Stellenbosch and Swallows share the points in campaign opener
CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch marked their first home ground appearance with a one-all draw against Swallows FC in the DStv Premiership clash at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, on Sunday afternoon.
Last season, Stellenbosch played their home matches at various venues in the Mother City while the Danie Craven Stadium, set in most majestic surroundings, was renovated to meet PSL standards.
The match also marked the return of newly promoted Swallows FC to top-flight soccer.
Many players were making their debut in the premiership and there was a nervousness which showed as numerous passes went astray in the opening minutes.
From around the seventh minute Stellenbosch grabbed the initiative with slick passing football which set them up for scoring chances but their efforts in the striking zone were wayward.
In the 15th minute, Swallows were awarded a penalty and Ruzaigh Gamildien made no mistake from the 'spot' (1-0).
Stellenbosch went off in search of the equaliser and produced some enterprising touches but failed the penetrate the opposition's rearguard.
Referee Olani Kwinda penalised Swallows in the 25th minute and defender Robyn Johannes scored the penalty to restore the stalemate (1-1).
Stellenbosch finished the half strongly, but their goal-shy marksmen always opted to make an extra pass when a direct approach was needed.
After halftime, there was a raft of personnel changes and the fresh legs helped to make the game more lively. For a while, play swung like a pendulum from one end of the field to the other, without defences coming under threat.
Just past the hour mark, Stellenbosch created a pressure spell which they failed to exploit. Substitute Nathan Sinkala hashed a golden scoring chance when his header from a corner was wide of the mark after Swallows left him unmarked in front of posts.
Towards the end of the match, the standard of play dropped below par as both teams were bereft of confidence, pace and ideas.
Swallows were awarded a corner and a close-in free-kick four minutes before the end. However, they were unable to use the set-pieces to their advantage.
Stellenbosch substitute Ryan Moon missed a sitter a minute from the end.