Two goals from Paul Harries and one goal each for Robbie Mileski and James Monie gave Peter Tsekenis? men an impressive victory, as the Rams were punished empathically for missing a number of goal-scoring opportunities inside the opening half-an-hour.
Paul Carter?s Rams now languish in second-last place on the TeleChoice Premier League ladder, following their 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Wollongong FC last weekend.
But it could all have been so different for Macarthur, as they came within centimetres of scoring inside the opening 30?? seconds of the match.
A weak back pass to Bankstown City goalkeeper Zlatko Joseski virtually straight from the kick-off, was chased by an enthusiastic Shannon Hankin – and the Macarthur striker was almost rewarded for his determination, as he managed to block the Joseski?s clearance, only to see the ball agonisingly come back off the frame of the goal.
The Rams dominated the early stages of the match and James Young almost converted their hard-work into a goal, as he broke away from the Bansktown defence with a penetrating run from midfield. Finding himself one-on-one with Joseski, the Macarthur striker fired his shot straight into the goalkeeper?s arms.
Moments later, Hankin again found himself agonisingly close to opening the scoring as he broke away from midfield but only managing to let off a weak shot which did not trouble the Bankstown custodian.
One of the most defining characteristics of football is the near-certainty that a side will be cruelly punished for their wastefulness in-front of goal and Paul Carter?s Rams would be no exception to the rule.
In the 34? minute a sedate cross into the Macarthur penalty-area seemed ?easy pickings? for goalkeeper Roy Bell, however Bankstown striker Paul Harries challenged for the ball and managed to unsettle the shot-stopper, enough so to force a mistake as Bell dropped the ball to allow Harries to turn in into the net for the simplest of finishes and cruelest of 1-0 leads for the Lions.
Conceding a goal against the run of play, and in such unceremonious fashion, seemed to have a major impact on the psychology of the Macarthur players.
The confidence of Paul Carter?s men would have already been fragile following last-week?s spectacular collapse and the Bankstown goal seemed to compound the frustration and disillusionment of the side.
The Lions began to control the tempo of the game and doubled their lead only two minutes before half-time.
A moment of hesitation amongst the Macarthur defenders allowed a Peter Tsekenis through ball to find its way to Robert Mileski, who entered the penalty box before hitting the byeline and crossing for Monie to head past the helpless Bell for a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead.
Half-time saw an enforced change on Paul Carter?s side, as Roy Bell ? who appeared to have been struggling with a slight thigh strain from the 25? minute ? was replaced by reserve goalkeeper Brody Crane.
But the confident Bankstown approach was retained even in the second period, as they scored their third goal of the afternoon on 56? minutes, courtesy of some excellent work out wide by Mileski.
Approaching the penalty box at an angle, Milevski managed to beat two Macarthur defenders before facing Rams ?keeper Crane. He coolly slotted the ball past the substitute and it rolled into the net despite the best efforts of a desperate Macarthur defender on the goal-line.
The Lions sealed the victory just over ten minutes later, as a simple but devastatingly effective Bankstown City passing move allowed Harries to claim his second goal of the afternoon. A ball from midfielder Shane Webb found Milevski in a wide area and his accurate cross into the box was volleyed into the back of the net by a confident Harries, sealing a ruthless ? but not entirely flawless -Bankstown City performance.
Bankstown manager Peter Tsekenis sees an uphill struggle to achieve a Top-Five finish but says his side have themselves to blame for their current predicament:
?Obviously tonight from what I heard, results didn?t go our way. I told the boys about the results which are a bit disappointing and it is not an ideal place for us to be in at this stage.
?But we need to take it game by game, don?t focus too far ahead. When we get a bit closer, we?ll have a look, see what our chances are (of making the top 5).
?They [Macarthur] were a bit unlucky in the first-half and they put in a really good effort. They conceded and fell apart but that?s what happens when you?re not having good season. Credit to them for having a go though.?
Paul Carter lamented more missed opportunities for the Rams and the lack of confidence in-front of goal which has plagued their season thus far:
?Our first missed opportunity, missing everyone, bouncing off the post and coming back out, pretty much sums up our season I think.
?But I can?t sit here and say Bankstown didn?t deserve to win, they did.
?It?s a little bit sad. Take away the last two weeks and I think we had the fifth best defensive record in the competition. We?ve gone from being so strong in defence to having killed it for ourselves. But this will test what sort of a sportsman or character you are. You can?t cry over it, you?ve got to dust yourself off and pick it up,? concluded Carter.
Macarthur Rams 0
Bankstown City 4 (Paul Harries 34?, 68?, James Monie 43?, Robbie Mileski 56?)
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Macarthur Rams: Roy BELL (Brody CRANE 45?); David GARDINER, Steven OLD, Adam WITHER, Craig COOLEY, Steven BAVEAS (Jason LEWIS 75?), Daniel MCCANN, Glen TRIFIRO, Matt TOOGOOD, James YOUNG (Kostas BARBAROUSES 55?), Shannon HANKIN
Substitutes Not Used: Josh FORD, Scott GOODWIN
Yellow Cards: Hankin 53?
Red Cards: Nil
Bankstown City: Zlatko JOSESKI; Brett STUDMAN, Peter TSEKENIS (Daniel SLAVESKI 80?), Richard LUKSIC, Steve LIAVAS, Andre GUMPRECHT (Ibrahim HAYDAR 68?), Tayfun DEVRIMOL, Shane WEBB, James MONIE (Christopher GODDY BASCURT 70?), Robert MILESKI, Paul HARRIES
Substitutes Not Used: Danny GROZDANOVSKI, Andrew BAZI
Yellow Cards: Paul HARRIES 20?, Peter TSEKENIS 80?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Paul HARRIES (BCL)
2 ? Robert MILESKI (BCL)
1 ? Peter TSEKENIS (BCL)
-By Chris Paraskevas