MELVILLE City denied local rival Fremantle City the chance to claim the State League Division Two title in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Hilton Reserve on Saturday.
Trailing 1-0 at half time, Melville showed character after the break to level the scores and postpone the host’s celebrations, Fremantle needing a win to seal top spot in the league.
Fremantle showed why it was league leader early, Ben West hitting the crossbar and Alec Robinson screwing a shot just wide inside the opening ten minutes.
Melville had what looked like a clear penalty denied when Christian Long was collected by the goalkeeper before Anthony Lomma twice came close to putting the home side ahead.
The visitors worked their way back into the contest and forced Fremantle into a goal-line clearance, moments before Logan McIsaac headed over from close range.
However, minutes from half time Fremantle inched a step closer towards the title when Melville goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo felled an opposition player in the box and Robinson converted from the spot.
Despite its status as underdogs, Melville came out swinging in the second half and equalised when George Festa’s low cross was turned home by Alastair Campbell.
Minutes later, a superb run from Rion Robertson ended in Sherwin Tucker’s shot being deflected wide.
Fremantle pushed men forward in an attempt to claim the three points needed to secure the title, but Melville’s backline stood tall under pressure, including a hectic penalty-box scramble.
Christian Long nearly punished Fremantle when his strong run led to a fizzed shot just wide, before Mark Lucas missed a great chance to win it for Melville in injury time.