Adelaide United were held to a hard fought 2-2 draw against Melbourne Heart at Coopers Stadium to extend their unbeaten run to 7 games.
The Reds led first through a 22nd-minute headed effort by Bruce Djite, before a Harry Kewell penalty brought the Heart level in the 61st-minute. Former Reds fullback Iain Ramsay then whipped in a free kick that was met by the head of Patrick Kisnorbo to put the Heart ahead on 79 minutes. Only a 90th-minute debut Adelaide United goal by forward Ryan Griffiths rescued a point for the home side.
Heart applied pressure to the Reds early in the match by using their wide midfield players and more direct style of play.
Kewell was proving to be a nuisance for the Reds’ defense as they conceded a number of free kicks against the former Liverpool man outside of the area.
But the Reds held firm and soon found room to play their style as they found a goal through Djite after starting the attack from the back.
The second half was more of a heated affair as the Heart were awarded a penalty early on after a late lunge by centre back Nigel Boogaard. Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones pointed to the spot without issuing a yellow card and Kewell calmly converted. A second goal followed when an expertly taken Ramsay free kick found Kisnorbo in the box who put his well-directed header past Galekovic.
This proved to be a wake up call for the Reds as they looked for the pace of Jeronimo and Mabil to construct a comeback.
Heart coach John Van’t Schip then made changes to his side by deploying the defensively minded Jonatan Germano to sure up the midfield. Gombau responded with substitutions of his own, bringing on explosive midfielder Fabio Ferreira in his first game back from injury, and forward Ryan Griffiths in search of a winner.
Both sides piled on the pressure and tempers flared outside of play, and still Adelaide looked adamant to find a winner.
Carrusca was the first to strike as he pounced off an Isaias corner, but the tamed effort flew just wide of Redmayne’s post.
Just as the Reds were facing their first defeat in six games, newcomer Ryan Griffiths popped up from a corner kick and headed home his debut goal for the club. A goal that saw the Reds steal a point from a determined Heart side.
The Reds are now unbeaten in seven and look to continue their form against an in form Wellington Phoenix side in New Zealand next week.