It was almost two losses in a row for Sydney FC against the bottom two sides after a controversial late penalty rescued a point against the Central Coast Mariners at Leichhardt Oval.

Steve Corica’s men looked set for another shock loss when they fell behind in the first half after Aiden O’Neill put the away side in the lead.

Sydney, however, started the game in full control as Milos Ninkovic was unable to dispatch any of their opening chances and Ben Kennedy was forced into some smart saves to keep the away side in the game

To make matters worse for the Mariners, Tommy Oar was forced off with an early injury after an early hyperextension of his knee.

However, the Mariners were able to take control of proceedings and open the scoring thanks to O’Neill who expertly slammed home the opener as Central Coast gave themselves an unlikely lead.

As the game went on, Sydney were forced into making some changes to get back into the game as Alex Brosque replaced Reza Ghoochannejhad with immediate dividends paying off for the Sky Blues who were struggling to break down the resolute Mariners defence.

Eventually, substitute Brosque was brought down inside the box by Jem Karacan which led to the latter’s former Reading team-mate, Adam Le Fondre scoring his thirteenth goal of the season from the spot.

The goal set-up a grand-stand finish which saw Sydney almost steal it as Le Fondre and Ninkovic both missed chances to send the Sky Blues second with a win.

However, it wasn’t to be for Sydney who still sit third after dropping another two points at home while the Mariners still sit rooted to the bottom of the table as they failed to secure their second win of the season.

The Mariners, have a chance to win their second game of the season when they host Brisbane on Friday night in Gosford while Sydney face a tricky test against Wellington at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday evening.

Nick D’Urbano