Macarthur are in a “hole in 2022”, according to Paramount+ pundit Andy Harper, and were punished by a Brisbane side that should have won by more on Sunday.
Home comforts are helping Roar re-ignite their season, with Warren Moon’s side earning a third win of their Isuzu UTE A-League campaign; the 3-1 win against Macarthur sees them now four points from Ante Milicic’s side, who have not won in five.
Nikola Mileusnic set the tone, scoring the season’s fastest goal after 62 seconds in a delightful snapshot of everything good about the Roar. Thereafter, they should have put the Bulls to bed but could not.
The fact Milicic’s side, playing their first match outside of NSW this season, could turn find another gear in the second-half having been handed a lifeline by Roar’s profligacy, speaks volumes of their issues at the moment.
“They’re in a hole, a big hole,” Harper assessed on Paramount+.
“Their lack of points since the new year; they didn’t show many signs of turning it around (in the second-half).
“They’ve got a highly talented squad of players and are note even close to being the sum of their parts.
“(But) the night belongs to Brisbane and they should’ve won more comfortably.”
The opening goal was a snapshot of both teams’ energy for the night.
After the match, goal scorer Henry Hore said “we really needed that”. And from the start, Roar looked a side with plenty to prove.
“When a coach sits down, puts a team together – this is what Warren Moon had in mind with these three players,” Harper enthused.
“Mileusnic running in being,
“Lescano (coming short, linking).
“O’Shea threading (passes) in behind.
“Perfect from a coaching point of view.”
He continued: “A great tonic for Brisbane, they’re a battling team, not playing with the same resources as others in the competition. They may use it to catapult their way higher up the comp.”
On Moon, he explained: “He’s proved himself to be a good coach; Connor Chapman could be a big inclusion. (New Japanese signing) Ryo Wada a jack in a box.
“He has a couple he can inject.
“He has always been a picture of calmness … I’m wondering if he is feeling the pressure … or changing his demeanour a little to shake some players to other exertions. They are a competitive unit.”
Mariners throw away another two points
For the second time in four days, Central Coast have dropped two points, leading in the 90th minute.
Craig Noone’s outrageous goal on Thursday night snared a point for Macarthur against the Mariners, and on Sunday night, Daniel Stynes did likewise, three minutes into stoppage time.
Central Coast had taken the lead through Jason Cummings, and former Mariners striker Daniel McBreen described the outcome as “two points (they) threw away”.
The Paramount+ pundit said: “They should’ve killed this game off earlier…
“I thought it would be Perth to die off … but they snatched a last gasp equaliser … composed finish by Daniel Stynes.
“It is a Perth point gained but the Mariners, really, threw away two points.”
He concluded: “It seemed they were content … didn’t really look for the second goal and we spoke about the danger Perth can pose. They … waited until the very end.”
Mariners boss Nick Montgomery was devastated.
“Just really disappointed with the equaliser we conceded and again, deja vu, two points dropped. The boys are hurting in there, but that’s football,” coach Nick Montgomery said.
“Obviously we’ve got a really young team and also not putting chances away.
“If you put the chances away, you can probably concede that goal in the last minute and you still win the game but for that to be an equaliser that obviously takes away two points is very disappointing.”
Richard Garcia could only hail the resilience of his side.
“A real gutsy performance,” he said.
“The first half, they played very well. Boys really stroked the ball around well and created some chances which we probably should have taken advantage of but you could tell that second half we lost our wind.
“We’ve got six guys who have just come out of quarantine from COVID, so the effort that they put in tonight was a massive one and had Nick Fitzgerald, who hasn’t played in a game in a long, long time.
“So a severely undercooked team from that point of view, but their desire and their effort to stick together as a group and eventually get a result was fantastic to see.
“If we continue to build on the performance side of what we’ve been doing then there’s going to be some good signs ahead. But that is then again, about fitness, about us getting over the COVID period.”