Melbourne City has recorded a second-consecutive draw in the Izuzu UTE A-League, with its Sunday night clash against Western Sydney Wanderers finishing 3-3 by the final whistle.
James Troisi and Jack Rodwell had the Wanderers up by two goals early, before City hit the lead through a Dimitri Petratos own-goal, Jamie Maclaren and Marco Tilio. Keijiro Ogawa netted the equalising third for the Wanderers to see the points shared.
With many of the boys involved in 120 minutes of FFA Cup action midweek, Patrick Kisnorbo combatted player fatigue with a host of changes to face Western Sydney. Jamie Maclaren returned from suspension to spearhead the City attack alongside Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout, whilst Connor Metcalfe and Aiden O’Neill slotted back into midfield having only featured off the bench midweek. Rostyn Griffiths shifted from midfield to central defence where he partnered Nuno Reis, flanked by Scott Jamieson and Scott Galloway on either side.
It was a poor start from City, with the midfield and defence failing to put any pressure on James Troisi five minutes in as the Wanderers midfielder rifled one into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Just three minutes later, City were caught out again in transition with Jack Rodwell slipped through into the area and finding the back of the net via the inside of the upright to hand his side an early two-goal lead.
Fortunately, the City boys were able to claw their way back into the contest with a goal in the 16th minute. Galloway was found at the back post with a squaring ball across goal and his shot ricocheted off Dimitri Petratos before winding up in the back of the net.
Three minutes later, City came within inches of equalising thanks to a crossbar-crashing strike from Jamieson, who ran onto a loose ball inside the area but couldn’t work his effort just a fraction lower.
The action continued later in the first half, with City finding that much-needed equalising second in the 36th minute. From the corner, Maclaren was able to find separation from his marker and head perfectly across goal and into the back of the net to square things up at 2-2.
City had a great chance to go ahead right on 45’, with the ball looping towards the back post following a corner where Maclaren looked destined to tap it in, but the striker was uncharacteristically unable to turn it goal-ward and the ball went out for a goal-kick.
Whilst the team would have been hoping to avoid a repeat of their start to the first half, they were very nearly caught out early again, with Tom Glover pulling off a good, low diving save to deny Keijiro Ogawa in the 48th minute.
Marco Tilio was introduced to the contest in the 56th minute and didn’t take long to make an impact, scoring an absolute stunner from the edge of the area to put City ahead for the first time on the night. Nabbout provided the assist for Tilio’s strike, playing a ball inside for the youngster to take a touch before thrashing his shot into the back of the net.
City’s lead was short-lived, however, with the Wanderers finding an equaliser in the 68th minute. Denied earlier in the half, Ogawa was found with a ball over the top of the City defence and this time was able to finish his one-on-one chance with Glover.
The madness continued in the 71st when a shot from Leckie deflected into Maclaren’s midriff and trickled towards goal, with the City striker joining a host of Wanderers defenders in rushing after the ball to get the decisive touch, but it was Adama Traore who was able to clear off the line.
A tense 20 minutes followed, but neither side could find the decisive goal and the points were shared as the final scoreline remained 3-3.
The result ticks City over to nine points from six games in 2021/22, but the team will be looking for a more positive result when they travel to face Adelaide United next Sunday.