Jonathan Germano.
Jonathan Germano. Getty Images Sport - Matt Roberts

Bolton's heroics stifle Roar

MELBOURNE Heart has survived a stoppage time penalty to continue to frustrate reigning A-League champions Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

The Roar has failed to pick up a victory against the Heart this season and tonight's one-all draw means the frugal visitors have conceded only two points to the hosts all season.

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However, the Roar had the chance to claim its first victory against the fledgling club in the dying minutes, but Heart's goalkeeper Clint Bolton pulled off a miraculous save to deny Mohamed Adnan from the penalty spot.

But despite the late drama, Heart coach John van't Schip believed his team had made a 'big step' against the side he believes are the benchmark of the league. 

"You're always in the game until the ball is behind the line," van't Schip said.

"And (Clint Bolton) seems to like to have penalties kicked against him because he can become the hero.

"(But) the Roar in my opinion are still the favorite for the championship and to win the grand final.

"But we've closed the gap ... we've given them more work to beat us and they didn't achieve it this year."

The match had a number of minor moments to wet the appetite early on, but the crowd had to wait till the 33rd minute before the stalemate was broken.

Roar's Mitch Nichols claimed the opener and his eighth goal of the season when he fired home from the edge of the area after a deflected Thomas Broich shot fell kindly at his feet.

But not even Roar 'keeper Michael Theoklitos' heroics - pulling off two expert saves in the space of a minute - could stop the Melbourne Heart from striking back, Curtis Good scoring his first A-League goal immediately after the restart.

Heart's Eli Babalj had a golden opportunity late in the match to secure the victory, but despite beating both Theoklitos and Adnan, smacked the ball into the side netting.

But the biggest talking point of the game came down to the injury time square-off between Adnan and Bolton, the Heart 'keeper the biggest victor in an other dead-heat race of a match.

The draw cements both clubs in their original positions at the start of the match - the Roar cutting down the gap to league leaders Central Coast Mariners to two points while the Heart remain fifth, four points ahead of the chasing Sydney FC.