Ever since Bruno Fornaroli was ostracised from Melbourne City's squad, Warren Joyce has been under growing pressure. Fornaroli isn't the first talented City player to get the boot under the divisive Brit's leadership (read: Neil Kilkenny) but the Uruguayan could be the last.

City's 1-1 draw with a 10-man Melbourne Victory outfit was worsened by Joyce's men taking the lead in fortuitous circumstances after Georg Niedermeier's brain fade gifted them a go-ahead through Jamie Maclaren's penalty and a numerical advantage to boot.

But Melbourne Victory's only shot of the match - the first time in A-League history the Big V have only recorded one - was turned in by Kosta Barbarouses thanks to sloppy goalkeeping from Eugene Galekovic.

"We're satisfied, we started the game well and when we lost Georg (Niedermeier) it was always going to be rough," Thomas Deng said.

"That is what it is, if the referee makes the decision you've got to abide by it. I think the boys did well.

"The instructions from the boss were to stay compact, stay solid and force them back. The boys did a tremendously good job, I felt comfortable, it was good to get the draw.

"I need some Neurofen," he laughed.

City had chances - both Rostyn Griffiths and Luke Brattan striking belters off the post from long range - but it was after Barbarouses' equaliser that the pressure on Joyce began to feel justified.

City were pushed back into ineffective and unthreatening positions by Victory, which due to resolute defending on both sides led to the most tepid Derby display in recent memory.

It's a performance that does nothing to reaffirm Joyce's position at the club. He's copped the brunt of constant speculation this week that he may be moving on from Melbourne, and while he was typically calm in front of the media, there may be a tipping point on the horizon.

"On a personal side you're happy with putting in a goal but it's disappointing we didn't create more chances, because I think they had one shot on goal," Maclaren said.

"We've got players who can do it, we're creating chances, we're getting in the box and we'll move on - it's just one game.

"Talk (of Warren Joyce's potential departure) doesn't affect us, the gaffer comes in with a smile on his face and he knows what it takes to get to the top.

"My sister put Melbourne Victory pillowcases and a doona on my bed, I thought she might have turned the fire alarm on last night, but she's great and she takes care of me. I love her and that's what family is about.

Melbourne Victory are now third, a point behind Sydney FC after the Sky Blues' win against Wellington Phoenix and seemingly out of the title race. Their sights now split between the Asian Champions League and preparing for a second-straight Championship tilt.

City's future is far less certain. Above Wellington in fifth only by a goal difference of one, with Newcastle Jets six points adrift in seventh and a poor run of form emerging, there are storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

"We came here to win the game - the only pressure on me is the pressure you put on yourself," Joyce said.

"There's efforts at goal, Griffiths hit the post, any of those go in and we would have been comfortable.

"It was a couple of minutes of madness. We sort of stopped after a penalty shout and then, not really a shot at goal goes in. I thought it was a fluke.

"That's another kick in the teeth for the team."