Notwane moved one place up the Premier League log as they strolled to an easy 5 ÔÇô 2 victory over fellow league strugglers BR Highlanders this past Thursday.
The win, which was attained in a drama filled game, eased the pressure off Notwane while compounding BR Highlanders woes at the wrong end of the table.
While the game was off to a slow and scrappy start, with both showing no creativity in the midfield and cancelling each other out, it was Notwane who created the most chances, which they failed to convert. The first chance of the match fell to Notwane in the 7th minute when a cross from the right found its way towards Machiya, only for the striker to put the free header wide off the target.
Eight minutes later, it was BR Highlanders who threatened at the other end as Lucky Vundla outpaced Notwane left back Kereng Mpetang and whipped in a low ball across the Notwane goal mouth but there was no Highlanders player to tap it home.
Highlanders’ should have taken the lead on the 21st minute when their usually reliable midfielder, Otlarongwa Nthomolang found himself one on one with Itumeleng Selapa in between the Notwane sticks, only for him to shoot wide.
From then on, it was Notwane who cranked up the pressure as they went in search of an elusive goal. Their chance came in the 32nd minute when a cross found its way to Machinya, only for his header to be cleared off the line for a corner.
Two minutes thereafter, Notwane were at it again as Lemogang Maswena’s header was parried off for a corner by Highlanders keeper Kabo Ntswaneng.
From the resultant corner, the referee pointed to the spot after adjudging that the Highlanders defense had handled the ball, giving Kgaodi a chance to send Ntswaneng the wrong way and net an opener for Notwane.
Things got worse for Highlanders with just a minute of first half regular time to go when they conceded another penalty, this time through a foul on Mpetang. Kgaodi stepped up again to send Ntswaneng the wrong way and earn his brace.
The midfielder would then go on to net his penalty hat trick and send Notwane three goals up when another foul was committed on Mpetang in referees’ added time.
From recess, Highlanders coach, Paul Moyo wasted no time, ringing in changes and bringing in Baitshenyetsi Gabohole and Shimanyana Kebaikanye for Nthomolang and Salas Kemiso. It was however Notwane who showed early intent and were nearly rewarded on the 9th minute of the second half when Kgaodi’s speculative long range shot was tipped over the bar by Ntswaneng.
Five minutes later, the goal duly arrived for Notwane as Emmanuel Masisi headed one into an empty net after Ntswaneng had misjudged Machiya’s cross.
Any chance of a comeback for Highlanders was doused a minute later when Saukani Zulu scrambled in a goal to take Notwane five goals clear off Highlanders. The goal however came at a cost as the striker injured himself and had to give way.
However, with the game almost settled, Notwane coach could afford to give his reserve goalkeeper, Karabo Gaolebale a run and he did so in the 29th minute. The youngster’s first contribution to the game was to give away a penalty which was duly scored.
The goal psyched Highlanders who went on the hunt for more goals but their wastefulness in front of goal let them down. They did however cut the deficit in referee’s optional time as Vundla skipped past the Notwane defense to slot past the Notwane substitute keeper.
It was however too little too late as Notwane registered their second win of the season while Highlanders succumbed to their fourth consecutive loss and their sixth loss in the season.