Pitch perfect conditions greeted the players in Wollongong on Sunday afternoon, as both teams met for the first time since playing out a 1-all draw in Match Week 3 of the competition.
With both outfits coming off wins in their previous starts, the two teams were cautious of each other during the opening 45 minutes.
While the Bulls dominated the bulk of possession, the Nix worked hard in transition creating a chance early on, forcing keeper Adam Federici into a difficult diving save.
Both defences held firm during the opening half-hour of play, until Ivan Franjic found some space down the right side and produced a neat cross into the box for Denis Genreau, only for it to be hooked up on Tommy Oar boot and defused by the Wellington Defenders.
Resuming in the second-half, the Bulls flew out of the gates and looked a completely different team to the one in the first half, possibly down to the Nix “Wollongong Wolves” red inspired kit – with many commenting it was a red rag to a bull – or maybe the half-time address from coach Ante Milicic.
With almost immediate effect 30 seconds into the second stanza, Loic Puyo almost found the back of the net with a deflection off an Ivan Franjic rocket.
As the match wore on, the Bulls showed more urgency and pressed the Nix defence high and hard, it seemed only a matter of time before pressure turned into goals.
At the 60 minute mark, another Franjic ball was whipped towards the box and dealt with by Tim Payne, who caressed the ball back to Phoenix keeper Oli Sail, however he could only parry the ball into Denis Genreau who rattled the Kiwi’s net, in what turned to be the match winner.
Great anticipation by @DenisGenreau ?
— A-League (@ALeague) March 28, 2021
They call football the beautiful game, but sometimes you need to win ugly to grow and move forward.
Macarthur FC Coach Ante Milicic said post-match:
“I’m very happy. To come here against a team full of confidence, get 3 points and a clean sheet – I’m delighted.”
“I thought Susnjar, Jovanovic and Milligan defended very well today when they pressed us and put us under pressure.”
“We got pinned back after we scored. We wanted to keep the ball and play more in their half but sometimes that’s what happens.”
“We’ve won two in a row now; we need to continue to focus on ourselves. As we get more consistency in our line up, I’m hoping we can show that on match day.”
“We have another great opportunity to put another positive performance on Friday against Perth at home and go for three in a row.” Milicic said.
With four home games in four weeks for the Bulls, fans can now purchase a Bulls Bundle for $100 for an adult and guarantee themselves a spot for each of the four matches in April.