Victory cruelly denied again

Melbourne Victory have again been denied a win by a late goal, forced to share a point with Gold Coast United after a 1-1 draw at Aurora Stadium on Wednesday.

Melbourne Victory have again been denied a win by a late goal, forced to share a point with Gold Coast United after a 1-1 draw at Aurora Stadium on Wednesday.

The impressive Harry Kewell struck with a 25-yard free-kick in the 66th minute, but Michael Thwaite levelled in stoppage time to help Gold Coast snatch a dramatic late point.

Victory were a minute away from giving Northern Irishman Jim Magilton, who took charge on January 7, his first win as coach.

They remain eighth after the draw, three points adrift of sixth-placed Sydney FC, ahead of Saturday's Melbourne derby.

Both teams had problems retaining possession early in the encounter, with Victory trying to get behind the Gold Coast defence with long diagonal passes.

The strike partnership of Archie Thompson and Jean Carlos Solorzano, up front in a 4-4-2, threatened on several occasions early on.

It was Thompson who had the first effort on goal, but he failed to generate enough power on his shot and debutant goalkeeper Chris O'Connor saved.

Gold Coast defender Kristian Rees fluffed a decent chance after finding space at the back post, before Victory created another great opportunity.

The dangerous Kewell, Solorzano and Thompson combined before the latter freed Marco Rojas on the right, but the Kiwi's shot was blocked by a desperate Ante Rozic.

Victory goalkeeper Ante Covic was called into action twice in a minute, denying Maceo Rigters and Peter Jungschlager.

Kewell started to become a serious threat on the left, forcing O'Connor into a save before his partly cleared cross fell for Thompson, who side-footed his effort just wide.

The Qantas Socceroo then went within inches of the opener after a long throw from defender Mark Milligan.

Kewell's header was saved by O'Connor, and the shot-stopper slapped away a rebound that almost crossed his goal line.

Solorzano had arguably the best chance of the first half in stoppage time.

Again Kewell was the architect, whipping in a lovely pass in behind the defence from the left, but O'Connor got down well to save Solorzano's shot with his feet.

Kewell rifled a free-kick over from 25 yards to start the second half, before Covic was forced into a stunning double save.

The shot-stopper got a strong left hand on a Gol-Gol Mebrahtu header, then denied the forward a second time.

Victory would get the opener and it was Kewell who deservedly netted his fourth goal of the campaign.

Solorzano won a free-kick after being fouled by Rees, and Kewell blasted a 25-yard effort through the wall and into the bottom corner.

Covic produced another excellent save to push away Mebrahtu's dipping free-kick as Miron Bleiberg's men pushed for an equaliser.

Thompson had the chance to seal it in a one-on-one with O'Connor, but he put his effort wide.

Victory were again made to pay when Thwaite popped up to score a 93rd-minute equaliser.

The former Victory defender collected a deft touch from Rigters, before holding off Leigh Broxham and placing his first ever goal into the bottom corner.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Harry Kewell 66) Gold Coast United 1 (Michael Thwaite 90) @ Aurora Stadium