Running into a stiff breeze during the opening 45 minutes, it was always going to be a tough assignment for the Bulls to tame the high flying Roar outfit – who decimated Melbourne Victory 5-2 just 3 days prior.
In a tight first half where chances were as rare as hens’ teeth, Roar’s Wenzel Halls had the pick of the chances driving Bull’s gloveman Adam Federici into a couple of testing saves.
With 1 minute of additional time on, Bull’s young-gun Antonis Martis forced Roar keeper Jamie Young into his most challenging save of the evening, after a half volley sat up for Martis on the edge of the box, only to be swatted away from Young.
At the break it would be all square at 0-0.
With the wind at their backs, the Bulls started the second stanza fast and sharp, creating their best chance of the night at the 51 minute mark. After some sustained pressure from the home side, a super ball from captain Mark Milligan to Denis Genreau, who had done well to break through Brisbane’s back 3, found him one on one with Roar keeper Jamie Young, who pulled off brilliant near-post save to deny the Bulls midfielder.
From that point the game started to open, with Brisbane on the counter quickly and dominating the middle part of the second half.
After a perfectly timed triple substitution from Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic in the 71st minute, saw the injection of fresh legs and some crafty work in the box from youngster Jake Hollman. Squaring up Roar defenders at the edge of the box, Hollman produced a wonderful ball for Genreau to find the back of the net and his first A-League goal.
A first ever @ALeague goal for Denis Genreau ??
— Macarthur FC (@mfcbulls) February 9, 2021
The impact of substitutes has been felt across the opening 8 weeks of the competition and last night was no different.
With the Roar attacking and searching for a late equaliser, the ball broke free and – after conceding a goal in identical fashion last week against the Wanderers – a quick thinking Matt Derbyshire chipped the keeper from 40m out to seal a valuable away 3 points for the Bulls.
Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic said after the match he was delighted with the result.
“We knew coming here was a massive task. The way Brisbane’s home record is and the way they have played in the opening weeks, we made the decision as a coaching group to manage the load on some of our players who had been playing 90 minutes previously, and the boys who got an opportunity responded excellently.
“I’m a firm believer to be successful in this competition you need to use your entire playing squad. We had full confidence in the guys who waited patiently for their opportunity, and tonight showed what we have seen each week on the training pitch.
“I’m happy for Jake Hollman. He has shown patience and waited for his opportunity. Tonight, he showed excellent composure creating the first goal for Denis, it is a further step in the right direction for him.
“I’m really pleased the way we started the first half, but we didn’t hurt them enough, we didn’t penetrate their defence as much as we would have liked, but the fact we stayed in the game is a real positive for us.
“Anyone can beat anyone in the A-League. What we want to do is play good football for longer periods, if we can do that, we believe that will turn into results.
“Tonight’s result is good. 3 points against a team who have been in good form, for us we now though, we need to recover and turn our focus towards Adelaide on Friday night back home.”