Golden Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede shows total commitment as Ajax Cape Town striker Nathan Paulse closes in on the ball. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

DURBAN – Golden Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede had to be on top of his game to ensure Golden Arrows a 1-1 draw with Ajax Cape Town on a windy Saturday afternoon at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.

The Cape outfit had a legitimate goal ruled offside, while Gumede pulled off a succession of fine saves in both halves to make it a frustrating afternoon for the visiting side.

Ajax, fresh from their first win of the year against Highlands Park earlier this week, started the match on the front foot and could have been ahead had Mark Mayambela not missed the target in a one-on-one situation with Arrows keeper Gumede.

Five minutes later, Mayambela was very unlucky to have a goal ruled off-sides – when replays showed it should have stood – before Gumede made a double save to keep out Grant Margeman and Thabo Mosadi as the Cape side continued to attack.

But it was Abafana Bes’thende who were to draw first blood when Nkanyiso Mngwengwe scrambled the ball over the line from close range, after Jody February had failed to hang on to a corner kick on 12 minutes.

Ajax were close to equalising when Rivaldo Coetzee flashed a header wide in the 19th minute, but it took a goal-line clearance soon after from defender Roscoe Pietersen to keep out Mngwengwe’s header.

Goal-mouth action continued and Gumede made another excellent reflex save to block Mayambela’s stinging drive just before the half-hour mark, before again doing well to move off his line quickly to deny Mosadi a chance to shoot.

Fortune again eluded the Urban Warriors after the restart as Pietersen’s snap shot was inches away from finding the net.

The Cape team continued to probe for openings, but found Gumede in inspired form as he twice denied Mayambela, while Mosadi was close to sending an angled drive in at the far post.

Ajax finally had their reward 13 minutes from time when an unmarked Prince Nxumalo was able to power in a back-post header.

Kudawashe Mahachi came close to winning it for Arrows when he flashed a 20-yard shot wide.

It was Ajax, though, who had several good openings in the final 10 minutes of the game, but they just weren’t able to find the net and had to settle for a point after a 90 minutes from which coach Stanley Menzo would have expected his team to have claimed all three.

African News Agency (ANA)