ALM Match Report: Western United 1-1 Macarthur FC

Lachie Wales Western United

Western United earned its first point of the 2022/23 Isuzu UTE A-League Men, picking up a 1-1 draw against Macarthur FC on Friday night.

Despite a dominant first-half, United went into the break behind after Matthew Millar’s opener for the visitors.

The Green and Black continued to control proceedings after half-time and finally found the equaliser, with Lachie Wales converting from close range in the 69th minute.

United continued to push for a winner but one wasn’t forthcoming, with the side having to make do with a point.

Team News

John Aloisi named an unchanged starting XI from last week’s defeat to Sydney FC, with Josh Risdon leading the team up in his 50th A-League Men match for the Club.

The headline team news came on the substitute’s bench as Alessandro Diamanti made his return to the matchday squad for the first time since February 20.

First Half

Western United got off to a fast start with Dylan Wenzel-Halls getting himself involved in the early action, firing one shot into the side netting and another straight at Filip Kurto, one of five former United players in Macarthur’s starting line-up.

Risdon saw plenty of the ball down the right-hand side as United looked to get behind Macarthur’s defence down the flanks in the early goings.

The hosts continued to dominate the first quarter of the match with Connor Pain drawing another save from Kurto as the Green and Black remained on the front foot.

Despite that pressure, Macarthur took the lead with one of their first ventures into United’s box as Craig Noone swung the ball into the box after a short corner, inviting Millar to nod it past Jamie Young.

Aloisi’s men remained the most threatening side after going behind but couldn’t find an equaliser before the break, looking towards the second-half to erase the deficit.

Second Half

United continued to play on the front foot after the restart and Ben Garuccio came as close as anyone to restoring parity early on as he stretched to reach a shot from close range, but the effort was smuggled behind for a corner.

The Green and Black was assured in possession and repeatedly played out of the back with success, getting the ball into the final third and stretching Macarthur’s defence.

Most of United’s joy came on either touchline with the wingers and full-backs linking well to fire balls across the six-yard box, with only the final touch in front of goal lacking.

Risdon found Wenzel-Halls past the hour mark with an excellent delivery and United’s No.9 thought he found the goal but for an outstanding save from Kurto, flinging himself to his left to push the ball away.

But the equaliser wasn’t too much longer in coming and it was again created through Risdon. United’s No.19 put the ball on a plate for Wales to slide home in the six-yard box, with the goal eventually being awarded after a VAR review overturned an initial offside call.

The goal invited Macarthur back into the game as the visitors had their most consistent spell of forward territory, but United defended any advances with relative ease.

United continued to press for a winner right up until the final whistle as Diamanti and Noah Botic were lively off the bench, but the two sides couldn’t be separated in the end.