Western United was unlucky not to take all three points against Macarthur FC on Saturday evening, ultimately settling for one after a 2-2 draw.
Lachie Wales gave United the lead on the hour mark after Macarthur had been reduced to 10 men but flipped the scoreline to take the lead inside the last 10 minutes.
Substitute Nicolas Milanovic found the net right before second half stoppage time but United couldn’t find a heroic late winner, having to make to with a point.
John Aloisi brought James Troisi back into the line-up for his first start since Boxing Day, the only change to the starting XI.
After making his first professional start last week, Noah Botic was given the nod again as Aleksandar Prijovic missed out, while Adisu Bayew was promoted onto the bench.
Despite hot and humid conditions at Campbelltown Stadium, both teams started the match at a high tempo looking to gain the early ascendancy.
The end-to-end opening brought about high turnover rates in midfield and plenty of balls in behind as the play opened up.
Macarthur had perhaps the better of the early territory but one both sides settled into the contest, United began to get on top.
John Aloisi’s men had a lot of joy in wide areas with Lachie Wales receiving plenty of the ball on the right-wing and looking to get at Ivan Vujica.
On the other side, Connor Pain and Josh Risdon linked up superbly and James Troisi was busy in a free-roaming role across the midfield and front thirds.
Troisi and Wales combined for some lovely interplay at the top of the box and the former threaded a delightful ball through to Botic around the 40th minute.
The United youngster did brilliantly to control and turn in the box but shot was well saved by Filip Kurto as the former United man spread himself in the Macarthur goal to deny Botic a first senior goal.
Risdon went on a marauding run through the centre of the pitch minutes later and after playing a neat one-two with Pain in the box, United’s captain might have wondered how he didn’t open the scoring as his shot fizzed just wide of the right-hand post.
Western United was given a boost early in the second half when Macarthur were reduced to 10 men after Kearyn Baccus was shown a second yellow card.
Macarthur had a brief spell of confidence immediately after the dismissal but United quickly put the foot down and took the lead on the hour mark.
It came from a prolonged period of possession as United shifted Macarthur’s defence before picking the perfect time to pounce as Wales turned on the edge of the area and sent a delicate strike in off the inside of the right-hand post.
The visitors then went in search of a second immediately after and very nearly found it after some more swift combination play down the left-hand side, but Kurto was able to fall on top of Pain’s cut-back with Botic lurking just behind him.
Macarthur went up the other end and found an equaliser somewhat out of nothing as Nikolai Topor-Stanley could only divert Ulises Davila’s low cross into the path of Matt Millar who reacted quickly to fire home with his left foot.
That equaliser seemed to take some of the wind out of United’s sails but there was a big chance for the visitors after a swift counter attack, but Alessandro Diamanti couldn’t keep his shot under the crossbar as he leaned off balance to reach the ball in the box.
In much the same way as Macarthur equalised after United had had a big chance at the other end, the hosts took advantage of that miss and found another smash and grab strike to take the lead as Jed Drew snuck a low shot underneath Jamie Young and over the goal line.
That left United with around 10 minutes to regain at least a point and Aloisi threw on Adisu Bayew for his first appearance of the season.
The youngster opened the game up from the left-hand side and created the spark that United needed, with his driving run and cut back in the box picking out fellow substitute Nicolas Milanovic to fire home for his fourth goal of the season and an 89th minute equaliser.
Bayew nearly recreated that outcome with an even more dazzling run moments later, but this time his cross was cleared and Macarthur were able to see the game out and limit United to just a point.