Wits share the spoils with Highlands Park at home
JOHANNESBURG - Bidvest Wits’ bogey run at Bidvest Stadium continued as they disappointedly shared the spoils 2-2 with Highlands Park in a Premiership tussle on Wednesday night.
Wits’ disappointing result here, ensured that they remained fifth on the log standings on 34 points, 11 behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs’ who’ve played two games more.
The league race may be far from being over, but it appears it will be here - just like it’s been last season - where the Clever Boys will lose their spot in the as they can’t find their mojo at home.
In a stadium that’s supposed to be their fortress, it’s been relatively disappointed with how the Clever Boys have failed to use their home advantage – outplayed by the opposition in the first half and forced to catch-up the game.
Such that you’d swear that Highlands were the home side here in the opening stages, comfortable on the ball going forward – despite the slippery surface – as Wits’ had their backs against the wall with every counter-attack.
It took as quick as the fourth minutes for the Lions of the North to test the waters, Luckyboy Mokoena unleashing a close-range grasscutter on the face of goal after being teed up by Mthobi Mvala with a swift diagonal ball down the left flank.
As the heaven dearly opened up, enforcing sticky football from either side, the Clever Boys won a set-piece inside the visitors’ area but Deon Hotto long-range curling effort was fisted away from danger by a high-diving Marlon Heugh.
The sky cleared, Highlands continuing with their offensive approach, sucking the Wits’ defence with interplay that eventually ended with Mokoena who was the link in attack down the right-flank going.
And it was in the 26th minute that Mokoena’s contribution yielded results, sending a telling delivery that floated above the Wits’ defence before connecting with an onrushing Mvala whose header came off the ground before rattling the roof of the net.
But while the visitors looked home and dry, to take a precious lead into the interval, but Haashim Domingo pounced when it mattered the most, connecting with a loose ball on the edge of the box before unleashing a thunderbolt that beat Heugh on his near post.
That Domingo shot proved to be the winger’s last contribution of the game, limping off the field during half-time after injuring his foot as Mxolisi Macuphu, who’s a natural No 9, replaced him during the start of the last stanza.
And with five minutes into the half, Macuphu’s presence had been felt by Lions of the North defence, who lost shape, allowing space for Wits’ wingbacks to penetrate.
As a result, Thulani Hlatshwayo found himself in an unfamiliar place at the right time, benefitting from a diagonal lose ball inside Highlands half before slotted between the legs of Heugh.
But with five minutes before regulation, the Bafana Bafana captain turned from hero to zero after fouling Peter Shalulile inside the box.
The Malawian striker dusted himself off and slotted past Brandon Petersen, giving the Lions of the North a huge morale boost heading to their Nedbank Cup last 16 clash against Chiefs on Saturday.
Bidvest Wits (1) (2)
Domingo 45+1, Hlatshwayo 50’
Highlands Park (1) (2)
Mvala 26’ and Shalulile (P) 85’@Mihlalibaleka