Late Arwuah goal sinks Bay United

4 March 2009

Maritzburg United beat Bay United 2-1 in a crucial Premier Soccer League match at the EPRU Stadium in Port Elizabeth last night.

After a period where United’s name has been in the press for all the wrong reasons, last night saw some brighter news for the PMB team. The results last night really went United’s way as the Team of Choice made a great stride in their effort to save relegation.

Third-last United’s win over bay saw them open up a five-point gap over the last-placed team, who have played two more games and are now near-certainties for the last-placed automatic relegation spot. Second-last Bloemfontein Celtic lost 1-0 to SuperSport United in Pretoria, and are four points behind United, who are now just a point below Thanda Royal Zulu, 2-1 losers to Santos in Cape Town.

The home side started on the back foot after skipper Duran Francis and Cyril Nzama were ruled out through automatic suspension for three yellow cards.

In a scrappy first half, neither side deserved to be in front, although Bay had a let off in the very first minute when keeper Arthur Bartman deflected a well-taken set-piece by Fadli Davids for a corner.

In the 10th minute, Jean Njoh, who had a dismal game, failed to get onto an excellent free-kick by Gareth Ncaca.

Bay had several free-kicks but all were wasted when Jemaine Christian and Ncaca went directly for goal and Maritzburg keeper Michael Babale had no problem picking them off.

Almost on halftime, Bay had two close calls as a shot from Justice Sithole was deflected towards the goalmouth. Bartman did well to palm the ball away for a corner. And when the corner was taken, Bay had another let off as John Aruwah hit the cross bar.

Both teams lifted their performance in the second half.

Fifteen minutes into the half, substitute Fanyana Dhladhla brought the game alive when he got onto a cross from Patrick Petersen to put Maritzburg ahead. Bay stepped up a gear, but anxiety was their downfall as they shot wildly. Ten minutes from time, Linos Chalwe put Bay on level terms with a well-taken goal.

For the first time in the match it was end to end stuff as both teams searched for the winner.

Five minutes from the end, Vincent Khumalo could have put Bay ahead but fired straight at the keeper from the edge of the area.

With time running out, Maritzburg pushed ahead and Bartman did well to save off Dhladhla, but could not stop Aruwah from scoring the winner two minutes before the final whistle.

Courtesy of the Witness/ Marc Strydom