Jamie Maclaren rescued Melbourne City from a home defeat on Saturday night, scoring a debut goal to give his new A-League club a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United.
The Socceroos forward scored with a backheel flick to equalise after Craig Goodwin's opener threatened to serve up City a third-straight defeat. The result extends Adelaide's unbeaten streak to five and ensures City avoids a third-straight loss, but does little for either side's already faint hopes of a Premiership or Asian Champions League qualification.
The Reds and City remain in the relative limbo of fourth and fifth with the result, unable to mount a title bid, but almost secured of finals football due to the gulf to seventh-placed Newcastle.
City looked a team in transition at AAMI Park, handing debuts to forwards Maclaren and Shayon Harrison and centre-back Curtis Good surprisingly deployed in central midfield. Adelaide too had a new signing in their ranks in the shape of Jordy Thomassen, who played without match sharpness.
The contest was a turgid affair for the first half-hour as City, in a 4-4-2 formation, adjusted to their new look and shape.
Harrison Delbridge brought the game to life with a barnstorming run through midfield that eventually allowed Luke Brattan to rasp a shot centimetres wide.
With the game stretched, Nicola Mileusnic took off in the next minute and put in a perfect cross for Goodwin to head home off the crossbar just before half-time.
Adelaide went into the break a goal to the good but City re-emerged a changed team and got their reward on 69 minutes. After several forays forward, Brattan was the man to unlock the Reds defence, playing in Maclaren to finish with his cheeky effort.
While the national team's No. 9 got his goal, he failed get the turnstiles moving with a disappointing crowd of 6,569 present. They might not be rushing back as both sides played out a lifeless draw.