Mariners' late comeback stuns Melbourne City


Central Coast Mariners came back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Melbourne City thanks to a goal deep into injury-time by captain John Hutchinson.

Goals from Mate Dugandzic and Erik Paartalu in an entertaining match at AAMI Park appeared to have given City a comfortable win but the Mariners scored twice in the last 11 minutes with goals from distance from substitute Glen Trifiro and Hutchinson to crown a stirring performance.

City is still in the top six but the Mariners' comeback will encourage a team that has not won since day one of the competition.

City opened strongly and after Irishman Damien Duff tested Liam Reddy with a firm drive it opened the scoring after 10 minutes.

Iain Ramsey floated an inswinging cross into space and Dugandzic lunged forward to find the net with a diving glancing header.

The Mariners, who were chasing the first win since matchday one, replied with a low drive from Nick Fitzgerald that was turned to corner by the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

The away team was playing with purpose and having the lion's share of possession which would have offered encouragment to under-pressure coach Phil Moss.

In a lively match that ebbed and flowed City fullback Jason Hoffman went on a run down the right side and curled a cross for David Williams but the striker was fractionally too late to make proper contact.

Williams then hit a thunderous rising shot from 25 metres that was tipped over the bar by Reddy.

The Mariners received a let-off just before the break when poor defensive play allowed Hoffman to pounce on a loose ball but the fullback's lofted attempt at goal was palmed over the bar by Reddy, who ended the half as much the busier goalkeeper.

Striker Matt Sim wasted a glorious chance to draw the Mariners level a minute into the second half when he shot straight at Redmayne after he was put cleanly through by Mitch Duke.

The Mariners were made to pay for their wastefulness seven minutes later when midfielder Paartalu rose highest to meet a corner kick from Duff and planted the ball home with a thumping header.

Williams should have made it three soon after but he blasted the ball over the bar from an excellent position.

City was in control and three teasing crosses from the marauding Duff exposed the Mariners' defence but scoring opportunities were missed.

Reddy then flew sideways to turn a powerful shot from Jacob Melling to corner as City threatened run away from the Mariners.

Substitute Trifiro gave the Mariners a lifeline with a sublime free kick that dipped into the net 11 minutes from time.

The Mariners eaned a point when Hutchinson found the net with a low shot from outside the penalty area with almost the last kick of the match.

Source: SBS