Goals from Robert Younis in the 77? minute and Jamie McMaster in the 89? minute gave the Tigers three-points to keep their hopes alive.
Both sides attempted to hold possession in what looked like a rumpled pitch at Lambert Park. Despite the difficult conditions, it was the in-form A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt forward Robert Younis that was looking dangerous early on for the home side.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt worked the ball well down the flanks with right midfielder Stephen Kayes showing some blistering speed down his flank. It created the first chance of the match in the 7? minute as Kayes struck a shot from 30-metres out, forcing Macarthur goalkeeper Brody Crane to save at full stretch to see the over the crossbar.
However, despite the good start from the home side, Macarthur were finding their stride through some good one-touch passing by Matt Toogood and Glen Trifiro down the left side, as the two tried desperately to link-up with Macarthur forward Shannon Hankin.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt?s David D? Apuzzo and Paul Kohler played their part in creating some space for D?Apuzzo. His effort from 25-metres out scraped the crossbar an finished over.
Macarthur?s Craig Cooley was pivotal down the right-flank linking up well with Hankins up-front, and it nearly created the first goal of the match in the 44? minute. The striker?s effort though finished just wide to the right of the goal.
The second-half began similar to the first as Robert Younis continued to pressure the Rams? defence. Younis was the provider after the re-start, providing Stephen Kayes with a perfect cross inside the penalty-area. Kayes? header had Brody Crane beaten, though the ball ricocheted back off the post before being cleared away from danger.
Jamie McMaster was also in the thick of the action linking up well with Kayes and Younis, this time a 66? minute chance ended with McMaster?s shot being saved by Rams? goalkeeper Brody Crane.
In the 77? minute all A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers? hard work paid off following the referee?s decision to award the home side a penalty. The Rams? Adam Wither was called for a hand-ball inside the penalty area and Robert Younis stepped up and nicely placed the ball passed Brody Crane to give his side a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers were moving the ball a lot better than Macarthur in the after hitting the lead, however Craig Cooley and Shannon Hankin were still threatening on the counter-attack.
Paul Crisp was also showing some blistering speed through his usual defensive position, trying to bring his side back level, and he very nearly drew his side level in the 84? minute.
Crisp?s volley from 30-metres was struck with much venom, however it went straight into the arms of Tigers? shot-stopper Matthew Nash.
Macarthur was really trying to salvage a point in the latter stages, however the result was consolidated by the Tigers in the 89? minute. A sensational goal arrived courtesy of a great low-cross from Paul Kohler. Kohler picked out Jamie McMaster who hit his first-time volley passed the despairing Brody Crane to strengthen A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers? push for a finals place.
Following the match, Macarthur Coach Paul Carter was disappointed at the result but delighted with the effort:
?The boys showed a lot of effort however it was disappointing not to collect the three-points.
?I think the team has shown a lot of courage, we have lost a lot of players in our squad this year but despite that we have still managed to play with a great spirit and intensity to show the good effort week-in week-out.?
A.P.I.A Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Robert Younis 77? (pen), Jamie McMaster 89?)
Macarthur Rams 0
Venue: Lambert Park
Referee: Khodi Yogti
Crowd: 200 approx
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers: 1. Matthew Nash; 3. John Kelso, 4. Daniel Clifford, 5. Michael Galluzzo, 6. Paul Kohler, 7. Stephen Kayes, 8. Iain King, 9. Robert Younis (14. Joseph Bruni 89?), 11. Jamie McMaster, 13. David D? Apuzzo, 23. Christian Care (16. Simon Ryan 45?)
Substitutions Not Used: 20. Matthew Kasbarian, 26. William Thorn, 30. Wandi Jajaw
Yellow Cards: Jamie McMaster 23?, Robert Younis 46?
Red Cards: Nil
Macarthur Rams: 1. Brody Crane; 2. Craig Cooley, 6. David Gardiner, 7. Matt Toogood, 8. David Lagudi (21. Renato Jelen 79?), 12. Shannon Hankin (27. James Young 82?), 14. Daniel McCann, 17. Adam Wither, 19. Paul Crisp, 22. Glen Trifiro, 23. Josh Ford
Substitutes Not Used: 4. Jason Lewis, 24. Scott Goodwin, 40. Jessie Bunt
Yellow Cards: Matt Toogood 52?, Renato Jelen 80?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Robert Younis (ALT)
2 ? David D?Apuzzo (ALT)
1 ? Glen Trifiro (MR)
-By Johnny Casni