It was a very tough game to watch as Macarthur FC hosted the Perth Glory to close out Round 8 at Campbelltown Stadium as the hosts walked away with a victory in a low-event game.
Locked at a nil-all draw for the opening 70 minutes of the match with Perth having the only shot on target between the two sides. The visitors would be made to rue not capitalising on the chances it created in the first half with some inaccurate shooting hurting them as Macarthur found the opener to bring the game to life in the 71st minute through Bachana Arabuli.
Macarthur worked the ball out wide and a picture-perfect cross from Al Hassan Toure found the head of Arabuli at the far post who headed in a narrow gap between Liam Reddy and the post.
Jed Drew was substituted on by Dwight Yorke along with Jerry Skotadis, and it would not take long for the youngster Drew to get involved as Macarthur began to pile on the chances, but could not find a second.
The home side managed to escape with a win, despite some less-than-ideal football and looking quite lethargic with multiple first-half turnovers of possession in dangerous areas.
“We noticed that we needed to better in terms of quality,” Yorke said in the post-game press conference.
“The turnovers [have] been a bit of a concern for us and so, [the] players are fully aware of what the demands at this football club [are] when you play here.
“Whether it’s a nervy start being here, the expectation has gone up, but yeah, we thought the players do look a little bit lethargic.
“We work on it. We’ve got the sports science involved. We got the database to look at things to try and see what we can do to try and get them going.
“But yeah, it’s been a bit of a challenge since we have come back.”
What will help with that for Macarthur is that the next four games all occur in Sydney.
The Bulls play away to Sydney FC on Christmas Eve before another away game against the Western Sydney Wanderers on New Year’s Day, which is followed up by a two-game home stand against the Newcastle Jets and the Central Coast Mariners on the 8th and 13th of January respectively.
“Obviously we would prepare like it’s an away game for us because it’s at their stadium so our mindset will also be exactly the same,” Yorke said.
“But we are lucky enough that we don’t have to travel outside of Sydney for these important games coming up.”
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For Perth, it continues a rough season that sees it with only two wins on the season and bottom of the table.
In the words of Perth Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich, those missed chances are part of a broader frustration given his side did play some good football against Macarthur.
“It’s frustrating not to get something from that game just purely based on the positive football that we did play and the chances that we created and didn’t take,” Zadkovich said.
“It’s obviously frustrating first and foremost, there are some positives there and it’s a work in progress.”
For the Glory, even though they sit on the bottom of the ladder with only two wins from seven games so far this season, there is a long way to go to try and make the top six.
“It’s important to note we’ve played two games at home and won both of those games,” Zadkovichm said.
“In terms of the last win that we had was against Melbourne City at the end of last year, and they’re the premiers and last week’s result was against the champions.
“For us, we know that we’re capable and we know that it’s a lot more difficult on the road and we need to fix that away form.
“To do that, you’ve got to execute well under pressure, these games away from home are really tough and it’s an area that we really need to improve.
“The positive is we’ve got a run of home games and we’ll be looking to get on the front foot again in front of our fans and members and work our way up the table.”
That run of home games will see Perth play eight of its next 10 games out west, with its two away trips coming against Adelaide and Wellington, the latter of whom it also kicks off the run of fixtures against on the 23rd of December.
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