A youthful-looking Box Hill United side recorded a spirited 1-1 draw against more-fancied Northcote City in their opening NPL2 fixture at Wembley Park.
Italian import Nino Lacagnina handed Box Hill the lead just after half-time, only for the visitors to draw level midway through the second period via James Karvelis.
After a slow start to the game, the Con Karagiannidis-coached Box Hill looked more threatening down the flanks, relying on the pace of Lacagnina and Delarno Pharoe on either wing.
And on 16 minutes, the hosts earned a corner after some deft one-touch play from the right and Isaiah Joseph let one fly from distance but missed the target by inches.
Four minutes later, Box Hill carved their best chance of the first-half, as Pharoe darted down the right and fed Rowan McNamee, who could only boot the ball over the bar in front of an empty net.
Northcote City came close with two successive shots on 38 minutes, with Anthony Rizk testing United goalkeeper Christian Pavlidis from a free-kick and Karvelis hitting wide on the rebound.
However, Box Hill continued to boss proceedings with their patient possession after the restart, but City looked to counter by playing a higher backline.
On 52 minutes, Pharoe was at it again for United, forcing a save from opposition goalkeeper Phil Petrovski, but Javier Marangos recycled the ball and sent in a fierce cross, which Lacagnina duly redirected into the back of the net.
The away side now looked to up the ante, and close to the hour mark, Northcote’s Adrian B. enforced a save from Pavlidis via a low drive, and the resulting corner was headed out for a goal-kick.
With 22 minutes remaining, Peter Tsolakis’ men drove forward once more, this time Leo A.’s menacing free-kick from 25 yards drawing a flying intervention from Pavlidis.
But Northcote scored from the resulting corner, as Karvelis tucked home through a sea of legs inside the box.
A late flurry of corners landed Box Hill’s way as they surged forward for a winner, but these were in vain, as the rivals ended with the spoils shared.
Box Hill United starting XI: C Pavlidis (GK), J Marangos, T Aresti, D Pharoe (N Hussainy 69’), N Kokolakis ©, R McNamee, I Joseph (S Azagane 58’), A Miltiadou, N Lacagnina (N Liberto 74’), S Logozzo, D Nielsen
Substitutions not used: L Hogben, Y Skliros (GK)