Macarthur FC's finals hopes have been dealt a blow with the Central Coast Mariners continuing their winning edge over the Bulls recording a 2-1 victory at Campbelltown Stadium on Thursday night.
Fans from both teams were treated to an early finals feel, with plenty of action at either end throughout the match.
The Bulls took the lead early through a lovely chip over the Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti by Markel Susaeta in the 17th minute.
The home crowd roared to life as it looked like the Bulls would press to double their advantage. The Mariners, as they’ve shown all season, didn’t let the vocal Campbelltown crowd dampen their spirits, hitting back 15 minutes later through a Jack Clisby rocket.
Following the halftime break the Mariners jumped out of the blocks the better.
Central Coast striker Danny De Silva gave the visitors the lead in the 54th minute with a quality finish from the edge of the box.
With the Bulls pushing for the equaliser deep into stoppage time, an unlikely hero almost emerged for the Bulls. Keeper Adam Federici was unlucky not to slot a bicycle kick goal in the final play of the match off a Denis Genreau corner, that was sure to bring the house down. Eventually the ball was cleared away and fulltime was called.
The Mariners holding on for a thrilling victory 2-1.
Moments that matter.
9th min: Stensness chance for Mariners – After a tidy build up down the left edge by Matt Simon for the Mariners, Stensness blazes his shot over the bar.
12th minute: NAJJAR CHANCE! – Matt Derbyshire provides a lovely through ball for Moudi Najjar to be deflected away.
17th minute: GOAL SUSAETA! – Bulls break free of the Mariners backline and Markel Susaeta nets the opener, chipping Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Macarthur 1 – Mariners 0
25th minute: GENREAU CHANCE! Markel Susaeta flirts with the by-line, feeding a good ball to Moudi Najjar who is blocked by Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti. Birighitti can only knock the ball as far as the edge of the 18-yard box for Denis Genreau to have a shot, forcing Birighitti into a diving save to his left at full stretch.
30th minute: Mariners equalise – Jack Clisby fires a bullet into Federici’s bottom left corner.
All square 1-1.
41th minute – Mariners goal OVERTURNED by VAR - Jack Clisby’s 2nd goal of the night was overturned by VAR for offside.
45+1 FEDERICI SAVE! – Bulls keeper Adam Federici makes a lunging save off denying Matt Simon by getting the studs on his boots to flick the ball away.
HALF TIME 1-1
54th minute: Mariners Goal - Mariners Danny De Silva puts the visitors ahead after Marco Urena gets in behind the last line.
56th minute: Federici with a flying superman save to his right, keeping the Bulls in the match off a Danny De Silva long range shot.
66th minute: McGing CHANCE! – Denis Genreau tees up a super ball for Jake McGing but his header flashes over the crossbar.
83th minute: CHANCE SUSAETA – Lachlan Rose whips a lovely ball into the box for Markel Susaeta, however couldn’t get any power behind the header.
90+5 FEDERICI CHANCE! - Denis Genreau provides another super delivery from a corner, as the Bulls throw every player forward. Bulls keeper Adam Federici almost equalises with a bicycle kick in the final play of the match.