A wonder strike from Nick D’Agostino ensured embattled Melbourne Victory snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday night at Coopers Stadium.
However, a 1-1 draw was not the result neither the Victory or Adelaide United wanted in their attempts to reignite their A-League seasons.
Since the resumption of the competition following the break for the World Cup, Adelaide has picked up just five points from a possible 18, while the Victory have acquired just four from a possible 15.
The Victory have also been hit with sanctions following last month’s pitch invasion at the Melbourne derby.
Those sanctions include Victory fans being banned from attending games, which affected the atmosphere on Saturday night at the latest “Original Rivalry” clash.
However, there was still a crowd of more than 11,000 in attendance and the Reds supporters were up off their seats in just the seventh minute when Socceroos star Craig Goodwin scored his fifth goal of the season to give the hosts the lead.
Fellow attacker Ben Halloran was the architect. cutting inside from the right, and weaving his way past four Victory defenders before feeding Goodwin.
The Reds skipper then got the better of the Victory fullback Jason Geria before curling a right-footed shot into the top corner of the net.
Halloran was again causing problems for the Victory four minutes later with a shot that forced a good save out of goalkeeper Matt Acton
Up the other end, Reds custodian Joe Gauci stood tall in the 27th minute to deny Victory midfielder Jake Brimmer.
Adelaide – who were coached by usual assistant Mark Milligan in the absence of the ill Carl Veart – led 1-0 at the break, but the Victory were back on level terms four minutes into the second half with a contender from D’Agostino for goal of the season.
Fed by his captain Josh Brillante, Agostino unleashed a first-time strike from 20 metres out that flew past keeper Gauci into the top corner of the net.
D’Agostino’s third goal of the season was just the Victory’s 10th of what has been an ordinary campaign
The Victory – who were playing their first game since losing superstar Nani to a serious knee injury for the rest of the season – then had a golden chance in the 86th minute to secure all three points,
However, substitute Lleyton Brooks spurned the opportunity when he blazed his shot over the crossbar with only gloveman Gauci to beat.
Despite being disappointed at the Victory’s failure to secure a much-needed win, D’Agostino said his team could build from the performance.
“The boss (coach Tony Popovic) keeps telling us that we face adversity every week so we’ve got to overcome that,” D’Agostino told Network 10.
“We did that. It was a good start tonight.”
Adelaide defender Alex Popovic said the draw was a “missed opportunity” for the Reds.
“It was disappointing for the boys not to get the three points,” Popovic said.