Arrows earn an easy win

2010-09-18 00:00

AN evening where it just about all went wrong for Maritzburg United, particularly in a disjointed first half, put paid to the home team’s hopes of a first victory of the season as they ran out 3-0 losers to Lamontville Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium last night.

Coming into the Premier Soccer League game off a promising second-half performance in their 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs last week, Maritzburg would have hoped for a sounder performance.

But the Team of Choice were all over the place in the first half, gifting Arrows’ dangerous attack a 2-0 lead at the break.

While United tightened up their play markedly in the second half they found their Durban neighbours too organised an outfit to break down.

Both teams ended the match with 10 men, with Arrows central midfielder Siyabonga Nkosi and United counterpart Chilis Madondo sent off after a foul by the latter and retaliation by the former in the 87th minute.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the home team. The performance of left midfielder Sheldon Lawrence as a substitute, troubling Arrows with his pace and close control, holds promise for the 19-year-old for the remainder of the season.

However, apart from a second half where United found some sort of passing rhythm, there was not too much else to write home about for the PMB team.

It’s very early days still, but coach Ernst Middendorp has some work to do oiling the engine ahead of a difficult trip to Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday.

Maritzburg’s competitive display against Chiefs promised much. Last night, though, it all went a little haywire.

United looked snappy enough with the ball on the ground going forward, but their defence was alarmingly out of shape.

The movement of Arrows’ four fleet-footed attackers — Philani Shange, Njabulo Manqana, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Nkanyiso Mlotshwa — looked something akin to Germany at the World Cup, and pulled the United marking into disarray.

Maritzburg did themselves no favours, too, by struggling to clear their lines.

All this resulted in the visitors having a soft 2-0 lead by the 18th minute.

A failure to clear in the seventh minute resulted in left-back Mzivukile Tom squaring to an unmarked Mlotshwa, who continued his dream start in the PSL with a third goal to add to his brace on debut in Arrows’ 2-0 victory against Vasco Da Gama last week.

Eleven minutes later John Arwuah slipped on a clearance allowing Tom to bury an equally soft finish past Shu-aib Walters.

United’s fright night continued until half time, where they were lucky to be just the two goals down.

After the break United’s shape improved, as the gap between midfield and defence was closed.

Arrows, though, worked hard to preserve their two-goal cushion.

United’s best chance fell to Lawrence, whose performance was the highlight of the evening for the home team.

Beating Joseph Musonda with a mean turn of pace, Lawrence’s looping shot from the left of the area was kept out by a fine one-handed save at full stretch by Arrows goalkeeper Helton Da Rocha.

Walters completed a poor evening for Maritzburg when he opted to punch out an 84th-minute Nkosi free-kick but miscued, gifting defender Musa Bilankulu a third easy finish for Arrows.

Madondo and Nkosi’s sending-off ended the match on a sour note.

Last night: Maritzburg United 0 Lamontville Golden Arrows 3, Ajax Cape Town 2 Platinum Stars 0

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