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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Matthew Millar (3')
  • Luke DeVere (45'+1')

Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar share points in A-League basement battle

Central Coast and Brisbane have finished with a share of the points in a thrilling A-League clash between the last two teams on the competition table.

The Mariners took an early lead on Matt Millar's first A-League goal of his career, but it was cancelled out by a Luke De Vere header moments before half-time.

And while Central Coast dominated the second period of Sunday night's contest with 11 shots to three, they failed to find the winner.

Jacob Melling had two long-range opportunities in the space of two minutes, but one flashed over and the other was parried away by a diving Jamie Young.

The Roar also survived a VAR scare in the 72nd minute, however referee Matthew Conger was unable to determine if Daniel Bowles handled the ball in the box.

"This is my take on it: the referee didn't give it. Somebody in his ear said, 'You better have a look at this,'" Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said.

"He's gone and had a look at it and then he's not gone and overruled himself. Who would overrule himself? 'No, I saw it right the first time.'"

Only some desperate defending from Brisbane prevented Central Coast claiming all three points and leapfrogging them on the ladder. The two sides face off one more time on Feb. 22, again in Gosford.

Buoyed by last week's drought-breaking win over Melbourne City, the Mariners started brightly and converted an electric build-up into the Millar opener.

After an incisive run down the left, Connor Pain's switch was overrun by Connor O'Toole and was played through for Millar by Jordan Murray.

And the Mariners' breakout star made no mistake with his one-on-one look at Jamie Young, sliding his shot past the gloveman for his first career goal.

The former NPL right-back could've had a second moments later from a similar position, but scuffed his chance just wide of the far post.

Brisbane weren't without their chances and almost levelled when a 28th-minute Adam Taggart shot cannoned off the crossbar and just in the field of play.

The opportunity appeared to have galvanised interim coach Darren Davies' side, who had five new faces from the team lapped last week by Melbourne Victory.

And their persistence was rewarded just before half-time when De Vere snuck in his header inside the left post off an Eric Bautheac corner.

Brisbane coach Darren Davies said he was pleased to see some fight in his team after the disappointment of last week and then conceding early again.

"If we take the positives from that, we've previously conceded goals in the second half in the last two games," Davies said after the game.

"But this evening the boys showed tremendous determination and we kept a clean sheet in the second half."