Macarthur FC have kept their undefeated record intact under the guidance of new coach Dwight Yorke after a brave defensive performance sealed a 1-1 draw away to Western United on Friday night.
Depleted of four midfielders and one defender due to injury and illness, including captain Ulises Davila, the Bulls frustrated the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions with a determined display in Melbourne. If it wasn’t for a tight VAR decision, Macarthur may have grabbed all three points after Matt Millar’s header was cancelled out by a strike from Western’s Lachlan Wales that was a tight offside call.
Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto continued his fine form of the season with an early save against Dylan Wenzel-Halls, parrying the powerful shot wide of the target. Macarthur withstood waves of Western United attacks, breaking down plays before they could become chances before striking midway through the first half. A well-rehearsed corner routine caught United’s defence off-guard, allowing Craig Noone to whip in a clever cross that was turned into goal by a powerful header from Millar, who scored his first goal for the Bulls.
Macarthur continued their stoic defence after the break when midfielder Jerry Skotadis made a heroic last-gasp tackle to deny Western United a certain goal.
The Bulls looked dangerous on the counter and winger Daniel Arzani forced United goalkeeper Jamie Young into a fine save at his near post.
Centre-back Tomi Uskok made a string of timely interceptions in defence before Kurto made another well-positioned save from Henzel-Halls. However, the Bulls’ goalkeeper was eventually beaten in the 69th minute.
Wales pounced on a cross from Josh Risdon to hit the back of the net but his celebrations were cut short by a linesman for offside. The replays were less than conclusive, however the VAR judged Wales to have maintained narrowly onside and awarded the goal.
“I have to give Western United a bit of credit,” York said. “We felt this was very likely to be our toughest test and it proved to be that way particularly, so we are delighted with a point.”