Youngster Nishan Velupillay has sunk Central Coast at the death to deliver Melbourne Victory a desperately needed 1-0 win and arrest their poor run of form since their FFA Cup triumph.

Velupillay's header in the 94th minute, just 13 minutes after entering the fray, proved enough to turn a dour stalemate into a crucial three points at AAMI Park.

Tony Popovic's side were coming off three consecutive losses and hadn't won in the A-League Men since Boxing Day amid poor results and postponements, with Saturday night's result lifting them back into the top six.

"Obviously, a very important win. Tough game. Really difficult match," Popovic said.

"They defended very well, it was a bit of an arm wrestle. In the end we kept going which was very encouraging.

"We didn't really give a chance away in the game, defensively we were very solid.

"We remained patient and confident that we could get the winner and the players that came on made a great impact so we are delighted with the win."

Victory's win was soured by a left quad/hip injury to defender Matthew Spiranovic, suffered in a strong challenge on Jason Cummings late in the first half.

"He had to come off for it so he will miss some time which is a shame because he's been playing really well," Popovic said.

"We've had a couple of other players unavailable, whether they're injured or sick, which made Matty maybe play too many games in this period,

"He's looked really good and I feel for him but I know he will come back stronger again."

The Mariners are now winless in five ALM games, with their last league victory on December 18, after once again dropping points by a goal conceded in the 90th minute or later.

Both teams had some chances without reward in an otherwise dour stalemate but Victory seized control when Velupillay came on in the 81st minute.

Five minutes later the youngster slipped through Francesco Margiotta, only for the Italian to fire wide.

Robbie Kruse and Chris Ikonomidis combined for another missed opportunity two minutes later.

Victory found their winner at the death when Ikonomidis stood up his defender, then lofted a ball to the back post where Velupillay rose highest to head home the winner.

"A point to either team would have been, I think, a fair result," Mariners coach Nick Montgomery said.

"So to cop that in the 94th minute, last couple of seconds of injury time was a big blow.

"The boys put a lot of effort in tonight and you could see watching the game it was just one moment of quality and Ikonomidis provided that with a cross to the back post."


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The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.