Stars pick up vital points
Luis Ranteria (Gallo Images)
Potchefstroom - Platinum Stars picked up a vital three points in a tightly contested Absa Premiership match against Moroka Swallows at Olen Park on Sunday afternoon.
Bradley Grobler scored the game’s winning goal in his side’s 2-1 win.
The game was a tightly contested affair and with both teams desperate for the three points no one really wanted to make a mistake, and that is certainly how the first 45 minutes played out.
The game was well contested in the midfield and the defences were stubborn, refusing to be broken down in the first half. Consequently there were very few chances for either side.
The Birds were very defensive minded as they did not really venture forward and instead opted for long balls from the back, often giving possession away. But despite the Tycoons having most of the ball possession, they failed to make anything happen in front of goal. In fact there were no real clear cut chances in front of goal in the entire first half.
The only sign of concern for the Swallows defence was their goalkeeper, Tyron Damons, who often looked shaky when crosses came into his box; nervous and unable to deal with the aerial threat presented by Stars.
Miguel Gamondi show his astuteness as a coach, noticing the weakness of Damons, and it was clear that from the outset of the second half the Tycoons were going to attack down the flanks and get crosses into the box whenever they could.
Accordingly that is how the first goal came about in the 47th minute after a cross from the right came in. An aerial battle ensued in the box and Luis Renteria had the last say as he pounced on the loose ball with his head, sticking it into the back of the net from only four yards out, 1-0.
The goal seemed to awaken the Birds from their slumber as they came back fighting, applying a period of sustained pressure on the Stars goal. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 59th minute when Shaun Haschick drew the two sides level with an expert finish 12 yards out from goal after a nice passing movement, 1-1.
Mark Haskins nearly put his side in the lead five minutes later after a piece of individual brilliance; the Swallows player dribbled himself into the 18 yard box after skinning four Stars defenders before unleashing a wickedly bending shot that struck the woodwork, much to his disappointment.
The Birds dominance was short lived as Bradley Grobler put the Tycoons back into the lead in the 73rd minute. Once again Damons was at fault as he failed to deal with a low cross that resulted in Grobler side-footing the ball into an empty net, 2-1.
Stars were determined to defend their lead and they sat back in defence trying to soak up the pressure. Swallows could not penetrate their backline in the final 15 minutes and consequently lost a vital three points. The Tycoons, on the other hand, were ecstatic with the win.