Victory paid the price for Keisuke Honda's absence, Kevin Muscat apparently making the decision today in the interests of protecting his Japanese superstar over the hectic New Year period. 

His admission was exacerbated when Nick Ansell departed injured in the opening minutes, without a defensive sub on the bench, Josh Hope replaced him.

Sarpreet Singh is becoming the envy of every Australian football fan, effortlessly filling the void left by Daniel Arzani's A-League departure. 

After pulling the strings as Wellington impressed themselves upon AAMI Park, the New Zealand international ended the half with its best chance, but was unable to get his shot away under significant pressure.  

David Williams' screamer gave Wellington the advantage, the former Melbourne City striker showing that he still has a lot to offer the A-League after a tough time in Hungary. 

"It was good y'know," Williams said in his Aussie drawl - his ocker accent unaffected from his time overseas - "We pushed them to their limits. They're champions for a reason and I think people here are disappointed with the draw.

"Ohh, it's a pretty good goal. The squad's going to rotate, so we've got a tough mentality and it's going to serve us well. 

"Our tactics don't vary too much but we've got to fight and push forward. Sometimes we can run out of legs. It's a game of football."

But a patient Victory never looked like leaving without a point, Ola Toivonen poaching Terry Antonis' drive into the box, ending the match 1-1. 

"They press through the front well but we didn't do enough trying to beat that front press, especially in the first half, we could have hurt them that way," Kosta Barbarouses said.

"It's tough losing a player early, you work all week and it changes the picture. I think Hopey can do really well in the team."