Tony Mahlangu came on for the 1st WBHS team on Saturday against  Michaelhouse as striker

Tony Mahlangu came on for the 1st WBHS team on Saturday against Michaelhouse as striker

Westville started off well, playing at a high tempo and moving the ball swiftly. Westville were rewarded in the fourth minute when they took the lead through a well taken set piece. Bradley Smith chipped the ball into the box and Lindo Buthelezi , through a glancing header , put the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. After this initial five minutes, Westville lacked composure and struggled to convert their chances. At times Westville kept the ball well and moved it amongst their defenders and midfielders but did not penetrate Michaelhouse’s defence. Their defence looked particularly shaky when defending long balls and Michaelhouse managed to find spaces between Westville’s midfield and defence. Westville’s defence did not push out quickly enough after clearing and did not open up on attack. At times the home team’s left and right backs took the wrong options.
The highways team did however switch the ball well on occasions and looked dangerous on attack when doing so. Westville also looked dangerous off set pieces in the first half and created chances, especially off long throws and corners and came close to scoring on several occasions.

In the second half, hosts lacked urgency and finesse. They tried to play short, “tiki taka” football which was ineffective because Michaelhouse closed them down on defence very effectively. They were more effective when playing longer balls through the left and right central channels directly to the strikers-moving the ball up the pitch at a faster rate and getting behind the Michaelhouse midfield.

Michaelhouse scored their goal in the 51st minute of the game when they caught their hosts on the break. After Westville had taken a taken a throw in deep in Michaelhouse territory, Siphelele Ndimande was caught in possession on the edge of the Michaelhouse box – the ball was then played up to the Michalehouse striker and after a comedy of errors from the Westville defence, the striker volleyed home for an equalizer. This seemed to wake up the Westville team as they took the lead again, almost immediately in the 53rd minute. The ball was played from the left side of the pitch by Ebraheem Vahed to Brad Hunter who then played it wide right to Robin Peterson who put in an early cross and the ball was hammered into the bottom right corner by Lindo Buthelezi for his second goal.

Michaelhouse had one more golden chance to equalize in the 55th minute when a long ball was played behind the Westville defence, and after a one on one with the keeper, the Michaelhouse striker put the ball wide. Westville then closed the game out for a 2-1 win.

It was a decent performance from Westville, but it lacked urgency and purpose at times. Westville played well in patches but lost concentration at crucial times. There were far from their best but still managed to win the game which is the biggest positive they can take out of the game. All in all, it was a good start to the season for the home side.