Macarthur FC players walked out to Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday night with the knowledge their striking pink and navy match jerseys were going to be auctioned off to support young Australians in need. When they left the field, they ensured the one-off kit would be somewhat of a collectors item after coming close to pulling-off one of the shocks of the season with a brave 1-1 draw against Melbourne City.
With the odds stacked against them, the Bulls held the runaway A-League leaders to a point at home with a dogged defensive performance that almost delivered all three points to the South West Sydney club. Only an fortuitous deflection gave City a share of the spoils in front of a vocal home crowd in a match that gave the Bulls plenty of reason to believe their finals hopes are still alive.
“I’m very proud of our boys. We want to be hard to beat and I thought we were tonight and we weathered the storm. In the end, I thought we could have snatched the win,” Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski said.
If the heat was meant to be stifling, it only brought out the most stoic of Macarthur’s character. It was lead by captain Tomi Uskok, who made a crucial goal-line clearance early in the match before Danny De Silva was fearless in attack, coming close from distance shortly after.
The Bulls had to absorb pressure at times but had no hesitation striking on the counter and with venom. Al-Hassan Toure took matters into his own hands, embarking on a lethal solo run from inside his own half after 24 minutes. After beating two, he found the run of American Jason Romero inside the box and the Bulls’ recruit oozed composure when he fooled City goalkeeper Tom Glover, rounding him to slot the opener.
When City came out firing in the second half, the Bulls’ defence stood firm. Immense pressure on Marco Tilio saw the Australian International spurn a chance from close range before desperate defending thwarted Jamie Maclaren.
It was a stroke of luck for City that put them back into the game. Jordan Bos’ cross was deflected into the net by Macarthur’s Jonathan Aspropotamitis, who had been a rock in the Bulls’ backline all night.
In the end, it was Macarthur who could have snared all three points. Substitutes Lachie Rose and Jed Drew came close with a chance each in the dying minutes to earn a standing ovation from the home fans and send a shiver down the spine of the league leaders.
The gritty show ensured the pink and navy Sony Foundation Australia charity jersey will be me fondly remembered and more sought after with the kits on auction to raise funds for young Australians in need.
Bulls fans can bid on the match-worn jerseys here.