Archie gets 50 in draw

Melbourne Victory's Archie Thompson became the first player to notch 50 Hyundai A-League goals but Paul Ifill snatched a late point for Wellington Phoenix in a 2-2 draw between the two teams in the New Zealand capital.

Melbourne Victory's Archie Thompson became the first player to notch 50 Hyundai A-League goals but Paul Ifill snatched a late point for Wellington Phoenix in a 2-2 draw between the two teams in the New Zealand capital.

The visitors looked in trouble when Tim Brown gave the Phoenix an 18th-minute lead but hit back quickly through a 20th minute goal from Thompson - his first since returning from a knee reconstruction - and then took the lead through a 40th-minute effort from Robbie Kruse.

The one-goal margin looked a comfortable one until the 84th minute when Ifill slipped past three defenders and finished well on his right foot to score his third goal in a week and claim a share of the spoils for the home side.

The result sees both teams progress to 19 points, but Victory will feel it was another opportunity lost after controlling much of the game.

Wellington began the game strongly and could have had the lead on seven minutes when a defensive slip from Grant Brebner allowed Brown to round Michael Petkovic, but he could only hit the side netting. Ifill then had a right foot shot well saved by Petkovic.

Given the home side's early joy pressing forward it came as little surprise that they opened the scoring on 18 minutes. Vince Lia's clever header set Troy Hearfield free and he set it up for Brown to finish well from inside the box.

Stunned into action by their sudden deficit, less than 30 seconds later Carlos Hernandez should have levelled the scores for Melbourne, firing over from a tight angle.

Then on 22 minutes, Hernandez was given far too much time to pick out Thompson on the right and the marksman opened his 2010/11 account with a well-struck shot which gave Mark Paston no hope.

From that point it was all Victory and Kruse could have given them the lead almost immediately after playing a quick one-two with Hernandez, forcing Paston to make a desperate save. The Wellington keeper was on hand to deny Kruse again on 30 minutes.

It was a case of third time lucky for Kruse ten minutes later when Thompson set Billy Celeski free on the right and his cross was well turned in by the young striker for his sixth goal of the campaign.

Phoenix went to the break with their heads down but seconds after the resumption Brown could have levelled it, heading wide from Ifill's cross.

The experienced Victory hands then took the tempo out of the match, frustrating the home side for much of the final 45 minutes. But with about 15 minutes to go the momentum turned. Nick Ward's shot was deflected clear by Vargas, Jade North headed a shot straight at the keeper and then Ifill also failed to trouble Petkovic.

The Phoenix needed someone to break through the line and Ifill did just that, cutting a swathe through Melbourne's defence and then finishing superbly with six minutes left to make it 2-2.

With their tails up, the Phoenix pressed for the win and had several more chances to do that, but desperate defence did the job for Melbourne, who have now gone four games without a win.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Brown 18, Ifill 84) Melbourne Victory 2 (Thompson 20, Kruse 40) At Westpac Stadium, Wellington