Victory women held to draw

Melbourne Victory women endured stoppage-time drama for the second week in a row, conceding a late own goal to high-flying Sydney FC and ending the match 1-1 at Shepparton's Deakin Reserve.

Melbourne Victory women endured stoppage-time drama for the second week in a row, conceding a late own goal to high-flying Sydney FC and ending the match 1-1 at Shepparton's Deakin Reserve.

American import Julianne Sitch, who returned to the Victory line-up, put Melbourne ahead on 62 minutes only for Sydney FC to knick what was deemed a Maika Ruyter-Hooley own goal on 95 minutes.

Sydney, which had been in blistering form of late having put six goals past Adelaide last week, dominated proceedings in the first half with Victory stopper Melissa Barbieri forced into a string of saves.

Melbourne Victory player Laura Alleway was disappointed to drop the two points but felt the side was indebted to its trusty keeper.

"Shattered to go down late on, the girls dug really deep and played really hard. Melissa Barbieri had an absolute blinder of a game," she said.

Veteran defender Marlies Oostdam earned an instant recall to join the unrelenting Sitch in a strengthened Melbourne line-up.

It was Sydney though that smothered the Victory in midfield early on, with lively captain Heather Garriock squeezing a shot from a tight angle only for Barbieri to tip over on 22 minutes.

Catherine Paaske was threatening too, her pace through the middle posed a constant headache for Melbourne in the first half.

But after the break it was a different looking Melbourne outfit and Sitch arrested a goalless first half to put Melbourne's wheels in motion with an amazing run and sublime finish.

Forward Thorlakson's robustness was starting to create space and opportunities on goal for the Victory with wide support coming from Katrina Gorry and Kara Mowbray.

Co-captain Tal Karp was subbed on for Enza Barilla just after the goal as Melbourne took it up to Sydney.

But a double substitution from the away side bringing on Michelle Carney and Catherine Cannulli for Leena Khamis and Julie Rydahl proved the catalyst with Melbourne unable to withstand the late onslaught.

Despite some improved second-half defending and possession the Victory couldn't keep out a late deflection after a goal mouth scramble.

Melbourne experienced vastly different emotions last week after Deanna Niceski's late winner against the Jets but this week it was that of disappointment with the resilient Sydney doing the late damage.

With a host of chances in the first half Sydney might argue it should've won the game, but Alleway was impressed with her team-mates' performance, in particular that of Sitch.

"It's just incredible really, we've got Julianne in the middle who just rips players to pieces, she has been outstanding, I don't really have words for her," she said.

"We're a better team this season and Katie (Thorlakson) gives us so much strength up front," said Alleway of the Victory's international recruits.

"We still have a few things to work on, we've got five Queenslanders in the team which is difficult to coordinate because we live so far away from each other, but we work for each other and that's what's great about the team this season."