NRB tough it out for great win

Eyethu Baywatch - - SPORT • EZEMIDLALO - Dave Sa­vides

SHOW­ING true grit and a re­fusal to be in­tim­i­dated by pow­er­ful op­po­si­tion, Richards Bay FC were well wor­thy of a hard earned 2-1 win over Stel­len­bosch at the uMh­lathuze Sta­dium on Sun­day.

The vis­i­tors from the Cape are al­ways tough com­peti­tors, with plenty of big guns in their ar­moury, but this time they were up against an en­emy that sim­ply re­fused to re­treat and ap­plied plenty of pres­sure of their own.

To be fair, Stel­len­bosch were all over the NRB boys in the first quar­ter of the game and only some su­perb saves from cap­tain Xolani Ng­cobo kept them from scor­ing.

The home side then started grow­ing in con­fi­dence and mounted enough at­tacks of their own to cre­ate nu­mer­ous chances, notably Mu­muni Abubakar’s screamer that just flew over the bar.

Sur­pris­ingly for a team from the no­to­ri­ous land of gales and cold fronts, Stel­len­bosch were bat­tling to get to grips with the howl­ing south­wester that blew into their faces and it was from a poor clear­ance that Michael Gumede pounced to loft the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net (1-0).

Fans feared the worst when the teams changed ends but hav­ing the el­e­ments against them only spurred the Bay boys on to greater in­ten­sity.

They were awe­some in their de­ter­mi­na­tion to fight for every 50-50 ball while Ng­cobo’s abil­ity to belt the ball into the op­po­si­tion half against the gust­ing rain was a huge plus.

NRB should have dou­bled their tally soon af­ter the restart but Mpho Eras­mus failed to tuck

away a good through ball from Tshepo Mashigo. Stel­len­bosch grabbed the equaliser with a tremen­dous over­head kick from Jar­rod Moroole and at 1-1 the game was up for grabs.

Chances were many at both ends but the move of the match mid­way through the h a lf saw Paseka Sekese and Mike Gumede com­bine to put Eras­mus through and he drilled it past a hap­less Lee-Raoul Langeveldt to make it 2-1.

The win was far from cer­tain with 30 min­utes still to go, but the NRB war­riors stood their ground and gave as good as they got with as com­mit­ted a per­for­mance as has ever been seen at this ground.

Head coach Bran­don Truter’s charges are the only ones to have won both their open­ing matches and are now two points clear of the chas­ing pack.

It’s still very early days but an­other win at home this Sun­day against Royal Ea­gles will keep Richards Bay in pole po­si­tion and boost their con­fi­dence ahead of a long sea­son.

Mike Gumede was a hand­ful every time he got the ball

Dave Sa­vides

Mu­muni Abubakar’s fierce first half strike shaved the cross­bar

Khulekane Madondo is first to the ball

Moega­mat Bernard sends in a firm cross from the left wing

Paseka Sekese leads the NRB charge

Mpho Eras­mus (17) heads the ball clear to frus­trate Alan Robert­son

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