Bulls go top of A-League Men after nervy win over Mariners

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Macarthur held on to their first-half opener to go top of the A-League Men with a win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

Goalkeeping heroics and the emergence of Macarthur’s classy captain claimed the significant victory for the Bulls in Penrith.

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Lachlan Rose was again preferred to the recovering Tomi Juric and looked a consistent threat as the focal point of Macarthur’s attack. The corner he’d earned was awkwardly tipped over the bar by Yaren Sozer, before Moudi Najjar’s follow up volley sailed over by a distance in the first chance of the match.

Craig Noone began to come into his own when he cut back onto his left foot and pinged over to Najjar, whose shot would just miss the far post as Macarthur slowly assumed some dominance after 20 minutes.

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As Noone roamed up the Mariners’ left side, one of his shots sent Sozer into an awkward dive. He’d continue until his next touch of the ball, when he was replaced by 17-year-old substitute keeper Lawrence Caruso after 22 minutes.

Captain Ulises Dávila started to look too good for the away team as his ventures upfield drew two yellow cards in quick succession, before Noone’s corner swung in and clipped the top of the bar on the half hour mark. Rose remained a consistent lifter of bums from seats from the top of Macarthur’s formation.

Central Coast enjoyed a period of attacking momentum which peaked when Storm Roux worked his way to the byline and pulled back for Cy Goddard, who had time and space from the penalty spot. A brilliant, floating save from Filip Kurto denying the visitors with half-time approaching.

Dávila would silence his frustrations about a blocked shot moments earlier, when he calmly slotted home from inside the box on the stroke of half-time, giving the Bulls a well-deserved lead. The goal would however be credited as an Oliver Bozanic own goal.

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Kurto’s second half started out with another highlight reel save, flashing a hand up to swat away a close-range effort from Goddard in the erratic, end-to-end start to the second period. Marco Ureña interplaying nicely before sliding the ball just wide moments later.

He would unfortunately be involved again later when some brave goalkeeping cleaning up scraps within the six-yard box left him vulnerable to a rough coming together with Mariners’ Matheus Moresche. He would remain on the pitch as the Bulls used their final substitution to introduce Juric, who would work the keeper three times in the following minutes.

A succession of corners and free-kicks coming in the 89th minute put hearts in Macarthur mouths as seven minutes of injury time were announced. Kurto’s brilliance continuing to deny the men in gold on countless occasions before the final whistle blew in grey-skied Penrith.

Macarthur FC 1 (Bozanic OG 45′)

Central Coast Mariners 0

BlueBet Stadium, Penrith

Referee: Ben Abraham

Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev & Brad Wright

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

Macarthur FC: Filip KURTO (GK), Tomislav USKOK, Aleksandar JOVANOVIĆ(76′), Aleksandar ŠUŠNJAR, Moudi NAJJAR, Tommy OAR(67′), Charles M’Mombwa, Daniel DE SILVA(77′), Craig NOONE, Ulises DÁVILA, Lachlan ROSE(70), Liam ROSE(67′), Al Hassan TOURE(70′), James MEREDITH(76′), Tomi JURIĆ(77′)

Unused Subs: Nick ŠUMAN(GK), Michael RUHS, Antonis MARTIS

Central Coast Mariners: Yaren SÖZER(GK)(22′), Joshua NISBET(64′), Cy GODDARD(80′), Oliver BOZANIC, Matheus MORESCHE, Marco UREÑA, Kye ROWLES, Storm ROUX(64′), Jacob FARRELL, Ruon TONGYIK(45), Harrison STEELE, LAWRENCE CARUSO(GK)(22′), Daniel HALL(45′), Béni NKOLOLO(64′), Lewis MILLER(64′), Harry MCCARTHY(80′),

Unused Subs: Max BALARD, Damian TSEKENIS,

Feature Image Credit: Macarthur FC

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Tom Macrae
Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

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