Perth's Finals Series hopes take a hit after 1-1 draw with Macarthur
Perth Glory's four-game winning run came to an end on Sunday night, when Macarthur FC travelled to HBF Park to take a point from an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Perth took the lead early through a Diego Castro penalty earned by Andy Keogh after a challenge in the penalty area from Mark Milligan. On what could prove his last night playing in front of a home crowd at HBF Park, Castro showed the composure to send Adam Federici the wrong way from the spot and put his side one goal ahead.
That lead would not last to the half-time break, thanks to Matt Derbyshire's 14th goal of the season finished from close range. The equalising goal would be the last of the night as Perth failed to convert a series of chances in the second 45.
Chris Ikonomidis hit the side-netting from a tight angle on the hour mark and Castro failed to flick a volleyed attempt past Federici late in the game, before substitute Carlo Armiento rattled the crossbar with a strong left-footed shot from outside the box as the game ticked into added time.
The Bulls had a late penalty shout waved away after a potential handball from Glory defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis, but the final whistle blew with both sides locked on one goal apiece.
A solitary point was enough to lift Perth into seventh spot, but a win would have taken Richard Garcia's side level with Brisbane Roar in sixth.
The Glory now hit the road for their last three games of the A-League campaign, beginning with an away trip to face Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park.
The home side found a way through Bulls 'keeper Federici's guard with just two minutes on the clock when Keogh broke into space behind the Macarthur defence to finish off a through ball from Castro.
The offside flag went up immediately as Keogh's strike hit the back of the net, and VAR backed up the decision from the referee on the ground as Perth's early strike was ruled out at HBF Park.
Ten minutes later Keogh was in the thick of the action once again, winning a penalty for his side after Bulls captain Milligan came in to challenge the Glory forward from behind as he received a pass into the box from Ikonomidis.
Questions arose as to whether the decision would be reversed by a VAR check but the on-field call stood as Castro ventured to the penalty spot to send Federici the wrong way and hand the hosts a one-goal lead.
Macarthur dominated possession early but failed to generate many chances to pressure Liam Reddy until Loïc Puyo called the Perth 'keeper into a save to tip the Frenchman's free kick over the bar.
The visitors had a penalty shout of their own waved away when Charles M'Mombwa went down in the box under a challenge from Perth defender Jason Geria. A spot kick was not awarded, much to the bewilderment of the Macarthur players. M'Mombwa went off through injury just minutes after the committed Geria tackle.
But in between the Geria challenge and M'Mombwa substitution came an equalising goal netted by Derbyshire in the 30th minute. The Bulls played through the Perth defence with ease thanks to a clean passing passage between Denis Genreau, Moudi Najjar, James Meredith and Derbyshire.
Genreau fed Najjar the ball down the left wing toward the byline, who played the ball in between Geria's legs to find Meredith bombing into the box. The former Perth full-back took one touch before crossing to find Derbyshire's feet for a simple finish from close range.
Bruno Fornaroli hit the woodwork from a free kick in the 39th minute as the home side pushed to try and reclaim the lead.
The Uruguayan put the right amount of power and pace on the shot but couldn't find the angle to beat Federici as the strike hit the outside of the right-hand goalpost.
A strike from range by Puyo got the second-half action underway at HBF Park, calling Reddy into a diving save to his right to tip the left-footed strike away from goal.
Ikonomidis went through the first half without troubling Federici but got a dangerous shot off in the 61st minute after dribbling through a sea of bodies to fire an attempt on goal from a tight angle.
Both Keogh and Fornaroli cut frustrated figures in the aftermath of the strike, after arriving inside the box only to see Ikonomidis elect to shoot instead of playing the ball across goal.
A pair of late chances presented to Perth with securing all three points of the upmost importance to the home side's Finals Series charge.
Castro failed to find the back of the net for the second time on the night after Nicholas D'Agostino won a strong header in the box. The Spaniard took a leap at the ball and attempted to flick the ball past Federici only to fluff his lines at the key moment as the ball dribbled into Federici's grasp.
Armiento emerged from the bench to take one last crack at breaking the deadlock with a lethal strike from distance which beat Federici but hammered the crossbar. It was the last opportunity Perth could muster as the home side failed to extend its winning run to five games.
Macarthur FC v Central Coast Mariners
Thursday, May 27 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
Sunday, May 30 2021
Kick-off: 1.35pm AEST
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