NRB tough it out for great win
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
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