CAPE TOWN – Beaten but not defeated.
Promoted Stellenbosch FC will see it that way after going down 1-0 to Cape Town City in a first Cape derby Premier League meeting at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday night.
City had frontline player Chris David to thank for their win and first victory of the new season.
The ex-Fulham player, who joined the club in February, rounded off a move featuring four players with a well-placed, well-struck shot from his favoured left boot from inside the box that ended up in the bottom left-hand corner of goalkeeper Boy de Jong’s net.
Stellies weren’t much of a threat during the first half but it was a different story in the second period as they found their mojo and began to threaten City’s defence.
A number of chances to draw level weren’t put away and that will be a worry for coach Steve Barker as his boys have now gone four league games without a goal stretching back to last season’s final two in the National First Division that they ended up winning to gain promotion.
Iqraam Rayners, who scored 19 goals last season, looked menacing at times with his pace which caused problems for the City backs.
But the striker wasn’t able to open his account although he did come close with a free-kick that sailed just over the crossbar.
Waseem Isaacs was introduced as a second-half substitute and came agonisingly close to scoring twice.
A swift counter-attack set up the marksman for a shot that hit the left-hand upright and then in injury-time he had only goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh to beat but volleyed straight into his gloves from point-blank range.
Maybe less pace on the ball over placement would have been the wiser option.
Then there was the free-kick taken by left-back Marc van Heerden that Barker felt had breached Leeuwenburgh’s net.
“It looked like the ball had gone over the goal line from my vantage point,” he said. “But the way we played in the second stanza shows we are going to be a tough team to beat.
“I felt we did enough to earn a share of the spoils in a game of two different halves.
“They were on top in the first, us in the second, especially in the final half hour. We started to find our rhythm and created a number of goal-scoring chances.
“That said, we need to improve elements of our game and will use the two-week break before we return to Athlone to entertain Maritzburg United to iron out those deficiencies but I’m proud of my boys for putting up a fight against a rival viewed as a potential league contender.”
Mike de Bruyn