A more resilient Melbourne City are still on a learning curve as they strive to bury the perception that they lack mental toughness.
Melbourne City look to be repairing their reputation for mental softness but coach Patrick Kisnorbo says it's been a learning curve for the surging club.
Kisnorbo acknowledged Sydney dominated the first half of Saturday's game, with Sky Blues and former City star Luke Brattan bossing the midfield.
City worked their way back into the match after halftime, with Jamie Maclaren denied three times by Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, before the striker equalised from the penalty spot deep into added time.
The result, City's first draw of the season, means they have picked up 22 out of a maximum 27 points from their last nine games.
Second-placed City trail leaders Central Coast Mariners by two points but have a game in hand.
City's fightback on Saturday followed their 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix last Monday, when they twice gave up a lead but were still able to grind out a victory .
The resilience they have displayed is going some way to dispelling the criticism over a perceived lack of mental toughness, which has dogged the club over recent seasons.
Kisnorbo emphasised the process of turning that around began before the season started.
"It's been a learning curve for myself and the whole playing group when we've faced difficult times and tonight was the same thing," Kisnorbo said.
"We came from a goal down and we scored at the end.
"It's not just tonight, but I think it's gone over since day one of pre-season, that we've tried to prepare as best as you can for moments like this - and not all of it is rosy.
"But through the hard times and the difficult times, there's some learning and honesty and I think the group have come together really well."
Young substitutes Marco Tillio and Stefan Colakovski again provided spark off the bench.
Former Sydney player Tillio earned the penalty after scoring the winner against Wellington and set up Colakovski in the final seconds, but Redmayne denied the youngster.
While Sydney coach Steve Corica was "gutted" by dropping two points at the death on Saturday, he still extracted positives from their performance, especially given they were playing a third game in seven days and faced a quick turnaround from Wednesday.
"I think we dominated with the ball for long periods of that game and we caused them a lot of problems," Corica said.
He welcomed the return to form of Redmayne after some early season errors, and three goals in as many games for Kosta Barbarouses, who also had form issues earlier in the campaign.
Third-placed Sydney host Adelaide United next Sunday, the day after City face local rivals Melbourne Victory.