Sydney youth held by AIS

Sydney FC missed the chance to close the gap on National Youth League leaders Adelaide and Gold Coast following a frustrating 2-2 draw with the Australian Institute of Sport at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Sydney FC missed the chance to close the gap on National Youth League leaders Adelaide and Gold Coast following a frustrating 2-2 draw with the Australian Institute of Sport at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Heading into the Round 13 encounter, Steve O'Connor's outfit had lost three games on the trot but started the better thanks to industrious performances from Sam Munro and Rhyan Grant in the middle of the park.

Chris Payne should have opened the scoring after seven minutes against the competition cellar dwellers but couldn't keep his shot down after Adam Casey fed him on the right.

Two minutes later Mitchell Speer went close from a Munro corner but headed his chance over the bar.

Midway through the first stanza AIS custodian Lawrence Thomas brilliantly denied Sky Blues marksman Kerem Bulut three times within the space of 10 seconds to give the impression it wasn't going to be the hosts' day.

The Canberra based XI then almost took the lead when Eli Babalj only had Nenad Vekic to beat.

Moments later the burly marksman was denied by a perfectly timed tackle inside the area from Matthew Jurman.

On the stroke of halftime Babalj finally got his name on the scoresheet following a clinical finish from the edge of the area after he was played in by Jared Lum.

Sydney squared the ledger eight minutes after the break thanks to the persistence of Iain Ramsey.

The wingback chased down a hopeful ball from Luke Austin and squared the ball to Bulut who side footed home with aplomb.

Ray Miller then gave the Cove faithful something to cheer following a neat finish with 13 minutes remaining only for Babalj to grab his second five minutes later.

Bulut almost won it when he rattled a shot onto the crossbar leading into injury time, but in the end Sydney deserves to stay mid-table after missing a hatful of chances over the 90 minutes.

Sydney 2 (Bulut 53, Miller 77) AIS 2 (Babalj 43', 82) @ The Sydney Football Stadium 5/12/09