Victory, Wanderers draw 1-1 in Ballarat

James Troisi was on target for Melbourne Victory in their friendly stalemate with the Wanderers.
James Troisi was on target for Melbourne Victory in their friendly stalemate with the Wanderers.

Melbourne Victory have laboured to a second 1-1 friendly result in as many Saturdays, drawing with Western Sydney in Ballarat.

James Troisi's early strike was cancelled out by Roly Bonevacia's finish with 11 minutes remaining.

The A-League champions had the better of a picture-perfect day at Morshead Park but couldn't make it count on the scoreboard.

"There was a lot to like," coach Kevin Muscat said.

"The only thing that was disappointing was we didn't get the win we deserved ... we created a truckload of turnovers and opportunities."

Muscat was without his trio of recent international signings - Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen and Raul Baena.

Honda missed the match as he prepares to manage the Cambodian national team for the first time, while Toivonen and Baena are yet to arrive.

But German centre-back Georg Niedermeier impressed in his first start for Victory, making a stunning last-ditch tackle to deny Lachlan Scott a one-on-one chance in the first half.

Troisi started up front with striker Kenjok Athiu sidelined with an ankle issue.

His 18th minute goal came from Jai Ingham's short corner after clever work from Kosta Barbarouses.

The Kiwi international had two chances to extend Victory's lead in the second half after neat interplay from Josh Hope, but was denied by new Wanderers goalkeeper Danijel Nizic.

Terry Antonis was effective in midfield despite a possible kit mix-up that led to him playing in AFL-sized shorts.

Western Sydney fielded their three ex-Melbourne City signings, but struggled to create much of note in the first half.

"The first half was awful . We couldn't play our style," coach Markus Babbel said.

"Too many mistakes. Not a good pass. The second half was much better, we had more control over the game. Not many big chances but much more control."

The Wanderers' influence brought an equaliser.

Hope gave away a ball in midfield and the Wanderers pounced, with Bonevacia rounding Storm Roux and scoring at the back post.

Victory are yet to arrange any further pre-season fixtures and instead will head to the Sunshine Coast on a pre-season camp.

Babbel brings his side back to Melbourne in a fortnight to face City in an FFA Cup quarter-final.

Australian Associated Press