Pressure mounts on Middendorp

The Cape side were always in command as far as the score-line went, taking a two-goal lead into half-time, and replying quickly after Arrows pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go.

Ernst Middendorp’s outfit could have eased nerves with an early goal, but Musa Bilankulu sent an early header over the bar from Katlego Mashego’s second-minute corner.

And it was the Peoples’ Team who were to score the first goal of the game via a rare strike from left-back Ricardo Skippers, who headed home Jonathan Armogam’s 11th minute cross.

It was a rare foray forward for the visitors, and they netted again with one of their next attacks on the half-hour mark when Tawonga Chimodzi played in Vuyisile Wana, who slotted home from close range.

Wana tried his luck again five minutes later but had his shot blocked by a defender, while at the other end Njabulo Manqana forced Tshepo Motsoeneng into a diving save with a 20-yard effort.

Arrows came out firing after the restart as they looked to play themselves back into the game.

Crosses and shots rained in on the Santos defence, but the Cape side held firm, with some brave defending and a couple of good saves from Motsoeneng – one of which saw him doing well to keep out a long-range rocket from Philani Shange after 52 minutes.

The pressure finally paid off for the hosts as they earned a 71st-minute penalty after Wayne Arendse fouled Collins Mbesuma.

Mbesuma’s spot-kick was saved by Motsoeneng, but from the resultant corner from Manqana, Tamsanqa Gabuza hammered the ball into the net from 25 yards out.

But hopes of a comeback were quashed 10 minutes later when Wana picked out substitute Salmaan King, who picked his spot from the edge of the box to make it 3-1.

The KZN side had several opportunities to pull another goal back in the dying minutes, including an effort from six yards out from Mbesuma, but the score-line remained unchanged as Middendorp will now endure a few sleepless nights.