Westville Boys’ High School hosted DHS in a mid-week fixture. The 1st Team was keen to get their domestic season underway, especially after rain had interrupted the opening weeks of the Football season. A fairly closely contested away draw against Kloof the previous week, also added fuel to Westville’s charges as they sought a convincing outing against their local rivals.
Westville started confidently with their formidable centre-back combination of Nicholas Booysen and Captain Matthew Davies controlling the tempo of first half possession. DHS attempted to press, but the quick ball movement and distribution by Westville’s midfielders Lethu Thomo, Hlanga Vena and Sphe Mbonambi led to both wingers Siphelele Buthelezi and David Bartholomew receiving the ball behind the DHS defense and launching wave after wave of attacks. The hosts opening opportunity came from Jordan Schwartz who beat a defender and took a spectacular shot from outside the 18 yard box. He forced the DHS keeper to scramble and make an even more spectacular save in the bottom right corner. Westville had a few set pieces from corners and free-throws but failed to initially capitalize and the first half remained goalless.
A tough but motivational half-time team talk by the Westville coach gave his players clearer focus on what needed to be done in the second half. DHS enjoyed more possession of the ball in the opening few minutes of the second half, but they failed to capitalize as Westville’s defensive shape was too solid. The hosts stood their ground, winning the 50/50 challenges and a tougher and more driven Westville side emerged.
A tactical change brought on Reece Nyland for Hlanga Vena, allowing Mbuso Mgobozi to advance higher up the pitch into a more attacking position, so that he could use his considerable flare to unsettle the DHS defense. This tactic paid off shortly afterwards when Mgobozi received a clean pass from midfield, dribbled past two defenders in the box and slotted a fantastic goal with his left foot. The midfield combination of Mbonambi and Thomo penetrated the DHS midfield time and again and allowed the home team to play with confidence. Nyland and Bartholomew linked up nicely on the left hand side of the park.
Ethan Knott and Chad Carney were brought on for Schwartz and Thomo. This tactical change gave Knott an almost immediate opportunity to score. Unfortunately his shot was cleared of the line by a DHS defender. DHS then counter attacked and managed to work their way right up to the host’s goal mouth with the DHS striker only having to beat Westville’s goalie Joshua Parker to score a certain goal. Parker made a fantastic save to secure the victory for the home team at Fortress Westville.