All about winning at home for Stellies
The Western Cape side has been hovering around the danger zone all season long and are left with 14 games to cement their top-tier status.
A glance at the standings ahead of today’s home clash with Bloemfontein Celtic at the Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm kick-off) sees Stellies second from bottom on 15 points, one better off than basement dwellers Baroka FC, who they beat 1-0 in their final outing of 2019.
They would have hoped to start the second round of matches off on a positive note hosting Wits at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, but it wasn’t to be, they lost 2-0 and on the day never made a fist of it although coach Steve Barker felt his charges had, until the first goal conceded, given as good as they got.
The bottom line is the result, and he knows all too well how important it is make home advantage count.
“We play three of our next five games this month on our turf and must harvest as many points as possible to ease our plight,” said Barker.
“The quick turnaround time between games won’t be a factor, after losing you want to get back on the pitch. The quicker you get back up and play, stand up and get three points then you sort of are back where you want to be.”
For Stellies to come out on top will require a more forceful approach from the front six who haven’t been able to gel as a unit often enough.
The side has been relying heavily on stocky marksman Waseem Isaacs, who has half of their 12 goals netted.
New signing Granwald Scott is set to play a big role going forward. He made his debut against his former club Wits and showed enough to suggest better things to come from the midfielder.
The previous encounter between the two teams in September saw Celtic come from a goal down to secure a 2-1 home victory. The men from the Free State have won four of their 16 outings to sit in ninth place.
They entertained and held Orlando Pirates to a 1-1 draw on Saturday for their sixth stalemate, ending a two-game losing streak.
Mike de Bruyn