Fury snatch point, Phoenix rising
North Queensland Fury earned a point in a 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory today despite having two men sent off in a hot tempered A-League encounter at AAMI Park.
The visitors had Chris Grossman sent off in the first half before Eric Akoto was also given his marching orders late on but Fury rescued a point when Chris Payne converted a penalty - the third spot kick of the game - with eight minutes remaining.
The Fury had started well and took the lead in the 15th minute through Eugene Sseppuya but things quickly unravelled when they were reduced to 10 men shortly before the half hour as Grossman was dismissed for a challenge on Robbie Kruse inside the area. Kevin Muscat then stepped up and scored the resulting penalty.
Melbourne dominated from then on and took the lead when Geoff Kellaway was brought down in the box by Osama Malik and again Muscat scored from the spot.
The hosts looked set to take all three points but Fury were then awarded a late penalty when Diogo Ferriera was adjudged to have held Mark Hughes inside the area in the 81st minute.
Akoto took that opportunity to have words with the referee before pushing Muscat to the ground, an action that resulted in the defender being sent off.
Payne did not let that fracas distract him and coolly slotted home the penalty to ensure the game ended with honours even.
The result means Fury are second in the standings with five points - two behind leaders Perth Glory - while Victory are still searching for their first win of the season.
In the day's other game, Wellington Phoenix stretched their unbeaten home run to 21 games with a 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.
Bertos opened the scoring after 10 minutes, tapping home from Manny Muscat's short cross before Ifill completed the scoring on the hour with a curling effort into the top right corner of the goal.
Wellington climb up to fourth in the standings while the Mariners' first defeat of the season leaves them in sixth.