Rival keepers Oliver Sail and Glen Moss were the winners in a thrilling 1-1 deadlock between Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets tonight.
Jets glovesman Moss stopped a late Roy Krishna spot kick to guarantee a share of the points, but it was heroics from late ring-in Sail at the other end had kept Phoenix in with a shout.
He had been called into action during the pre-match warm up when named number one Filip Kurto had to pull out sick at the last moment.
But Sail showed no sign of nerves and repeatedly pulled off a series of big saves to deny Jets, despite Ronnie Vargas's fancy footwork and clinical finish giving Newcastle a lead in the first half.
Sail shone with repeated reflex saves off the line, sweeping duties in midfield and clearances outside the box with his head to keep Phoenix's hopes alive.
"We work very hard every week," said Sail after the game. "I was ready to go.
"Every time you go out there you want to make the coach make a decision on who he plays the next week.
"Filip has been playing very well so all I can do is keep putting pressure and putting my hand up."
Phoenix looked to have been rewarded with the late penalty to claim the win after David Williams had earlier equalised.
But Moss ensured he shared the goalkeeper spotlight with a crucial save from a weak Krishna spotkick, his seventh penalty miss.
"I thought both keepers were outstanding," added Phoenix coach Mark Rudan as he hailed the performance of Sail. "You want your keepers to step up and he certainly did that.
"He's a great keeper with a long future. I just wish there were more people in the stadium to watch it."
"Oliver Sail played out his skin," added Jets coach Merrick. "It's a credit to him. I just hope the next keeper we're playing against has a nightmare."
Moss modestly shrugged off his save saying he was "lucky enough to get a big toe on it" but was concerned over the Jets' ability to win games.
"I don't know how much more we can do," he said. "We're knocking on the door every week. It could have been five tonight but for some big saves from the Kiwis' number one..."