Growing up, Jake McGing’s dream was simply to play professionally. Whenever he’d practice on the fields of Raby, the hope was always just to step foot on Campbelltown Sports Stadium. On Sunday afternoon, McGing surpassed his childhood ambitions; he scored the last-gasp winner for his hometown club at the ground just a stone’s throw from where he grew up.
The 28-year-old defender from Raby popped-up with a 95th minute match-winning goal in a thrilling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon that kept Macarthur FC’s club’s finals hopes firmly in their grasp.
Thrown into the contest just 14 minutes earlier, the substitute defender finished the match as the hometown hero after delivering the vital three points that puts the Bulls just one win outside of the top six.
Speaking after the match, McGing was almost in disbelief. When asked if he ever thought a moment like this would occur, McGing said; “Definitely not.”
“Just playing professionally was my main thing but to do it in front of my family and friends from around here is a really good feeling,” he said.
McGing’s late winner followed two earlier classy strikes, one from Georgian striker Bachana Arabuli in the first half and a sensational individual goal scored by fullback Matt Millar.
The sapping heat may have been draining but it did little to stifle the Bulls’ creativity. Danny De Silva unlocked the Roar defence with a clever through ball, releasing Al Hassan Toure into space down the left flank. The forward’s first-time cross found Arabuli at the far post and the Georgian striker brought the ball down with one touch, rattled the back of the net with his second with a powerful volley that broke the deadlock.
After the half-hour, Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto pulled-off a fine save to deny Stefan Scepovic with a fingertip save on to the bar and keep the host’s 1-0 lead in tact by the break.
Half-time didn’t interrupt the Bulls’ dominance with Al-Hassan Toure bemoaning a matter of centimetres, watching his curling a shot from the edge of the box shave the wrong side of the post. On the hour, Arabuli almost doubled his tally with a glancing header from an Ivan Vujica cross.
Instead, it was Millar who nabbed Macarthur’s second with a superb solo run, dribbling past three players before rattling the far corner of the net with a powerful right foot strike.
However, the Roar hit back with two goals in as many minutes. James O’Shea scored from distance before Jez Lofthouse headed Brisbane back to 2-2.
After Tom Aldred was given his marching orders in injury time, reducing Brisbane to 10 men, the Bulls threw one last surge forward hoping to snatch a late winner.
Lurking at the back post was the unlikely attacking threat of McGing. The man who grew-up a few kilometres down the road leaped the highest to slam a powerful header into the opposite corner, shattering Roar’s hearts and sending the hometown crowd into delirium.
That goal ensures the Bulls are just three points adrift of the finals bracket ahead of next week’s trip to Mudgee to face Central Coast Mariners.