Magilton's opening draw

Jim Magilton had to settle for a draw in his first game in charge of Melbourne Victory as the home side again let a half time advantage slip in a match that ended 1-1 against Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

Jim Magilton had to settle for a draw in his first game in charge of Melbourne Victory as the home side again let a half time advantage slip in a match that ended 1-1 against Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

A sixth-minute goal from Archie Thompson put Melbourne in the driver's seat for a maiden win for the Northern Irishman, but Victory's old habits of allowing teams back into games came back to haunt them as Sergio van Dijk scored his fourth goal in three games early in the second half.

The resurgent Reds maintained their unbeaten streak under John Kosmina to retain the Cup named in the honour of their coach and Melbourne Victory assistant Kevin Muscat, as they prevailed on aggregate over the season.

Adelaide controlled more of the ball, but Melbourne had the better chances, and either could have claimed the three points.

Both teams remain level on points (19) for the season to keep touch with the top six and both coaches will have taken positives from their team's composed performances.

It was immediately apparent that Magilton had asked his players to be more compact in the middle of the park and that allowed them to play on older style Victory method of attack, the counter attack.

They soaked up the pressure well for much of the first half and used Danny Allsopp's energy, the distribution of Carlos Hernandez and Harry Kewell and the pace of Thompson to create opportunities.

As soon as the fifth minute, the new methodology almost bore fruit, with Thompson breaking clear down the left only to be denied first by Eugene Galekovic's foot, and then the upright.

A minute later he made amends, when Kewell beat Zenon Caravella and Cameron Watson on the left and delivered an excellent cross which Thompson easily bundled home for his seventh of the campaign.

It was a brilliant start, but instead of pressing for immediate second, the home side sacrificed possession for a slower tempo and let Adelaide control the ball.

Van Dijk had their first real chance nipping in on an ambitious cross which he met ahead of Ante Covic, but could only head over the bar.

It was Covic's greatest scare for the half with Watson putting one over the bar on 27 minutes and Bruce Djite aiming wide soon after.

Meanwhile, Victory created a host of good chances. Hernandez and Allsopp both went close, Adrian Leijer had a shot blocked from a corner, while Daniel Mullen cleared a Thompson shot off the line.

The Reds got into the game approaching half time, but couldn't find a way to cut open Melbourne's well marshalled defence, led by the returning Leijer.

A minute into the second stanza, Galekovic did a brilliant job of keeping out a Hernandez free kick which took a deflection from a defender, while another excellent Kewell cross allowed Allsopp in, only for the veteran to knock it just wide.

Those missed chances proved damaging when in the 53rd minute, the Reds won a corner. Nigel Boogarard's header at the near post hit the bar, but Van Dijk, arguably the league's best poacher, was there at the back post to power the ball in for the equaliser.

That sparked the Reds up considerable and they spent much of the next ten minutes, threatening the goal. Covic was almost caught out on two more occasions, as Dario Vidosic targeted the keeper from set pieces.

With his team in a flat spot, Kewell tried his best to lift things, by rounding three defenders and thundering the ball into the bar on 69 minutes.

But with Adelaide controlling much of the possession, and making fewer mistakes as the game wore on, Victory looked the team less likely to find a late winner.

In the reds best chances, Vidosic forced an uncharacteristically nervous Covic to fumble his shot late on while Boogaard and Mullen both had chances to win it from set pieces, only to fire over the bar.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 6) Adelaide United 1 (van Dijk 53) Crowd: 20,959 at AAMI Park