United’s 5 on the trot

2013-12-17 00:00

MARITZBURG United lost a fifth straight match yesterday when they went down 3-1 to Bidvest Wits at their one-time fortress of Harry Gwala Stadium.

Their next assignment is at Loftus Versfeld against title chasers Mamelodi Sundowns, and should they play like they did yesterday, they will be beaten again.

As expected, the Clever Boys sat back for most of the game and let the Team of Choice play the football, and they forced them to make costly mistakes.

For all three of Wits’ goals, United’s defence was non-existent and diabolical. Three times Wits had players unmarked in the box, and three times they found the back of the net.

United had the more positive start of the two teams as they took the game to the opposition, and David Booysen, playing in his first game of the season in the place of his brother Mario, had the first chance in the fifth minute. Finding himself with a lot of space, he pulled his shot wide as United went in search of the early goal.

But, it was Wits who found the back of the net first. Zimbabwean Onismor Bhasera, playing against his former club, found himself with a lot of space down the left and sent a dangerous cross into the box that was headed away by United’s Mohammed Awal.

The big Ghanaian’s clearance landed at the feet of former toon Matty Pattison, who was unmarked at the edge of the box, and he smashed it into Shu-Aib Walter’s goal to give Wits a 1-0 lead against the run of play.

After the goal, Clinton Larsen’s team seemed to go into a bubble as they attempted to get back into the match, but their wayward passing was not helping as they lost the ball at crucial areas. Ryan Chapman should have made it 2-0 in the 16th minute after he was played through by Papy Faty, but he saw his shot blocked by Awal.

Again, in the 32nd minute, Chapman received the ball from Pattison after a wayward Michael Morton pass, but this time his shot was parried away by keeper Walters.

The best chance for the home side came on the stroke of half time when midfielder Ryan de Jongh sent in a cross from the left side of the field. The movement of the ball confused United striker Mohammed Yakubu and Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs who both let the ball bounce before the keeper known as Slimkat pushed it over the bar for a corner.

Wits went into the break leading by 1-0, but in reality, it was United who played most of the football with the visitors just sitting back and forcing Larsen’s boys into making mistakes.

Larsen pulled the diminutive Yakubu off immediately after the break as he was being muscled off the ball by the gigantic Matthew Booth, and looked to inject some pace by introducing Orlando Smeekes.

The speedy Dutchman seemed to have an immediate impact as within two minutes after the restart he had a shot at goal, but he missed.

The game was over as a contest in the 62nd minute when Wits scored another, this time through the boot of Ethiopian Getaneh Kebede, who received a pass from an unmarked Chapman.

United’s Thokozani Sekotlong pulled one back for the home side as Josephs punched away a Dillon Sheppard corner into his path.

The former University of Pretoria man calmly lobbed the former Bafana Bafana stopper to make it 2-1.

But, with time running out, and United chasing an equaliser as they seemed to wake up late on, Calvin Kadi grabbed a third as he inflicted a second 3-1 defeat in as many games for Larsen’s side.

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