Lerato Lamola of Lamontville Golden Arrows steals the ball from Mpho Matsi of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 game between Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, KwaZulu-Natal on 6 January 2019 © Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Saturday Feb 02, 2019. 19:41
Highlands Park succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Golden Arrows in an Absa Premiership match played at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Saturday.
The result sees Abafana Bes’thende (whose goals were scored by Danny Venter and Lerato Lamola) and the Lions of the North swap positions on the log: the former are up to ninth on 24 points, while the latter drop to 10th on 22 points.
Both teams took their time settling into the game, with the opening quarter hour seeing very few entries into the penalty area. Arrows were perhaps the more aggressive team, but they struggled to ‘click’ early on.
However, in the 24th minute, the hosts received a slice of luck when Danny Venter’s well-struck long-range effort took a wicked deflection off defender Ryan Rae and had the beating of goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini, putting Arrows 1-0 up.
The goal sparked a new confidence in the Durban side, who went on to dominated the remainder of the first half, but they lacked the cutting edge in the final third to open up Highlands and add to their lead, leaving the game poised at 1-0 at half time.
Highlands made a double change at the start of the second half, withdrawing Moketsi Sekola and Siphesihle Zwane to bring on Peter Shalulile and Mokete Mogaila. The visitors were more lively in the minutes after the restart, but unable to really stretch Arrows’ defence.
Abafana Bes’thende doubled their advantage in the 71st minute: an interception in midfield allowed Knox Mutizwa to sprint free down the right, he in turn crossed for Lerato Lamola and the substitute scored with his first touch, despite Kapini nearly managing to pull off a point-blank save.
The Lions of the North appeared to be dead and buried, but they gave themselves a sniff when Rae arrived unmarked in the penalty area to meet a right-wing free kick delivery and score with a superbly-placed header on 76 minutes.
Highlands created only one real opportunity to find an equaliser, with a ball falling kindly for Shalulile in the penalty area early in injury time but he was closed down by the defence, while Venter should have scored a couple of minutes later at the other end but put the ball over from close range.
Golden Arrows (1) 2 (Venter 24’, Lamola 71’)
Highlands Park (0) 1 (Rae 76’)
Arrows: Gumede, Sibisi, Mathiane, Lunga, Dube, Bilankulu, Venter, Sabelo (Lamola 70’), Parusnath (Molefe 64’), Jooste, Mutizwa (Moreira 77’)
Highlands: Kapini, Mkhabela (Ndoro 75’), Ramoraka, L. Mokoena, Msimango, Rae, Mbatha, Mahlangu, Zwane (Mogaila 46’), Sekola (Shalulile 46’), Mvala