Things were not going the way of the Victory when they conceded their third own goal in five matches when Matthew Kemp, who was back in action since injuring his knee in February, was unable to clear a Thomas Broich free-kick on the half-hour mark.
The Roar got a second goal right on the stroke of half-time through six-yard box specialist Jean Carlos Solorzano but the Victory turned things around in the second stanza with three goals in 14 minutes.
First Robbie Kruse finished beautifully in the 63rd minute before Archie Thompson nodded home and then Kruse grabbed a second from close range to give the two-time A-League champions an unlikely lead.
But the Roar stuck it out until the end and managed to get an injury-time leveler through captain Matt McKay to take their unbeaten streak to 15 matches, sending them seven points clear at the top of the table.
For the Victory, it was a famous win denied in the dying seconds as they remained sixth, a point in arrears of derby rivals Melbourne Heart.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Peter Green
Yellow cards: MV - Kevin Muscat 55’, Roddy Vargas 74’, Carlos Hernandez 81’
BR - nil
The league leaders came to Melbourne in search of a 15th A-League match without a loss but it was the Victory who made the early running and they came close in the 10th minute when a well-crafted move ended with a Marvin Angulo shot which looked threatening but could only slipp wide of the mark.
Melbourne were moving the ball very well, the way the Roar have been all season, and the likes of Carlos Hernandez, Angulo and Archie Thompson were causing problems for the Brisbane defence.
Brisbane looked toothless in the opening half-hour as the Victory enjoyed some quality time on the ball but the Roar have all the attributes of a champion team and managed to claw their way in front when Thomas Broich sent a teasing cross towards Jean Carlos Solorzano in the 30th minute. GOAL Unfortunately for Matthew Kemp, who was back for his first game since February, his attempt at a clearing header skimmed off the top of his head and into the back of the net to give the visitors the advantage.
That goal sparked the Roar into action and they looked far more dangerous afterwards and were able to halt the Victory’s attacking brand whilst pushing forward at will in the final 15 minutes of the term.
GOAL The Roar grabbed a second right on the stroke of half-time when Matt McKay swung a corner to the back post where defender Matt Smith was on hand to power a header goalwards but it was saved by the crossbar before Michael Petkovic knocked it into the path of a waiting Solorzano who used his brilliant goal sense to flick home his seventh goal in his past six matches and eighth of the season.
Things were fairly uninspiring in the early part of the second half as the Roar looked content to sit back and soak up the little pressure being supplied by the home side until Robbie Kruse produced a super finish just after the hour-mark. GOAL The Victory created the goal from midfield with some slick passing which ended in Hernandez playing in Kruse and the former Roar man scored with a curling shot past Michael Theoklitos after losing Smith at the edge of the area for his seventh of the season and his second against his old club this campaign.
Petkovic came up with a top-notch diving save from a Mitch Nichols shot a moment later as the Roar looked to get their two-goal advantage back but the Victory were determined to get into the contest.
GOAL And that they did when Hernandez played a short corner to Billy Celeski before receiving it back and sending a ball into the area which was flicked on by Kruse and into the path of Thompson who nodded home much to the delight of the AAMI Park fans.
Thompson, who had just scored his first goal in Melbourne since January, then should have put his side ahead a couple of minutes later but blasted his one-on-one with Theoklitos into the side netting in what was a huge let off for the league leaders.
GOAL The match was then turned on its head in the 77th minute when Hernandez struck a sizzling low free-kick which stung the palms of Theoklitos but Kruse was in the right place at the right time to knock the deflection back over the ex-Victory gloveman to give his side the lead after earlier trailing by two goals.
The 83rd minute saw the Roar miss a golden opportunity to equalize when Ivan Franjic’s low ball from the right somehow evaded a sliding Reinaldo who only needed to get contact on and it was in.
GOAL Disaster struck in injury time from a Victory point of view when the Roar grabbed a leveler through skipper Matt McKay who got on the end of a long ball and although he had his first shot saved by Petkovic, the rebound struck Roddy Vargas and fell back into the path of McKay who tapped into force a 3-3 draw.
Michael Petkovic (gk), Kevin Muscat, Leigh Broxham (Sukha 46’), Matthew Kemp, Grant Brebner (Ferreira 80’), Archie Thompson, Marvin Angulo, Roddy Vargas, Billy Celeski, Carlos Hernandez, Robbie Kruse (Dugandzic 82’)
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Surat Sukha (46’), Diogo Ferreira (80’), Mate Dugandzic (82’)
Michael Theoklitos (gk), Matt Smith, Luke DeVere, Ivan Franjic, Erik Paartalu, Kosta Barbarouses, Jean Carlos Solorzano (Reinaldo 74’), Matt McKay, Mitch Nichols (Brattan 71’), Thomas Broich, Milan Susak (Mundy 63’)
Subs - Andrew Redmayne (gk), Matt Mundy (63’), Luke Brattan (71’), Reinaldo (74’)