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  • The Western Sydney Wanderers began their 2020/21 A-League campaign hosting new side Macarthur FC, resulting in a lucky 1-0 win for the visitors after a Mark Milligan deflection from a free kick gave the Bulls all three points in their debut.

    Macarthur FC Bulls out of Campbelltown drove down the Hume Highway to take part in their first ever A-League match. The Wanderers new manager Carl Robinson picked a lineup including all of the major new signings for the champions of Asia, with James Troisi, Graham Dorrans, Bernie Ibini, Daniel Margush and Ziggy Gordon joining returning players Tass Mourdoukoutas, Daniel Georgievski, Tate Russell, Keanu Baccus, Simon Cox and newly appointed club Captain Dylan McGowan.

    The opening stages were a flurry of activity with little end result, until the officials and the VAR made their introduction with the awarding of a clear handball against Jovanovic after the defender reacted poorly to a long shot from Dorrans, and moved his arms from his side into the path of the ball. The referee after spending 5 minutes reviewing slow motion replays elected to overturn his correct decision and cancel the penalty.

    Simon Cox was later booked after tripping over his feet in the Macarthur penalty area, as it to emphasis yet again that the referees will be looking for any excuse to punish the Wanderers. New season, same old referees in the A-League. Macarthur dominated most of the half, with multiple chances falling to Wanderers youth product Moudi Najjar.

    Tate Russell had one of the better chances after cutting inside onto his left before firing into the hands of Adam Federici at the near post of the Macarthur goal. Russell sprug into life again with a burst down the sideline, his cutback found Cox and the marquee striker hammered it high but straight and Federici tipped it over. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Ibini, he was on the back foot and his strike lacked direction.

    The two sides traded shots on target in the first minutes of the second half, Troisi brought out the best from Federici in order to stop his sliding shot.

    Macarthur thought they had their first A-League goal, James Meredith sliced through the Wanderers defence before sliding the ball across the 6 yard box for an unmarked Rose to tap in from a few yards out, only to be denied by a very tight, but accurate, offside flag. Federici was called into action again in the 55th minute, after Macarthur blocked a Dorrans shot that fell to Baccus the young midfielder fired towards the top corner and the Bulls custodian leapt into the air to keep it out. It was followed up by a mammoth goal-line scramble with Troisi, Mourdoukoutas, Ibini all getting touches but Gordon couldn't find an angle to shoot. Daniel Margush saved a mirror effort of Cox's shot from the first half, this time coming from Bulls substitute Benat.

    Keanu Baccus gave away what became a fatal free kick in the 71st minute. His slight clip of Hollman invited the ref to hand Macarthur a free kick slightly off-centre and 24 yards out from goal. He fired towards the far post before a massive deflection diverted the ball past a Margush desperate lunge to give the visitor's their first goal in a competitive fixture.

    As the game entered stoppage time Mark Milligan tried to chip Margush from beyond halfway but lacked the power to fly over the head of the keeper. Kwame Yeboah got lucky as a Macarthur tackle knocked the ball into his path, with a couple of strides into the area he shot toward the near post but Federici's outstretched hand blocked it well.

    Ultimately the Wanderers did the same thing they've done for years now, fail to gel with their passing combinations, lacked quality in the final third and ran around like headless chickens for no reward. It's not the start Carl Robinson would have asked for, and keeps the Wanderers in last place with fellow first round losers Brisbane Roar.

    The Wanderers next match is scheduled for Friday the 8th of January 2021 against Newcastle Jets in Newcastle.

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    • Share your train stories…. I have a few, like the guy we knew at Yenora who kept snakes and one day brought this massive snake to prove he had won… it cleared the front part of our Red Rattle and we got seats that day another the guy that swapped trains, the young girls on the wrong train a card game that led to a fight, the guy wanting the loo and went between two carriages in a red rattler as we crossed the Ashfield line switches and in polite terms he lost control of were his willy was pointing and he peed all over himself so so so many more. But let me share with you the story of Roughie …. I never knew his name but my in my head name for this guy was Roughie…. Why you ask TWAS 81 and long hair on boys while not uncommon was far less so, and Roughie had very thick, very long greasy hair never combed…. He was a big man very big and quite thick set like he had a physical job. He wore green work pants and a green work shirt which always looked crushed and often had work stains. His shirt was rolled back to half way between his elbow and shoulder. He always never shaved, and because of his greasy hair he always looked dirty. What else was off putting about him was he was the first guy I ever saw with a pin through his nose and he had large ear studs in both ears. He also carried and old battered rail workers bag with him they were huge..  I worked on the corner of Market & Kent street in Sydney and started work 8:15 in fact we all did TWAS a weird starting time. I lived at Marayong, and to get to Town Hall, get off the train and move with the mod to the exists and then on to Market & Kent street I needed to catch the 7:15 at Marayong it was a very quick express in fact it beat the 6:45 into Central. Every day I caught this train for about four years. You get into habits and I used to stand on a crack in the platform where I knew the doors would open and go upstairs every day and sit behind Roughie. The train was near empty at best 10% full and on the odd day someone further up the line sat in your seat you kinda felt that’s my seat. The next stop was Blacktown and the train went from maybe 10% full to being so crowded people were standing in the ales. Everyday Roughie got out at Blacktown. This particular it was kinda misty, like a fog, and as we pulled into Blacktown Roughie seemed to be asleep. Normally I would have tapped him on the shoulder and said is this your stop. But Roughie had such a presence of menace I did not. The Blacktown mob poured in and raced each other for a seat to the city. The mad rush for the seats woke Roughie up. Suddenly jumped to his feet with his huge old battered bag and was making a valent attempt to get to the door I was looking out the window but did not see him emerge. For the next bid you need to understand the Sydney trains lines are not standard. Most lines have trains leaving in alternative directions from the same platform. Whereas on the western & northern lines trains leave in the same direction from a platform. Every day, we speed to Seven-Hills  were we met an even faster express to the city. My train stopped at Parramatta, Strathfield, Redfern, Central, the ultra-express from Penrith stopped at Redfern then Central. Every day at Seven Hills many people changed trains, those off the ultra-express to get out at Parramatta or Strathfield, and those standing on my train would swap to stand on the ultra-express as it got em to the city quicker. This day we pulled into Seven-Hills just after the ultra-express and the good folk off that train had the lead march on our mob. The doors opened and out sprang Roughie big old bad carried on his chest and I swear to  god if an Olympic talent scout had been their Roughie would have made the “hop, skip and jump team” he jumped the little green hedge, skipped over a station seat and made a huge leap at an open door. As he landed in the carriage he sorta sent people everywhere and he grabbed the metal poll and sung around with the huge grin of triumph. The grin that said I won’t be late for work I am going straight back to Blacktown. The two trains paced each other until Parramatta when we stopped the ultra-express sailed thu. The look on Roughie’s face went the train headed towards Sydney and not Blacktown was priceless, as we sailed thu stop after stop and he began to realise his mistake his face grew longer. When the ultra-express speed thu Parramatta and he realised the depth of his mistake he looked like a broken man. Remember back then stations had no phones so he had no way of contacting his work. Next day I stood by the crack in the platform, when upstairs and sat behind Roughie, never said a word.
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