Banned Olyroo Nathaniel Atkinson's right-foot thunderbolt has helped Melbourne City secure a 2-2 A-League draw against Brisbane Roar.
In humid conditions at Suncorp Stadium, in-form winger Brad Inman's first-half double lifted the Roar to their first halftime lead of the season on Saturday. Atkinson's 48th-minute rocket then levelled the scores.
Unable to play for Australia's under-23s at the Olympic qualifiers in Thailand due to his involvement in an off-field indiscretion while on national team duty last year, 20-year-old Atkinson's strike -- his first goal in the A-League -- was the defining moment. And it came after a first half dominated by City but in which Inman's double -- taking his tally to four goals in his past three games -- gave the hosts the advantage.
The winger opened the scoring in the 34th minute when he pounced on a loose ball after Jay O'Shea's shot had been blocked. Inman then restored the lead in first-half stoppage time with another opportunistic strike after Aaron Noone had levelled in the 39th minute.
After Atkinson's strike, City again took the upper hand although Inman had a great chance to secure his hat-trick in stoppage time and deliver the Roar their first back-to-back wins since January 2018. But City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis stood tall to deny the 28-year-old.
"Frustrated about the result. Not about the way we play," City coach Erick Mombaerts said. "We had total control of the game with our high press and with our position play.
"We created some chances but we made also some big mistakes in defensive transition because as we play high, they have a few - only a few - chances but they score two."
Mombaerts suffered further frustration late in the game when substitute Scott Galloway injured his right ankle, with the Frenchman admitting post match it looked a serious injury for the young defender.
Roar coach Robbie Fowler admitted his team were second best but was happy with the result, which extends their unbeaten run to three matches. They next meet in-form Wellington at home on Saturday.
"We probably could've won the game in the end. Did we deserve to win it? Probably not. But we'd have taken it all day long," Fowler said. "I can't fault our lads for effort.
"I thought we were outstanding in terms of what we put in the game. It's a good point against a very, very good team -- they really were."
Roar skipper Tom Aldred will miss the next Phoenix match due to suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the second half.
Fowler will also be sweating on the fitness of experienced fullback Scott Neville after the 31-year-old limped off in the first half with a lower-leg injury.
City head back home to take on bottom-placed Newcastle next weekend.