Perth Glory and Sydney FC played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Saturday’s A-League action, while Melbourne Victory beat Wellington.
On a warm night in Perth, the Glory twice surrendered a lead and were forced to settle for a point in a match played in front of more than 11,000 fans at nib Stadium.
The Glory only had themselves to blame, squandering several first-half chances – Travis Dodd also had a goal disallowed for offside – before striker Shane Smeltz gave them the lead on 39 minutes.
Smeltz has been well off the pace in recent weeks and entered the match with only two goals for the season, but the New Zealand international got back on track with an instinctive header.
Against the run of play, Sydney drew level on 62 minutes as Alessandro Del Piero and Brett Emerton combined well, leaving an unmarked Jason Culina to head home at the far post.
Culina had a chance to put Sydney in front moments later but blasted over from just four yards before Perth restored their advantage thanks to Smeltz’s second goal of the night.
A mazy forward run from Dodd set up the goal, which was expertly smashed into the top right corner from 20 yards by Smeltz.
Sydney were not to be denied though, and when Perth goalkeeper Danny Vukovic flapped at a Del Piero free-kick, defender Seb Ryall was on hand to score from close range and give the visitors a point.
In Melbourne, Victory bounced back from a loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers with a professional 2-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park.
Goals from Marcos Flores and Marco Rojas either side of half-time were enough to seal the result which saw Victory, who have now won three of their past four matches, move to within three points of the top two.
Flores opened Victory’s account in the 43rd minute when he collected a Rojas cross from the left, which deflected off Spase Dilevski’s head, and drilled it past Phoenix goalkeeper Griffin McMaster to give Victory the lead.
And Rojas turned from provider to scorer seven minutes after half-time when he calmly slotted the rebound after club captain Adrian Leijer had been denied by the woodwork.
The day’s other result saw the Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United play out a goalless draw.
The result meant Adelaide – who had a chance to move to the top of the table with a win – would remain second in the league.
On Sunday, leaders Central Coast travel to Western Sydney, while strugglers Melbourne Heart host last season’s champions Brisbane Roar.