For the second match in a row, Melbourne Victory has had to cope with only ten men on the pitch due to a straight red card.
Goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos was sent off by referee Peter Green for an incident at a corner with Central Coast striker Sasho Petrovski in the 58th minute of a match that ended 2-2 thanks to a late Victory goal.
The Mariners took the lead in the 12th minute through a Matt Simon goal before Socceroos talisman Archie Thompson scored his first just four minutes later.
Melbourne had most of the play from then on until Theoklitos was given his marching orders, prompting Victory coach Ernie Merrick to make changes to accommodate his troops.
Young custodian Mitch Langerak was bought on to replace midfielder Carlos Hernandez and the formation was reshuffled, giving the home side a chance to catch the ten-man Victory unawares, which it did through Simon again with just six minutes of regular time remaining.
It looked like it would be a Mariners win but for Thompson who completed his brace late in stoppage time giving the visitors a share of the spoils and the retainment of top spot on the table.
Merrick was delighted for his team, saying it felt like they had won.
Speaking on the A-League’s official website, he said, “It was tremendous to see the resolve, to work until the final seconds and get a result shows the character in this team.
“There was all sorts of action in the match. It must have been soul-destroying for their team.”
Melbourne takes on sixth-placed Queensland Roar at the Telstra Dome on Sunday whilst Central Coast host Perth Glory on Friday night.