A-League: Injury depleted Wellington Phoenix fight back to claim gutsy draw against heavyweight Melbourne City

Wellington Phoenix have fought back to claim a draw in the race for an A-League playoff spot, holding Melbourne City to a 2-2 stalemate at AAMI Park.

A late equaliser from Tomer Hemed was enough to earn the Phoenix a valuable point in the race for an A-League play-off spot, with the Kiwi side three points off sixth place. 

However, the Phoenix have played two games more than Brisbane Roar, and one game more than Western Sydney Wanderers.

Despite some nervy moments in the first half, forcing goalkeeper Oli Sail into action, the Phoenix took the lead in the 37th minute.

Defender Louis Fenton was brought down inside the area, forcing the referee into giving a penalty for the Kiwi side, as import Tomer Hemed stepped up to fire the ball past City 'keeper Tom Glover from the spot.

Hemed risked the wrath of officials though, as the Israeli international ran into the crowd to embrace the Israel flag, amid ongoing fighting in the Gaza strip.

But even with a 1-0 halftime lead, the Phoenix were always going to have their work cut out for them against the A-League leaders.

In the 57th minute, City equalised through Japan's Naoki Tsubaki, on the end of a cross to poke home from close range for his first goal in sky blue.

The hosts then took the lead in the 80th minute, after Adrian Luna was brought down on the edge of the area by Phoenix midfielder Clayton Lewis.

Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren then fired the free-kick into the back of the net past a diving Sail - affected by an arm injury. Already the league's leading scorer, the strike was Maclaren's 25th of the season, coming in only 22 appearances.

But with time running out, Hemed poked in a cross from David Ball for his second goal of the evening, levelling the scores in the 88th minute to earn the Phoenix a valuable point.

After his provocative first goal celebration though, Hemed produced a kippah (skull cap) from his sock, and was shown a yellow card.

The draw left the Phoenix having missed the chance to move within one point of the top six.

However missing captain Ulises Davila with injury, and key defender Steven Taylor through illness, the Phoenix will certainly be content with having held the league leaders to a draw in their own backyard.

The Phoenix will now head back across the Tasman for their first home game of the season, taking on Western United in Wellington on Saturday.