Finals-chasing Central Coast have pulled off an extraordinary fightback from two goals down and a controversial red card to snatch a gutsy 2-2 A-League Men draw with Western Sydney.
Dan Hall smashed home in the 96th minute, off the back of cameos from Garang Kuol and Cy Goddard, to earn the Mariners the unlikeliest of points at CommBank Stadium.
Central Coast now sit four points outside the top six, while for Western Sydney, dropping two points late in consecutive games effectively extinguishes their finals hopes.
The Mariners were eyeing a response to their 5-0 loss to Sydney FC but Kye Rowles’ own goal in his 100th game put them behind in the 41st minute.
Tate Russell was afforded too much space on the right by Jacob Farrell and lashed an optimistic strike towards goal, where it fortuitously deflected off Farrell, then Rowles and past Birighitti.
Then, the game was turned further in Western Sydney’s favour when Lewis Miller’s 48th minute yellow card was upgraded to a red card following a VAR review.
After a loose touch, when attempting to regain control of the ball, Miller scraped his studs down Adama Traore’s shin and received a yellow card.
Following a VAR intervention, referee Ben Abraham immediately upgraded the card, to Miller’s dismay.
Six minutes later, Traore whipped a cross into a dangerous area, where Dimi Petratos nipped in behind Mark Birighitti and toepoked home.
The Mariners’ fightback started when in the 62nd minute, Steven Ugarkovic went to ground in an attempt to block Farrell’s cutback but the ball hit his arm.
Abraham immediately awarded a penalty and Beni N’Kololo coolly converted.
Montgomery turned to Kuol and Goddard in the 76th minute.
Goddard almost teed up Hall three minutes later, while Kuol nearly assisted Moresche in the 87th.
Petratos smacked a shot off the crossbar in the 94th and two minutes later, Kuol pounced on the ball, drove forward, and floated it to Goddard, who squared it for Hall to tap home an unlikely equaliser.