Bulls beat Western United to surge into fourth

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Macarthur FC have taken a big step towards locking in an inaugural A-League finals berth with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Western United.

In a rare defensive midfield appearance, Mark Milligan had a hand in both goals.

Milligan helped tee up the opener before lashing home a brilliant strike to lift the Bulls to fourth on the table.

It was a must-win clash for Macarthur because a loss or draw would have left them among a cluster of teams battling for top-six spots.

United were reeling from a 6-1 loss to Melbourne Victory and had Monday night's game moved from AAMI Park to Leichhardt Oval amid Melbourne's coronavirus outbreak.

But Mark Rudan's side almost opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Alessandro Diamanti's sizzling long-range effort forced an excellent save from Adam Federici.

In the 25th minute, Diamanti spotted Federici off his line and tried his luck from just past half way but the ball swerved just wide.

Just two minutes later, the Bulls struck.

Milligan looped a long ball to Matt Derbyshire, who nodded the ball down to Markel Susaeta.

The winger flicked the ball up with his right foot then nudged it down before smacking home the strike with his left foot.

In the 31st minute, Milligan blasted a right-footed missile of a strike home before running to celebrate with his family who were in the front row of the crowd.

Six minutes later, United almost pulled a goal back through Dylan Pierias, who forced a superb fingertip save from Federici.

To Pierias' dismay, it was ruled a goal kick.

In the 61st minute, United's Ryan Scott did brilliantly to tap Derbyshire's goal-bound strike onto the post and two minutes later his side hit back.

An unmarked Iker Guarrotxena leapt over a pack of players to head home Diamanti's outswinging corner and United were the better side from there.

In the 80th minute, Jake McGing almost put the ball into his own net, but Rudan's side couldn't find an equaliser.

Source AAP