Adelaide United battled out a tense 1-1 draw with an undermanned Melbourne Heart FC in Saturday's National Youth League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Melbourne Heart FC battled out a tense 1-1 draw with Adelaide United in Saturday's National Youth League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Melbourne substitute Andrew Cartanos' goal in the 67th minute was countered by United's Abir Mabil seven minutes later after the visitors were reduced to 10 men on the cusp of half-time following the red carding of Stefan Mauk.
Despite the setback, Heart refused to surrender and fought tooth and nail with the Reds.
Genuine clear-cut scoring opportunities were few and far between for large portions of the opening half.
Liam Wooding imposed himself physically, dead-ball specialist John Karatzas threatened on occasions, Jacob Melling held Adelaide's back four together and Mabil engaged in a thrilling duel with Philip Petreski for the best part of 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, Melbourne skipper Josh Groenwald and livewire Jeremy Walker held their own early on as the Reds threatened to take control.
Heart settled down and found their feet about 15 minutes in, with Zac Walker's miscue in the 18th minute the visitors' best early chance.
On 23 minutes, Mabil came streaming into the box in space before having his shot deflected by the desperate Mullet.
Five minutes later, Groenwald's sliding close-range lunge on the back of a menacing set piece went agonisingly close to finding the back of the net, before Golgol Mebrahtu's 32nd-minute strike went past a sprawling John Hall, but wide of the right post.
After an indifferent start, Heart were starting to look good but they would enter the sheds with their heads down after losing 16-year-old Adelaide-raised Mauk in the 45th minute.
Mauk was given his marching orders after receiving a red card for a challenge on Melling.
The Reds threw everything at the 10-man Heart immediately after the interval.
Melling, Briscoe and Mabil forced Melbourne gloveman Alastair Bray to earn his keep, but the Heart stopper was up to the task, with a series of smart saves.
The visitors soon regathered their composure and took the lead in the 67th minute when Cartanos, who only five minutes earlier had come off the pine to replace Evangelo Batsis, pounced on a shocking Jake Monaco back pass and pushed the ball comfortably past Reds substitute keeper Paul Izzo.
Barely two minutes later, the Reds came within a whisker of drawing level when substitute Dion Kirk pushed one into the woodwork, the ball rebounding off and cleared safely by Melbourne.
United weren't left to rue the missed opportunity for long.
In the 74th minute, Mabil mopped up and slotted the equaliser from a ricochet off the gloves of Bray following a Scott Nagel shot on goal.
Mabil was in the thick of it again in the 83rd when he found a closing Briscoe one-out but the resulting shot sailed high.
William Abbott's close-range nod in the 90th minute was knocked away by Izzo, representing the Heart's best late-game chance, as the deadlock was unable to be broken.
Adelaide United 1 (Mabil 74) Melbourne Heart 1 (Cartanos 67) @ Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United: 1. John Hall (20. Paul Izzo 45), 2. Shaun Harvey (6. Jake Monaco 66), 3. Jordan Elsey (c), 5. Scott Nagel, 7. Liam Wooding, 8. Thomas Briscoe, 9. John Karatzas (12. Allan Welsh 45), 11. Zenon Caravella (10. Dion Kirk 66), 14. Awer Mabil, 15. Jacob Melling, 16. Antony Golec.
Melbourne Heart: 1. Alastair Bray (16. Christopher Maynard 78), 2. Jeremy Walker, 4. Andrew Mullett, 5. William Abbott, 6. Joshua Groenwald (c), 9. Evangelo Batsis (3. Anthony Cartanos 61), 10. Stefan Mauk, 11. Golgol Mebrahtu, 12. Philip Petreski, 14. Stipo Andrijasevic (8. Paulo Retre 45), 15. Zac Walker (7. Ersin Kaya 61).