20/04/2024

Macarthur FC go away disappointed with just a point from Sunday's home game against Newcastle. Photo: @mfcbulls on Twitter.

Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic was pleased with his side's first half fightback against Newcastle despite a wasteful second half in front of goal.

After back-to-back losses from early goals in its two previous matches, Macarthur FC was faced with an all too familiar situation on Sunday evening.

Taking on the lowly Jets at home, the Bulls gave away a penalty in the 27th minute.

Newcastle forward Roy O’Donovan took full advantage of the chance, finding the back right of the net past keeper Adam Federici with ease.

While it would have been easy for his men to roll over, coach Ante Milicic was pleased with their fight to respond with two first half goals.

“Particularly after we lost the previous two games, to go one-nil down at home after a penalty was not the ideal start for us,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of good professionals in those change rooms and we don’t accept that and lie down. They got on with the job.

“I thought we were good in the first half, we deserved the lead, we played some good football and we scored some really nice goals.”

The first of the two goals came through 23-year-old Charles M’Mombwa in just his first start for the Bulls.

M’Mombwa would proceed to celebrate with his family and friends in the crowd, who took up nearly an entire section of the stands at Campbelltown Stadium themselves.

In the youngster’s third game back from an ankle issue, Milicic was proud of the effort he showed during the game.

“As we saw today, he plays with great freedom, he really enjoys the game and he’s got a smile on his face, he’s a good kid,” he said.

“He’s settled in really well to the professional environment to make that step up.

“Tonight he got a start, he got his chance, which I thought was excellent. Hopefully now he can remain calm and build on that performance.”

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It was a night for young and old, with veteran Matt Derbyshire performing his role to perfection.

Typically known for his scoring capabilities, Derbyshire played more of a supporting role, notching up assists for both goals in the first half.

“He’s been excellent for us,” Milicic said.

“We talk about his goals, tonight he added assists into his games. He worked excellently.

“You have to remember, he turned 35 the other day. He’s just played three times 90 minutes in eight days.

“The amount of work he does is impressive, he’s a great professional and we’re very fortunate to have him at the football club.”

Youngster Lachie Rose and Socceroo Tommy Oar were both crucial in creating opportunities on the night.

The pair had 22 crosses and created three chances between them, Rose also having three shots in the box.

Milicic was impressed with the games of both players.

“I thought he [Oar] was a constant threat in the first half and he looked good,” he said.

“Lachie Rose is growing into that position. If you think where he’s come from, he’s been excellent. I think he’s understanding now a lot of different aspects of the game.

“He’s a young player, so he has that freedom and that no fear, he’s great to watch.

“For him scoring against Brisbane [two matches prior] gives him a bit of confidence and it’s important for a young player. I think he can build on that.”

After a hectic fixture, Macarthur will have a week to prepare for a must-win clash with top of the table Melbourne City to keep their finals flame alive.

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