The Western Raiders scored late with less than a minute left on the clock to salvage a draw against a Mascot Vipers team that had two players red carded out of the game in what was an exciting men?s match-up.
A win was critical to the Vipers keeping within touch of the teams in the top four. But ill-discipline was also a factor in their game.
Mascot started the game well when Mohammed Bagdadi slotted the ball past the keeper to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders struck back when Greg Kondek finished off a nice 3 man move. The Raiders nearly took the lead when a neat flick from Greg Kondek looped over the defence and struck the crossbar.
The two sides were relatively evenly matched and both teams had chances to take the lead but it was the Vipers who went in front when Terry Atsas stabbed the ball home following nice lead up play from Denny Dutra and Andre Da Silva.
The Raiders fought hard to get back on even terms before half time and were rewarded when the Vipers were penalised for a sixth foul. Slaven Ljuboja smashed the resulting penalty into the top right corner.
But just as the half drew to a close Mascot got their third as Terry Atsas caught out a Raiders player in possession mid-court and slipped the ball to a support player on the overlap for the Vipers to take a 3-2 lead.
The Raiders were first to score after the break when Shayne Ardle?s pass to the far post saw Greg Kondek nudge the ball over from point blank range.
The game turned against Mascot when their keeper Danny Georgakopoulos, who had played very well, was given his marching orders after he was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the area.
Outfield player Andre Da Silva deputised in goal.
Mascot continued to give away minor fouls and things got worse when the Raiders were awarded a sixth foul penalty with 8 minutes still left on the clock. Matt Kelly made no mistake from the spot.
The Vipers quickened the tempo and scored when the Raiders keepers weak pass was intercepted by Osmar De Barros who set up Nick Hanna to level the score.
Mascot immediately regained the lead when Denny Dutra slammed the ball past the keeper.
The Raiders refused to lie down and got back on level terms when Matt Kelly sprinted with the ball out of defence went around one defender and passed cross court for Greg Kondek to sweep the ball home.
The Vipers had their second player of the night red carded when Mohammed Bagdadi picked up his second yellow card this time for dissent. Osmar De Barros dispatched the ball to give the Vipers a 6-5 lead and seemingly the win.
But the tenacious Raiders had the last word with less than a minute to go when Matt Kelly swept the ball home to salvage a draw for an elated Raiders team.
Meanwhile in the women?s clash, the high flying Western Raiders remained undefeated as they came from two down to beat a tenacious Mascot Vipers team. Despite being second from bottom in the league the Vipers refused to rollover against their more illustrious opponents.
The Raiders began the game comfortably pushing the ball around and looked the most likely to score until the Vipers took a sudden lead. As Alex Smith carried the ball out of defence, the Raiders defence retracted leaving space in front her to unleash a powerful drive into the corner of the net.
The goal put the Raiders team out of rhythm and the Vipers delight continued when soon after a Raiders player was caught in possession mid court and Elyse Goss took the ball on and placed it low past the keeper.
The Raiders launched waves of attacks with Trudy Bartlett in the Vipers goal making some excellent saves. For the Raiders Ledbrook, Burgess and Cavanagh all went close to scoring but the tenacious Vipers defence marshalled by Alex Smith held on till half time.
Words from coach Tarek Madani paid off as the Raiders scored three unanswered goals inside a devastating few minutes just after the break.
The first goal came when Burgess shot struck the right hand goal post squeezed under the keepers body ran along the line and went in off the left hand post. The second came when the Raiders team put the Vipers defence under pressure and the ball came to Cavanagh to sweep the ball low past the keeper.
The Vipers tried to counter attack but when the attack broke up the ball was swept out of defence by Cavanagh to Burgess who passed back across court for Cavanagh to tap in at the far post. In a four minute period the Raiders had gone from 0-2 down to 3-2 up.
There was joy for the Vipers as they got back on level terms when Elyse Goss smashed an unstoppable freekick from around 15 metres out into the top left corner. However their joy was short lived as the Raiders responded immediately when Brogan ran the ball out of defence and buried it into the back of the net.
The Raiders continued to dominate the goal chances with the Vipers fighting gallantly to the end with some dangerous counter attacks. In the end the Raiders running out deserved winners.