into the contest, a cross from the left side of the Victory box found its way through to Peta Trimis, who was able to poke it home and give the hosts an early advantage.
The Mariners almost doubled their lead a few minutes later through Bianca Galic’s shot, but fortunately for Victory the ball rolled just wide of the post.
Victory’s first major chance of the game arose following a nice run from McKenzie Weinert, who played the ball through to Alex Chidiac in the box, but the reigning Julie Dolan medallist was unable to direct her shot on target.
Jeff Hopkins’ team were unable to find a way back level in the first half, with the early goal proving enough for the Mariners to lead at the break.
Emily Gielnik almost made it an ideal start to the second half for Victory, using her pace to get past an opponent and fire a shot on target, but the effort was palmed away by Casey Dumont in the Mariners’ goal.
Gielnik though was only warming up.
In the 66th minute, a long ball was once again played to the striker, who skipped past a couple of defenders before firing a blistering strike into the top corner.
A magnificent solo effort from Gielnik, whose goal re-enlivened the possibility of a Victory win.
A second goal very nearly arrived right after the first, when Alex Chidiac’s shot from outside the box drew another strong save from the goalkeeper.
Hopkins made use of his bench as the second half progressed, with Jessika Nash, Lia Privitelli, Alana Murphy and Kurea Okino all brought on in search of the winner.
Weinert had the best chances to win the game, but narrowly missed out on each occasion as the game edged towards its conclusion.
Ultimately the spoils were shared, with Victory extending their unbeaten run to five games as a result.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Trimis 6′) Melbourne Victory 1 (Gielnik 66′)
Liberty A-League – Round 17
Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 16 February
Kick-off: 7.00pm (AEDT)
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