24/05/2024

Macarthur FC captain celebrates against the Newcastle Jets after scoring. (Photo Credit: Macarthur FC/Twitter)

A tale of two halves greeted the 3,213 spectators who baked away in the Sunday afternoon heat at Campbelltown Stadium and saw Macarthur walk away victorious.

A slow start to proceedings saw Macarthur’s backline give up multiple opportunities to the visiting Newcastle Jets in the first half, with an inability to finish from the visitors allowed Macarthur to take a lead into the break against the run of play.

A sublime bit of magic from Ulises Davila saw a pass make its way through to Al Hassan Toure who was left to go one-on-one with Dane Ingham and had no issues slotting it past Jack Duncan.

The chance for Newcastle to atone for its mistake was gifted just moments later as Filip Kurto fouled Joshua Sotirio inside the box, but Beka Mikeltadze missed the ensuing penalty which allowed the hosts to take the one-goal lead into the break.

Speaking postgame, Newcastle Jets coach Arthur Papas was blunt about his squad’s performance and inability to finish.

“It’s a quality (issue) sometimes, it’s a belief (issue) at other times,” Papas said.

“The first 30 minutes we’re slicing through them, we’re getting into these situations. I don’t think you can do much more than, you know, walk it into the back of the net so we just have to concentrate more, we have to create even better quality chances.

“We are creating good enough situations to be scoring goals and you score a goal and the complexion of the game would change. They [the opposition] would need to open up a little bit more and probably the game would be on the other foot.

“If you can’t do that, you’ll be chasing games and against teams that play really well on the counter-attack that’s going to be difficult.”

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Coming out of the dressing rooms at half-time, whatever Dwight Yorke’s half-time speech was seemed to work, as Macarthur came out firing and had a multitude of chances, including a header from Davila rattling the woodwork.

The Mexican maestro found the goal to compliment his assist, however, striking one past Duncan to double the lead for the hosts, and enough to see the Bulls walk away victorious.

“He’s massive. There’s no other way to describe [it]. He’s the best player in the league by a mile in my opinion.” Macarthur coach Dwight Yorke said on Davila when asked how crucial he was to his side post-game.

“He’s not just a wonderful player, but a wonderful guy. He’s such a great leader to have and I’m very blessed to have such a fantastic footballer.

“He is the man around here without a doubt. He plays in my team any day of the week.” 

Some more magic from Macarthur’s number 10 almost gave the side a third goal as he put Anthony Carter in behind after a scintillating run, but the shot missed wide.

For Yorke, whose side now has three wins in its last four outings, the result against Newcastle was satisfying, but he acknowledges more could have been done.

“(I’m) satisfied with the result. [I] wasn’t particularly too satisfied with the first-half performance. That’s me being a little bit critical about my team because [of] the standard we try to set here, but nevertheless, we were after the results, which was the most important thing at the end of the day and we managed to do that,” he said.

“From that point of view, I’m very pleased. Pleased with the second half of course. I think [in the] second half we were more assertive in the way we play and precise in the way how we play, but sometimes the opposition you have to give them credit, you know, and certainly [in the] first half they caused us some problems.

“We just couldn’t get a foothold into the game [in the first half]. The transition was breaking down and coming back.

“The turnovers were far too easy than we wanted to, especially in the heat and the weather as well and so players having to work extremely hard to get behind the ball and when you do lose the ball cheaply like in some areas that we did early on, that causes some problems.

“They (the Newcastle Jets) played a high tempo game and fast and they seemed to, you know, from free kicks standpoint and the goalkeeper’s [kicks] were taken before we set, so things that again, you learn week in, week out about things you can be better at.

“Although we are an improving team, there are certain things we can be far more better at as well.”

The victory puts Macarthur into fourth place to end the weekend, and a chance to leapfrog the Central Coast Mariners when that side visits Campbelltown on Friday night in a clash that could see Melbourne City the real victors if Macarthur walks away with the three points.

If Macarthur wins, Melbourne City, currently on 25 points, would be five points clear of Macarthur who would move to 20 points, and have a chance to extend that lead to eight points when they travel to face the Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.

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