Melbourne City FC gained another point on the road, drawing 1-1 with Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night.
After a tight opening half, City opened scoring with a beautiful team goal finished by Connor Metcalfe in the 59th minute, before the home side were able to equalise with little over ten minutes to play.
Fresh off the back of a monstrous derby win, Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo was forced into two changes after centre back Nuno Reis and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths pulled up sore.
Aidan O’Neill was a ready-made replacement for Griffiths in the ‘6’ role, whilst youngster Kerrin Stokes was handed just his 2nd A-League start to partner Curtis Good in the heart of defence.
The Bulls presented a different approach to the game in the early stages as they pressed at high tempo and attempted to leave a physical impression on their Victorian opponents. The tactics worked with reasonable success as City were unable to get into their free-flowing groove for much of the first half, however a professional Melbourne were able to remain composed on the ball and attack the goals in a different way to usual.
Jamie Maclaren had the best chance of the half as Adrian Luna got on the end of a high ball and nodded down into the path of the City striker, only for the ball to end up slicing wide to the right of goals.
The second half opened up a bit more as the Macarthur press began to look unsustainable and just five minutes into the half, City had the ball in the back of the net via a Mark Milligan own goal, however the flag was up for what was a tight offside call.
It didn’t take much longer for the ball to again find its way past Adam Federici once again, as Scott Jamieson released Maclaren down the left-hand side with a delightful pass, a wily Maclaren backheeling into the path of the on-rushing Craig Noone. Noone’s surgical precision by foot was on full display as he cut through the Bulls defence and found the outstretched foot of Metcalfe who turned in for the opener.
Metcalfe’s goal was his fourth of the season and with another man of the match performance, he continues to press his claim for not just the Olyroos, but the Socceroos.
City applied the screws over the following 15 minutes and were desperately close to putting the game to bed on numerous occasions, but ultimately City were made to pay when an error at the back saw Michael Ruhs get in on goal and slide the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Tom Glover for the equaliser.
With a quickfire change of momentum, Macarthur looked to double their returns and went reasonably close through a Lachlan Rose effort, before City closed out the game the stronger. Connor Metcalfe was almost the hero as his dug-out shot ricocheted off the cross bar, but neither side were able to find the all important second goal as the game came to a close.
City maintains it hold on top spot for now, with Adelaide travelling to Wollongong play Phoenix on Sunday.
Your City boys are back at home on Thursday night to take on Newcastle at 7.05pm. Click here to get your tickets!