Magic get revenge vs Stars
The Magic entertained Morning Stars in a home league match on Saturday 16th March at the Old Mutual Sports Grounds. Morning Stars had been the first team to beat us this season ending our perfect 10 match winning streak, when they won 2-1 in Gansbaai, a match that saw us have a goal disallowed among a few other controversial decisions.
We had dropped 2 points in the previous weeks 0-0 draw away to D&G Orient, so we needed to bounce back and stay within touching distance of league leaders Steenberg who won 3-0 on Friday night. We didn’t start very well and basic mistakes in the early stages seemed to be contagious as player after player kept giving the ball away. We settled down after about 15 minutes and started to find our passing game. This created attacking opportunities and from one of these later in the game we were awarded a corner. Wade Crowie put in a great ball and Ghaalib Avontuur got his head to it and scored his first goal of the season; 1-0 to The Magic after 30 minutes.
But 5 minutes later we were down to 10 men. Thurlow Wood seemed to obstruct the opposition player off the ball, and after a consultation between referee and linesman with the away supporters very vocal in both officials ears, the referee gave ‘Woody’ a straight red. Our video evidence suggests it was a really tough decision for a basic obstruction but we quickly had to adjust to being a man less on the field.
Stars tried to find a quick equalizer but our defence that has not conceded a goal in the last 7 league matches held firm until half-time. Our team talk revolved around each player having to work harder to make up for the red card and each player having the committment to do extra to help the team.
We had a great start to the 2nd half, scoring from another corner – this time Captain Tshepiso Thlapi getting his head on another Crowie corner 8 minutes into the half. Two minutes later it was 3-0, this time Jerry Mxabo slotting past the keeper after Nazier Jacobs had blocked their defenders clearance and the ball had fallen into the path of the striker. Stars were stunned and the 10-man Magic looked like they had an extra player on the field. We still managed to dominate possession and although Stars sent more players forward in search of something, it was The Magic who scored the 4th goal of the game. Combination passing between Thando Mngomeni, Jacobs and Crowie in midfield released Mxabo who drew the last defender and then played a through ball for birthday boy Lihle Maqoqa who slotted past the onrushing keeper for his 1st goal of the season. There were still 23 minutes left to play but the 4th goal looked to have knocked all the energy out of Stars.
Both Crowie and Jacobs had put in a huge shift in midfield to cover for the red card, and Cohan Williams and Thembile Mapukata were giving license to come on as substitutes for the 2 midfielders and keep our clean sheet intact which they did, with Williams almost scoring our 5th with a spectacular bicycle kick from 40 metres that had the Stars keeper diving through the air like Superman.
A great result, and an even better performance considering we played almost an hour with 10 men. The only negatives being a very tough red card and a couple of injuries from some wild tackles that were not punished. We have 2 players out on long-term injuries after being kicked by opponents, and although the 1 tackle was punished with a red card, that player gets to play after 2 games out while our player will not play for 3-4 months.