19 March 2017

Botswana: Rollers, Gunners Share Spoils

Gaborone — A stoppage time Simisani Mathumo strike earned Township Rollers a 1-1 draw with Extension Gunners in an exciting BTC Premiership match played at the National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result seemed harsh on a Gunners side that had taken a deserved lead through Ofentse Mmipi on the hour mark, and defended with their lives as Rollers piled late pressure.

Also, Rollers' goal seemed questionable as referee Lekgotla Johannes decided that the ball had crossed the line, though it seemed to have been cleared off the line by the Gunners rear guard. Three minutes before full time, Rollers themselves appeared to have a legitimate Terrance Mandaza goal ruled out for offside.

Controversies aside, it was good game to watch, although the first half, played in sunny conditions, was played at a low tempo, Rollers having most of the ball, but not being effective going forward.

Gunners were more positive when they had the ball, Letlhogonolo Mosala the first to get Rollers goal minder Kabelo Dambe involved with a long-range effort from outside the box.

In the 35th minute, a similar incident occurred on the other end; Moatlhodi Ralesotla failing to control the ball with his head after a pinpoint cross from an overlapping Andrew Makopo on the left wing.

Ofentse 'Schalkwyk' Mmipi looked impressive for Gunners, initiating most of their first half attacks.

In the 45th minute Edwin Moalosi hit the crossbar with a blistering shot from the edge of the Gunners 18 yard box. The two sides went into half time goalless.

The weather conditions changed drastically as the second half commenced.

A strong wind accompanied the rain that poured, with the stadium authorities forced to switch on the floodlights as a dark cloud hovered around the National Stadium.

The pace of the match also picked up, the two sides going at each other, and Gunners would be the ones to break the deadlock. Mmipi went on a good run on the right wing before unleashing a scorcher going into the Rollers net after a slight deflection off Mosha Gaolaolwe.

The Gunners support base at the eastern Panda stand increased the volume of the songs they had been chanting since the game commenced.

But the goal only got Rollers to spring to action. Gofaone Tiro and Mandaza were brought on Ntesang Simayana and Terrance Mandaza, and Tiro started making menacing runs on the right flank.

But Mbise on the Gunners goal, seemed to have answers for everything Rollers threw at him, and the Gunners defence, marshalled by skipper Desire Bafana also threw bodies on the line for the Mapantsula cause.

As Rollers pushed forward, Tiro hit the cross bar with an 87th minute attempt and was denied by Mbise from close range in stoppage time.

Mathumo then struck in injury time to earn Rollers a point on a day Gunners seemed headed for a morale restoring win after a difficult week where head coach Daniel 'Chicco Dance' Nare resigned.

Club legend Itumeleng 'Tumie' Duicker will have been pleased with his side's response, and will want his side to carry on the momentum into their next league match against Gilport Lions on April 8.

Meanwhile Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote will hope to rejuvenate his Rollers team's title challenge when they face Miscellaneous in their next league assignment on April 7. Rollers stay top of the log on 45 points, while Gunners moved to 30 points.



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