Macarthur FC have claimed local bragging rights with a 3-1 A-League Men derby win over Western Sydney.
Craig Noone’s early strike and captain Ulises Davila’s second-half double allowed the Bulls to soak up a mountain of Wanderers’ pressure at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night and move up to third on the ladder.
Substitute Terry Antonis scored an 80th-minute lifeline for the 10th-placed Wanderers but Mark Rudan’s team were unable to force an equaliser before Davila’s injury-time penalty added gloss to the scoreline.
The result means the Wanderers remain six points outside the finals positions after 15 matches.
Winless in their past three matches, the Bulls hit the front in the eighth minute through Noone’s third goal of the season.
Al Hassan Toure swept in a cross from the left wing, despite losing a boot in the build-up, and the English winger slammed the ball into the top corner of the net.
From that point on Macarthur looked to play on the counter as the Wanderers dominated possession but struggled to break down the home team’s resolute defence.
The Bulls nearly doubled their advantage in the 51st minute when Davila played in Toure but the forward dragged his effort wide of the far post.
The Mexican did get a second for the hosts in the 72nd minute, pouncing on a loose ball inside the penalty area and firing home after Phillip Cancar had failed to clear a Moudi Najjar cross.
That prompted Rudan to throw caution to the wind and turn to his bench, with ex-Socceroo Antonis making an immediate impact.
A Dimitri Petratos free-kick was played back across the six-yard box by Tomislav Mrcela and Antonis was lurking to nod the ball through Filip Kurto’s legs.
A quick VAR check determined Antonis was onside and the goal stood, prompting a furious finish.
Macarthur sealed the win when Daniel Margush clipped Michael Ruhs after the Bulls’ substitute had knocked the ball past the Wanderers’ goalkeeper.
A VAR review overturned an offside call against Ruhs in the build-up and Davila smashed home the penalty in the 98th minute to complete the victory.
“The most pleasing aspect is winning the game of football after the week that we’ve had,” Bulls coach Ante Milicic said.
“Playing one of the best teams in the competition on Wednesday, travelling Thursday, not being able to train on Friday and put on a performace like that.
“That’s not the first time they’ve shown that kind of mentality.”
Rudan felt his team had been second-best in the first half and given themselves too big a task when they did start pushing the hosts.
“We didn’t do what we did in the training paddock,” he said.
“Very undisciplined performance in the first half – they went back to their old ways, old habits. Simple as that.”