Drama in Campbelltown as late penalty earns Bulls a point against Newcastle

Macarthur striker Valère Germain’s 99th-minute penalty earned the Bulls a dramatic point in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets in the Isuzu UTE A-League at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday night.

The Jets scored early through a classy Clayton Taylor finish, and benefited from a marginal VAR offside call that denied Ulises Dávila an equaliser early in the second half. But as the visitors closed in on all three points, Germain converted the late equaliser from the spot.

Jets defender Phillip Cancar sent Lachlan Rose to ground with a clumsy challenge to grant Macarthur the late penalty, duly converted by Germain to earn the Bulls a share of the spoils.


The Jets took the lead just nine minutes into the contest through Taylor, who was picked out at the back post by Thomas Aquilina with a sublime early cross, whipped between Macarthur’s defensive line and Filip Kurto in goal for Taylor to bury into the bottom-right corner.

The Jets took the attacking impetus after the early goal and it was the combination of Aquilina and Taylor causing all the early danger for the Bulls. Aquilina received possession on the right and played a smart pass into space in the box for Taylor to latch onto and crash his first-time attempt off the crossbar.

Raphael Borges Rodrigues tired his best to stop the early Jets momentum, taking an Ulises Dávila pass with his back to goal and striking over the crossbar on the turn. 

Macarthur’s Clayton Lewis kept up the pressure, playing a one-two with Valère Germain to go one-on-one with Ryan Scott – but the Jets keeper stood tall to parry his shot away. Germain won a corner after yet another Scott save, before Jed Drew headed wide from close range as Newcastle survived a flurry of action in their defensive box.

An entertaining start to the half gave way to a holding pattern of midfield play until the Bulls struck the post shortly before half-time. Tomislav Uskok ventured forward for a corner and rose to meet a dangerous delivery, crashing his header off the woodwork.

Just minutes into the second half came a moment of controversy as Dávila’s equalising strike was wiped from the scoresheet. VAR Alex King adjudged the Macarthur midfielder had strayed into an offside position before regaining possession to strike into the bottom-left corner.

It was a chaotic passage of play in the box as Dávila overran the ball; Mark Natta’s attempted clearance took a touch off Bulls winger Raphael, deflected off the chest of Jets midfielder Brandon O’Neill and fell back into the path of Dávila to score.

The offside lines were drawn from the moment Raphael touched Natta’s clearance, leaving a frustrated Macarthur to rue the end decision as Newcastle’s 1-0 lead was restored.

Jake Hollman emerged from the Bulls bench and immediately looked to make an impact in the final third; Dávila found the Macarthur live-wire after an adventurous run through midfield and his curling effort was on target, but well saved by Scott.

Macarthur had a late corner in second-half stoppage time and goalkeeper Kurto ventured forward for the set play; after multiple crosses into the box, the ball fell kindly for Germain but the Frenchman’s shot drifted wide of the mark.

Then came Cancar’s late foul on Rose that sent the Bulls to the spot; Cancar bundled Rose to the ground as he shaped to convert a one-on-one against Scott, and up stepped Germain to tuck the penalty home and steal a late point away from the Jets.

The moment

Jets defender Phillip Cancar appeared inconsolable after his late challenge on Lachlan Rose provided Macarthur a leveller via the penalty spot – but he’ll take plenty of encouragement from what came after the final whistle of Friday night’s 1-1 draw.

Macarthur duo Tomislac Uskok and goalscorer Valère Germain rushed over to Cancar after full-time to embrace the young defender; it was a classy gesture from two players who were eager to show support to their opponent following the dramatic end to proceedings at Campbelltown Stadium.

Jets teenager Clayton Taylor then showed maturity beyond his years as he spoke to Paramount+ post-game, providing encouraging words to his teammate and urging Cancar to look forward as Newcastle continue to plot a way into the top six.

“We’ve got to make sure he doesn’t put his head down,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to move on to next week, and it could be really heartbreaking for him to give away the penalty like that.

“But we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t affect him. He’s an important part of the team, our centre-back, so we’ve got to make sure he keeps his head up and moves on to next week.”

Jets head coach Robbie Stanton was then asked about Cancar’s late foul in the box that led to Macarthur’s 99th-minute equaliser, to which he responded: “He’s a big boy. He’s going to have to learn to deal with things like that. 

“I had no problem. He’s been putting his body on the line week in, week out. For me it’s nothing. We didn’t lose two points because he made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. It’s the furthest thing from my mind.

“What I want to see from Phil is (to) pick himself up and move on very quickly… when you work with young players, you have to keep working on them whether it’s mentally, physically, technically, or tactically to get the best out of him.

“I have no problems, it’s going to happen and I accept it.”

The star

Ulises Dàvila was the key contributor to Macarthur’s much-improved display in the second half of Friday night’s draw with the Jets.

The Bulls captain led from the front to inspire the hosts back into the contest, and felt aggrieved not to have seen his early equaliser in the second stanza count after a marginal offside call.

After a slow start to the season Dávila is hitting his straps, and if the Bulls are to turn a four-game winless run around, expect the crafty and creative midfielder to be at the heart of their resurgence.

What it means

The Jets were just seconds away from recording a 1-0 win away from home that would have launched them into the top six, but Robbie Stanton’s side will take encouragement from their performance in Campbelltown – particularly in the first half – against the fourth-placed Bulls.

Newcastle sit ninth after Friday night’s result, and travel to Allianz Stadium to take on Brisbane Roar in Unite Round next weekend.

For the Bulls, the 1-1 draw stopped a three-game losing streak but Mile Sterjovski’s side will hope to notch their first win in five games when they take on Adelaide United on the road on Monday night.

Macarthur have been forced to contend with a tight schedule of late, losing to Western Sydney on January 1 and backing up just four days later in the 1-1 draw with the Jets, with a mere three-day turnaround before Monday night’s meeting with the Reds.

Macarthur sit fourth on the table but could be overtaken by both Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners by the end of the weekend.