"His work rate is unbelievable": Milligan lauds Derbyshire's energy as Bulls striker joins Golden Boot hunt
Macarthur FC captain Mark Milligan says Bulls striker Matt Derbyshire's dominant outing against Adelaide United has been coming for some time, as the Englishman's three goals against the Reds helped him soar into an equal share of the lead in the race for this season's A-League Golden Boot.
Derbyshire looked set for another frustrating night in front of goal when he put a number of first-half chances to waste against Adelaide. But the 34-year-old ran rampant in the second stanza, breaking down a stubborn defence to put Macarthur ahead before netting twice more and laying Milligan in for a goal of his own as the Bulls secured a 4-0 win - the club's first home victory.
Speaking post-match, goalscorer Milligan was quick to divert praise to Derbyshire, who has scored four goals in two games as the Bulls surged into second place on the A-League table.
"[Derbyshire], I think he was fantastic," Milligan said.
"His work rate is unbelievable, and I think tonight has been coming for him."
MATCH REPORT: Macarthur FC 4-0 Adelaide United
"So far we’ve let our home fans down, so it was very important that we turned that form around," Milligan continued.
"We’ve been quite good on the road, but I thought today we were fantastic.
"Our first half… if you don’t take your chances, you’re going to get punished, so we were very, very aware of that.
"We knew that we had to start well - the first half was what it was, but the second half we had to start over again. We had to take our chances."
Derbyshire led the turnaround in Macarthur's fortunes in the second half, thanks to a dominant display of attacking prowess which wiped his side's first-half inaccuracy away as the Bulls piled on four goals in the last 25 minutes.
Derbyshire took seven shots, laid two crosses, provided the assist for Milligan's goal and engaged in seven duels as the Englishman fought through his offensive inefficiency to power his side to what ultimately became a comprehensive result.
"[It took] hard work, from everyone around in this squad," Derbyshire told FOX Sports post match.
"It’s been a long week, three games in six days, and do you know what - to come here and get our first win at home, we are delighted.
"Just being in the box, that’s my thing - trying to get on those crosses, especially the two that Tommy (Oar) put on were fantastic.
"He deserves everything he gets. He’s been out for a while, has Tommy, with an injury.
"He’s come back and got himself straight back into the squad and done fantastically well, so like I said I’m delighted for the boys to get the first three points at home, and onto the next one."
Derbyshire arrived in Australia after a four-year stint in Cyprus, where the Englishman scored 62 goals in 113 games for Cypriot First Division club Omonia Nicosia.
Derbyshire became the Bulls' fifth signing when he joined Macarthur in August, 2020. Venturing into the unknown was an exciting prospect for the English spearhead, who says his desire for a new challenge outweighed the prospect of remaining in his comfort zone.
"I was in Cyprus for four years, and I think I needed something fresh, to test myself again, out of my comfort zone and put myself out there," he said.
"It was a new project. I spoke to Brett Emerton and Vince Grella about this new club, and they sold it to me and certainly [Ante Milicic] to be fair sold it to me fantastically well.
"I jumped at the opportunity to come here, and I’m enjoying myself."
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