Durban – Rheece Evans capitalised on a defensive lapse to score the only goal as Maritzburg United won the KwaZulu-Natal Premiership derby 1-0 against Golden Arrows in Umlazi, outside Durban, on Saturday evening.
The goal came after 21 minutes when a corner from the outstanding Delron Buckley was not dealt with by Justine Zulu, allowing Evans to slam home.
The win was only United’s third against their coastal foes and their first ever on their home ground in 13 attempts, as they ramined in fourth place in the lague table.
The hosts came out stronger at the start and dominated possession for the opening 20 minutes, without being able to test or even trouble Shuaib Walters in the visiting goal.
As soon as Maritzburg had their first real attacking chance, striker Orlando Smeekes watched his rasping free-kick hurriedly pushed over by Pavels Steinbors.
From the resulting Buckley corner, Evans fired his team ahead, but it was only after Zulu failed to make a routine clearance, allowing the defender to lash home from right in front.
Arrows tried to mount an instant reply and Norman Smith should have done better after being put through on the right, only to skew his shot across the face of goal.
The men from Pietermaritzburg continued to look dangerous every time they moved forward, with Buckley’s goal-bound shot deflected wide.
Mario Booysen then headed wide at the near post following another corner by the veteran Bafana Bafana midfielder.
At the other end, the hosts tried hard to level matters, but their only other chance before the interval was when Nkanyiso Mlotshwa’s ambitious effort flew over from 20 metres out.
Arrows threw in striker Thamsanqa Gabuza at the interval and he fittingly had the first opening just after the hour mark when he spun and fired low at goal, albeit drawing only a routine save from Walters.
As Arrows pushed forward, though, they continued to look vulnerable on the counter, with Smeekes first and then his replacement Terrance Mandaza firing half-chances into the crowd.
Another new man on the field, Bongi Ntuli, came close to an equaliser with nine minutes to play, flashing his header across the face of goal after an expert Mzivukile Tom cross from the left.
That proved the final chance as Maritzburg held on for their fifth victory of the league season. – Sapa