Olomu breaks his duck to help end United’s goal drought

2011-12-19 00:00

YOU could almost hear the combined sighs of relief from the VIP suite and the touchline when Mor Diouf’s first-half header against Jomo Cosmos on Saturday ended a goal drought for Maritzburg United that had lasted longer than 400 minutes.

United would go on to score twice more through Felix Obada and — for the first time this season — Prince Olomu as the Team of Choice secured a 3-1 victory against the PSL’s bottom-placed side in front of a lively Harry Gwala crowd.

Diouf’s 43rd minute header was the result of intense pressure for United that began around 20 minutes into the match and lasted for the rest of the first half.

Earlier the Senegalese centre back had a crunching free kick pushed on to the left post by Cosmos keeper Avril Phali.

He also denied United striker Diyo Sibisi, whose heavy first touch in the 32nd minute meant that the one-on-one situation that midfielder Chillies Madondo had created for him would prove fruitless.

After half-chances for Olomu and Michael Morton, United coach Ian Palmer would have been wondering what more he had to do to get a goal.

Then a perfectly floated cross by Morton in the 41st minute was met by Sibisi, whose headed effort cannoned back off the crossbar.

But Diouf, who has scored two winners for United at Harry Gwala already this season, towered above the Cosmos defence just before half time to nod in a corner and ensure that his side was up at the break.

The start of the second half saw a Morton-inspired United starve Cosmos of the ball. With Madondo playing a holding role, Morton’s high work rate was utilised further up the park, which placed United in more attacking positions when they won the ball back.

Chasing down defender after defender, Morton single-handedly won the ball back from the Cosmos back four in the 63rd minute. Olomu squared the ball to Obada, whose deflected effort left Phali stranded. Morton continued to throw himself around the park, and his commitment began to win over the fans.

With United dominating every aspect of the match, there was a hushed sense of disbelief when Cosmos got themselves back into the match in scrappy style, through an El-Hadj Samb effort that took advantage of some less than impressive defending.

Two minutes later and it was all smiles on United’s bench again as substitute Wayne Matle played in to Olomu, whose neat chip was elevated over a charging Phali to restore the home side’s two-goal lead.

It was Olomu’s first goal for the club since joining from Bloemfontein Celtic at the start of the season, and Palmer will hope that there is more to come from the Nigerian now that he has broken his duck.

Saturday’s victory was the first for United in seven league matches. Last week there had been speculation that defeat on Saturday would have resulted in Palmer, who was the PSL’s coach of the month for September/August, being let go by the club.

United next face Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

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