NYL points shared in Melbourne

After heading for a goalless stalemate Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Youth burst to life in a five-minute frenzy that landed the sides a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

After heading for a goalless stalemate Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Youth burst to life in a five-minute frenzy that landed the sides a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

Captain Panagiotis Nikas converted a controversial penalty for the Mariners in the 90th minute when all hope of a victory looked lost for both sides before Bradley Norton caught the visitors napping a minute later to steal a point for Melbourne.

After a second half devoid of chances, Nikas profited from a questionable foul by Diogo Ferreira on Mitchell Mallia in the box, to slot the ball into the bottom right corner from the spot.

Then just seconds later, the Mariners- defence, still rejoicing from the goal, were caught napping as Norton received a long ball, took a touch and calmly swept the ball past an unsuspecting Nikodin Matic in the Central Coast goal.

Both sides could be excused for expecting the match to peter out before the stoppage-time drama hit. Indeed it was a match that had 0-0 written all over it from the outset.

Both Melbourne and the Central Coast pressed in the first half but couldn-t penetrate that last line with a final ball and were guilty of being caught offside time after time.

The Victory strikers in Nathan Elasi and Tedros Yabbio had their work cut out with twin towers Matthew Liddall and Adam Ormsby rock solid in the heart of the Mariner-s defence.

And it was the Central Coast that just shaded proceedings in the first half, Nicholas Fitzgerald forced a fine low save out of Sebastian Mattei before Shane Huke saw his unmarked header from six yards smash into the cross bar.

On the other hand, Melbourne couldn-t break the logjam in the middle and looked disjointed with key players out of the side, often passes missed their mark in a patchy first half.

It wasn-t until late in the half that Melbourne saw it best chance. Yabbio cut in from the left and produced a dipping shot from the edge of the box that almost caught out the keeper who could only just tip the fine effort over the bar.

It was more of the same in the second half with both sides trying in vain to assert their authority.

Elasi ran onto a nice little flick from substitute Matthew Demo after 70 minutes but could only fire his shot straight at the keeper and that marked one of only a few chances created.

Then with stoppage time approaching the drama unfolded.

The Mariners scored the penalty when their appeared to be little contact in the foul and the Victory would probably feel justice was served when they equalised moments later in a match neither side deserved to win.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Norton 90+1) Central Coast 1 (Nikas 90)