Draw for Victory and Mariners

Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw in their Youth League clash at a wet and windy Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw in their Youth League clash at a wet and windy Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Experienced striker Nik Mrdja gave Central Coast the lead just before half-time with a powerful strike, before Milos Lujic equalised 10 minutes after the interval to ensure the points were shared.

The draw helps neither team, with Melbourne still sitting in sixth place on the Youth League table with four points, while Central Coast is separated only by goal difference in seventh.

Central Coast started the match in style, but Mrdja lacked support up front and Victory keeper Mitch Langerak was barely forced into a save.

After a brief appearance as a substitute the previous night for Victory-s senior team, Carlos Hernandez was out to impress, but the Costa Rican international could only manage a long range effort from a free kick as the home side struggled in the final third of the pitch.

Just after the half hour mark, Victory defender Matthew Foschini made a good run down the right and picked out striker Dimitri Hatzimouratis with a lovely ball, but Mariners- keeper Andrew Redmayne made a fine save at close range.

Then just three minutes prior to the interval, Mrdja turned the game on its head with a lovely strike from the top of the box.

Andre Gumprecht collected an errant Victory pass in the middle of the pitch, held the ball up well, before finding Mrdja with a lovely back heel which the Mariners striker rifled past Langerak and into the back of the net.

Hernandez was substituted off at half-time, but that didn-t stop Melbourne creating a host of chances and they were duly rewarded with a goal on 55 minutes.

Mathew Theodore found Steve Pantelidis on the corner of the box and the Victory midfielder unleashed a shot which Redmayne couldn-t quite control as Lujic was on hand at the back post to prod home the goal.

With both teams searching for a winning goal, the game opened up in the final half an hour, but neither side could find the back of the net.

Second half substitute Darko Vidovic - who replaced Mrdja after 58 minutes - came closest for Central Coast when he shot wide of goal with just Langerak to beat, while David D-Apuzzo couldn-t get close on a free kick from just outside the box.

Theodore found plenty of space in the middle of the park for Melbourne and despite the fact the home side through plenty of numbers forward in search for a second goal, the game was still deadlocked at the final whistle.

Match Details

Melbourne Victory 1 (Milos Lujic 56-) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Nik Mrdja 42-)

Bob Jane Stadium, Melbourne Saturday 22 November 2008 Referee: Lucien Lavedure Assistant Referees: Alex Lord, Kris Flynn Fourth Official: Alex Azcurra

Melbourne Victory line-up: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Steve PANTELIDIS (OA), 4.Matthew FOSCHINI, 5.Fabio DI LIZIA, 6.Cameron DRAKE, 9.Mathew THEODORE, 10.Milos LUJIC, 11.Dimitri HATZIMOURATIS (7.Aziz BEHICH 59-), 12.Leigh BROXHAM (8.Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 61-), 14.Carlos HERNANDEZ (15.Mifit BOJKU 45-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Mijo MARINOVIC (gk)

Yellow cards: Fabio Di Lizia 54-, Milos Lujic 67- Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners line-up: 30.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Steven TIBBETTS (12.Scott WRIGHT 60-), 3.Chris TADROSSE (OA), 5.Nathan SHERLOCK, 6.Andre GUMPRECHT (OA), 7.Matthew LEWIS, 8.David D'APUZZO, 9.Brady SMITH, 13.Laurence BRAUDE, 16.Nik MRDJA (OA) (11.Darko VIDOVIC 59-), 17.Sean MITCHELL (10.Glen TRIFIRO 56-)

Substitutes not used: Nil

Yellow cards: Darko Vidovic 68- Red Cards: Nil