Determined Derbyshire bags three in Macarthur's second-half demolition of Reds
A Matt Derbyshire hat-trick helped Macarthur FC romp to a 4-0 win over Adelaide United, sealing an inaugural home win for the Bulls at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday night.
The Reds fought valiantly for an hour before Macarthur's late minute demolition job saw the Reds roll over, conceding three goals to Derbyshire and a fourth to Bulls captain Mark Milligan as Ante Milicic's side climbed into second spot on the A-League table, sending a statement to the rest of the league.
A first half utterly dominated by Macarthur somehow ended goalless as the Reds defended manically throughout. Derbyshire wasted two golden opportunities to put the hosts ahead, seeing both of his attempts on goal from close range cleared off the line thanks to desperate defensive work by Jordan Elsey and Noah Smith.
Beñat Etxebarria shaved the crossbar from distance and Loïc Puyo called James Delianov into a diving save with a wicked curling strike as the Bulls piled on the pressure before the half-time whistle blew, with the Reds desperately clinging onto parity in the game.
Macarthur's first-half frustrations continued into the second stanza when the Reds met three quick-fire chances with two Delianov blocks and yet another goal-line clearance from Smith, whose heroics in defence were bordering on herculean throughout the opening hour of play.
But under torrential rain and similarly incessant pressure the Reds finally buckled from a corner routine which found Derbyshire unmarked at the back post to head home an opening goal for Macarthur from close range. A pause for a VAR check for an offside call on Tommy Oar was eventually waved away to the relief of Derbyshire and the hosts, who finally had a 1-0 lead.
After conceding the first goal, a gallant Adelaide defence fell apart as the Bulls put three more goals past the visitors. Derbyshire bagged a hat-trick after converting two inviting crosses whipped in off the left flank by Oar, complimented by a goal to captain Milligan - who moved into midfield in the second half - who roamed forwards to receive a Derbyshire through pass and place the ball around Delianov into the back of the net.
Macarthur's hour of frustration turned to full-time delight as the final whistle blew with a comprehensive 4-0 win wrapped up at Campbelltown Stadium. The club's first-ever home win came in similar fashion to how the Bulls' season has gone to date, showing flashes of brilliance which has slowly, but surely transformed into a body of impressive results.
A first-half onslaught from Macarthur caused problems aplenty for Adelaide but as torrential rain fell at Campbelltown Stadium the goals dried up, with Derbyshire the main culprit in Macarthur's attacking inefficiency.
The danger signs were apparent from the outset when Macarthur's English striker connected with a perfectly-weighted cross from Markel Susaeta to head the ball toward goal in the fifth minute of play.
Derbyshire had the goal at his mercy and his header looked to be well placed, but Elsey threw a desperate leg in the air, catching the ball with his shin pad which diverted Derbyshire's header over the bar.
The Bulls turned their early pressure into an all-out barrage with a series of offensive assaults. Etxebarria's set-piece prowess came to the fore with two corners which found Ivan Franjic and Derbyshire in dangerous situations; Franjic headed his attempt into Delianov's gloves before Derbyshire rose at the front post minutes later to send his own header just wide of the mark.
Yaya Dukuly offered the visitors a rare glimpse on goal with a foray down the left flank, beating Franjic and fizzing a cross across goal, but no Reds attacker was on hand to connect with the dangerous ball.
Puyo and Etxebarria threatened to break the game open with individual moments of class throughout the latter stages of the first half. Etxebarria hit the crossbard after plucking the ball from the heavens, gliding past Halloran and fizzing a shot just high, and Puyo called Delianov into a desperate diving save with a left-foot curler destined to rattle the back of the net.
But in the midst of the attacking action, Macarthur's best moment of the opening stanza came when Derbyshire connected with a Jake Hollman through ball, rounded Delianov and sized up an empty Adelaide net. Derbyshire attempted to pass the ball home but Smith slid in to flick the ball off the line, rattling into the back of the net himself while preventing the ball from doing the same.
The half-time break did little to alter proceedings as Macarthur instantly set about pressuring Adelaide's defensive line, and as the hosts mounted another promising attack ten minutes into the second stanza the Reds produced even more defensive heroics.
Smith continued to act as Adelaide's gatekeeper, standing planted to the goal line to head a deflected ball away from danger after both Susaeta and Etxebarria called Delianov into excellent saves.
Macarthur had knocked politely on Adelaide's door throughout the first hour before barging their way through with a 66th-minute opener to Derbyshire, who cut a relieved figure when his headed goal made its way into the back of the net without a Reds defender intervening, surviving a VAR check on Oar for standing in an offside position as the Bulls went ahead.
Etxebarria sparked the chance with another dangerous delivery from a corner. Denis Genreau's deft flick played Derbyshire in and the Englishman was on hand to divert the ball in for a hard-earned Bulls opener.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours, and that's exactly what happened at Campbelltown Stadium after Derbyshire's first strike of the night.
It was a frustrating start to the contest for Derbyshire until the striker bagged three goals in less than 25 minutes, scoring the second off a perfectly-weighted cross from Oar which skidded across the penalty box for Derbyshire to brush home at the back post.
Before the Bulls striker could wrap up his hat-trick Milligan got in on the act, benefiting from an inventive through ball from Derbyshire which left the Adelaide defence all at sea.
The former Socceroos captain strolled past the Reds defenders to collect the ball, sized up Delianov in Adelaide's goal and brushed the ball into the back of the net with ease; Milligan's passionate celebration sparked chaos in the stands as the home crowd new they were witnessing something special.
A 3-0 scoreline seemed emphatic enough but a late defensive lapse turned Macarthur's dream home win into an all-out demolition job.
It was an unfortunate moment of miscommunication which undid the Reds. Delianov and Elsey - who had fought hard all night to keep a relentless Bulls attack out - both left Oar's dangerous cross into the six-yard box for one another and Derbyshire capitalised, sneaking in between the pair to head home the simplest of goals.
The Reds dropped their heads in frustration as Derbyshire ran away with the match ball. After missing a series of enormous chances throughout the first hour of play, the Englishman could hardly believe his luck after scoring three and providing the fourth of Macarthur's goals in an absolutely dominant second half.
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