Northcote City were denied all three points as a late penalty for Bulleen Lions earned the home side a 1-1 draw at the Veneto Club on Monday night.
Todd Norris was the first to get a shot on target as he intercepted a Bulleen pass before having his low strike parried by Griffin McMaster.
Goran Lozanovski’s men took the lead in the 17th minute after Norris was fouled 20 yards from goal. Braedyn Crowley lashed a thunderous free kick into the top corner to make it 1-0 with his 11th goal since joining the club.
Northcote had a great chance to double the lead with ten minutes remaining in the first half. Norris was again the instigator, bringing down a high ball with a deft touch before feeding an excellent through ball to Crowley, but the striker couldn’t beat McMaster this time as the keeper got a crucial hand to the ball.
In the 44th minute it was Phil Petrovski’s turn to show what he could do in the Northcote goal. Matteo Ballan hit a wonder-strike destined for the corner but Petrovski at full stretch managed to tip it around the post.
The opening part of the second half was less eventful before a flurry of chances for Bulleen came with ten minutes to play.
First substitute Alon Blumgart saw a brilliant strike palmed over the bar by Petrovski, before Takanori Nishimoto beat Petrovski but was denied by a goal line clearance from Cody Martindale amid appeals for handball.
Following this, defender Will Abbott leapt the highest to head a corner beyond Petrovski. Anthony Ramzy kept the ball from crossing the line but this time it was a clear handball with the winger sent off and Bulleen awarded a penalty.
Ersin Kaya confidently converted the equaliser which maintained a four-point gap between Bulleen in safety and Northcote in the relegation playoff position with four matches remaining.