Despite firing off 31 shots to just two, Melbourne City was held to a 1-1 draw away to Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
City went into the break trailing, before a curling second half finish from Richard van der Venne ensured it wouldn’t be returning home with nothing.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic continued his ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ approach, sticking with an unchanged line-up for the fifth match in a row.
Starting XI: 1. Tom GLOVER (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 6. Thomas LAM, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Jordan BOS, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 8. Richard VAN DER VENNE, 14. Valon BERISHA, 23. Marco TILIO, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.
Substitutes: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 4. Nuno REIS, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 16. Taras GOMULKA.
On a warm day in Parramatta, neither side was able to burst out the blocks – although City did start the better of the two teams.
The in-form Jordan Bos dazzled with some spectacular runs through the Wanderers defence, all that was missing was the finishing touch on the end of one of them.
Marco Tilio was another who started brightly and had a great chance to open scoring in the 9th minute with an unmarked header in the box, but couldn’t find the target.
It would then be the home side who would open the scoring just 10 minutes.
Former City man Ramy Najjarine was able to find the killer ball, playing Brandon Borello in behind with little Tom Glover could do to stop a classy finish.
Going behind in a game for just the second time this season, City turned up the intensity as it searched for a quick reply.
Thomas Lam came close in the 39th minute, firing a rocket of a strike towards goal from a long way outside the box, but it was just wide of the target and a diving Lawrence Thomas.
Likely counting itself unlucky to be behind at the break, City continued to keep plenty of possession and remain patient in attack, searching for the key pass that would unlock a Wanderers defence that was large in numbers.
Tilio was almost the one to find the much needed goal, going on a mazy run through a number of Wanderers before curling a left-footed strike into the upright in the 53rd minute.
City wouldn’t have to wait much longer for that equaliser though, with a bit of magic from Dutchman Richard van der Venne getting it back on level terms.
Picking up the ball just inside the box after a scuffed Wanderers clearance, the hard-working midfielder took a touch and a split second to compose himself before picking out the top corner with a lovely curling strike.
The changes would soon come with Florin Berenguer, Scott Jamieson, Andrew Nabbout and Scott Galloway all introduced as City searched for a winner.
The visiting City side did just about everything it could to put the ball in the net, but ultimately, wasn’t able to break down a stout Western Sydney defensive unit and had to settle for a share of the points.
City is set for another away fixture next weekend, facing Brisbane Roar at Kayo Stadium on Saturday night as it looks to further increase its buffer at the top of the table.
Your City boys will then return home to AAMI Park for a double header against Adelaide United on Sunday 29 January, and you can click here to get your tickets!