Victory blow it again

Gold Coast captain Michael Thwaite struck his first Hyundai A-League goal deep in to injury time to allow his side to pull off a remarkable 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory at Aurora Stadium in Launceston.

Gold Coast captain Michael Thwaite struck his first Hyundai A-League goal deep in to injury time to allow his side to pull off a remarkable 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory at Aurora Stadium in Launceston.

Thwaite's strike in the 93rd minute cancelled out Harry Kewell's goal just after the hour mark as the two teams shared the spoils in the first A-League game played for points in Tasmania.

Kewell's strike appeared to have Victory on their way to a fifth win of the season, but Thwaite bobbed up where you'd least expect him to and denied Jim Magilton his first triumph as Victory manager.

Victory looked the more dangerous in the opening exchanges, with Gold Coast more than happy to play on the counterattack using the pace of Ben Halloran and James Brown down the flanks.

The always-threatening Archie Thompson was at his elusive best up front for Victory as he had his first effort on target saved by Gold Coast keeper Chris O'Connor and then decided to tee up Marco Rojas across goal when a more selfish striker would have taken the chance on themselves.

Striker Maceo Rigters started to get more involved for Gold Coast and he should have done better with his attempt on goal from close range after a weaving run down the right flank.

Peter Jungschlager shot straight at Ante Covic in Victory's goal from outside the box moments later as Gold Coast continued to threaten, while at the other end Thompson should have at least put his curling effort on target with his shot narrowly whizzing past O'Connor and the right hand post.

Kewell began to work his way into the game and looked to be unlucky not to have been awarded a goal just after the half hour mark when his header appeared to cross the line as O'Connor tried to parry the ball to safety.

The referee ignored Victory's plea for the goal to stand and waved play on as Thompson and Kewell continued to run at the Gold Coast defence and cause plenty of headaches for the bottom placed club.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Kewell played a delightful long ball from the middle of the pitch that floated across the box to find Jean Carlos Solorzano at the back post.

The Victory striker got his effort on target, but O'Connor came off his line to block the shot as the game remained scoreless at the break.

Moments after the re-start Kewell's free-kick floated narrowly wide with O'Connor beaten, while at the other end Ante Covic produced a superb double save to keep out Gold Coast substitute Golgol Mebrahtu.

Thompson's ambitious lob never really threatened O'Connor's goal but did get the crowd excited and the Victory striker couldn't quite get a touch on a Solorzano cross moments later with an open goal beckoning.

Victory were pressing and Rojas had the next chance with a free-kick from the edge of the box on the hour mark after Thwaite was harshly awarded a yellow card for bringing down Thompson.

Rees was the next to go in the referee's book when he pulled back Solorzano, who was closing in on goal and Victory made him pay.

Kewell stepped up to take the free-kick and beat O'Connor with a powerful effort that took a slight deflection.

Gold Coast had a chance up the other end to equalise from a free-kick in a similar position, but Jungschlager crashed his strike straight into the Victory wall and the ball was cleared.

Miron Bleiberg threw on Chris Harold in an attempt to salvage something for Gold Coast and they continued to push more men forward in search of an equaliser.

Mebrahtu went closest with five minutes remaining with a curling effort from a free-kick that stung Covic's palms, while Thompson's unlucky night in front of goal continued in stoppage time as he shot wide in an acre of space.

And then just as it appeared all over, Thwaite found the back of the net for the first time in the A-League to ensure Gold Coast shared the points.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Kewell 66) Gold Coast United 1 (Thwaite 90) Crowd: 5268 at Aurora Stadium