Victory forced to settle for a point

Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Aurora Stadium in Tasmania on Saturday afternoon.

Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Aurora Stadium in Tasmania on Saturday afternoon.

In Archie Thompson's 150th match for Victory, the hosts dominated the first half and took a deserved lead through Marcos Flores after Marco Rojas had earlier missed a penalty.

But the A-League's leading scorer Daniel McBreen equalised for the Mariners late in the second half via the penalty spot.

The result leaves Victory in third place, still trailing the ladder-leading Mariners by seven points.

Victory started brightly and almost took the lead two minutes in, but Thompson's shot was well saved by Matthew Ryan.

The hosts continued to dominate early and Mark Milligan went close with a cracking volley before Thompson fluffed another chance after a great cross from Rojas.

Central Coast finally carved out their first meaningful attack after 16 minutes, but Nathan Coe was on hand to produce a smart save from Adam Kwasnik's close-range effort.

Thompson wasted yet another glorious chance after Rojas unselfishly played him through before captain Adrian Leijer headed wide following a corner.

Flores earned Victory a spot kick when he was floored by Nick Montgomery in the penalty area, with the Mariners midfielder lucky to escape a second yellow card having already been booked earlier in the half.

Rojas stepped up to take the penalty but his effort cannoned off the right post and bounced to safety.

Victory's dominance was finally rewarded in the 42nd minute when Flores capped off a fine move with his second goal in as many matches.

Rojas brought the ball down the left flank and fed Adama Traore, who expertly cut the ball back for Flores to finish smartly with his left foot.

Frustrated Central Coast boss Graham Arnold was sent to the stands just prior to half-time for dissent towards the referee, much to the delight of the pro-Victory crowd.

The second half failed to match the first in terms of goal-mouth action, although Coe produced a stunning save to deny Michael McGlinchy when the Mariners midfielder looked certain to score.

Rojas had the chance to put Victory two up, but his shot was charged down by Ryan and the goalkeeper was on hand again to tip over Rojas' attempted lob from the rebound.

With time ticking away, the Mariners found a way back into the match when referee Jarred Gillett awarded the visitors a penalty after Leijer tried to clear the ball but only found McGlinchy's neck with a raised leg.

McBreen made no mistake with the spot kick to level the scores with just under 15 minutes remaining.

Milligan almost found the winner when he latched onto Billy Celeski's clever chip, but the Socceroo fired his volley harmlessly over the bar and Leijer also spurned another great chance with his header drifting agonisingly wide.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Flores 42) Central Coast Mariners 1 (McBreen 77 pen) Crowd: 6238 at Aurora Stadium