Stars, Arrows in stalemate
Posted: 13 September 2008 Time: 17:37
Owen Da Gama slowly turned red in anger on the sidelines as his Free State Stars side picked up a solitary point in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Golden Arrows on Saturday afternoon at the North West Stadium in Welkom.
Free State started brightly and had a flurry of chances in the first ten minutes, especially with Paulos Masehe causing problems for the Abafana Bes'thende defence.
In the fifth minute the first chance of the game fell to Masehe as a cross came in from the left wing and he rose above the defence only to head the ball wide. Then a minute later Masehe hit a stinging shot from 30 yards out that had the keeper beat, but it just skimmed past the wrong side of the upright.
In the eighth minute again Masehe proved to be a thorn in the side of the Arrows coach as he played a superb one-two with Jimmy Kauleza that put him through on goal and one-on-one with Brendan Wardle. He tried to lob the keeper but he misjudged the chip and the ball flew over the crossbar.
Da Gama's men looked the better side; they were quicker to the ball and their passing was more fluid. They persisted with attacks down both flanks through Kauleza on the right and Matoma Madimabe on the left.
In the 16th minute Arrows had their only chance of the half after some good work down the left wing by Richard Henyekane who put in a good cross to find Abia Nale. Nale snuck in front of the defenders to get to the ball but he squirted his shot over the bar.
Then in the 34th minute Henyekane made himself a candidate for the most embarrassing moment of the season as he found himself through on goal, with only the keeper to beat, as he swung his foot to strike the ball he hit nothing but air, and as the ball rolled out of play he lay on his backside in mortification.
The Ea Lla Koto finished the half strongly and looked the most likely to score. The half only ended 0-0 thanks to a brilliant save from Wardle in the 42nd minute after a long-range shot from Madimabe had him diving low to his right to palm the shot around the post for a corner.
The second half started the same as the first ended with Free State on top and controlling possession, but they could not find any way through the Arrows' defence and were forced to shoot from long range. Jonathan Mensah came close to breaking the deadlock in the 56th minute when he struck an ambitious shot from 40 yards out that just flew over the bar and would certainly have been the goal of the season.
After that the game came to a halt and got a little boring. The teams appeared to have met a stalemate with the both sides battling for possession in the middle of the park with no real chances falling for either side. Nale, however, could have wrapped matters up in the 68th minute when he shot from six yards out after a goal mouth scrap, but Mweene pulled off a great point blank save.
The game slowly petered out and ended in a goalless draw.