A CONTROVERSIAL penalty inside the final minute of play has seen Sebastopol Vikings escape with a draw against Point Cook, despite a disappointing performance on Saturday.
The Vikings conceded two goals inside the opening 10 minutes of the match at St Georges Reserve before a rousing second half saw them etch out a 3-3 draw against their fellow Football Federation Victoria men’s state league four contenders.
Vikings coach Michael Busija labelled his side’s opening stanza, in which it finished 2-0 down, as the poorest he had seen all season.
“Our first 45 minutes was terrible,” Busija said.
“At half-time we spoke about being quite lethargic – we were almost playing like we were 2-0 up.
“We spoke about getting our level of intensity up and it was a massive effort to get back.”
The revival began with several positional changes, including subbing Matt Radojevic off for Will Georgiou and switching Paul McClounan and Scott Berg to respective central and wide roles.
Jake Romein put the Vikings on the board with a goal from a set piece 60 minutes in and McClounan continued his stellar form to score the equaliser from a corner less than 15 minutes later.
Point Cook hit back with a goal with six minutes remaining, only for McClounan to draw a penalty in the dying stages.
His initial shot was blocked by Cook’s keeper but was smashed through by Daniel Aggett, before the referee disallowed the goal and awarded another penalty to McClounan after ruling the keeper left his line.
McClounan wasted no time in capitalising on his second opportunity to ensure the Vikings remain in eighth spot on the ladder with 21 points.
“There’s been lots of late drama in all our games,” Busija said.
“It was really, really important to leave with some result after a great second half.”
Vikings will play second-placed Melbourne City in round 19 action this Saturday.