30: Grinding Along

31 December 2017
Tembisa, South Africa

We end the year a-top the ABSA Premiership. Admittedly we have played more games to get here, but I like to think we have the points and those below us have to earn theirs.

Blow by Blow

Match 10/30 – ABSA Premiership

2017-0159

The Black Leopards look a whole lot less threatening than our previous opponents. This should be an easier match-up for us.

2017-0160

Playing a different formation today with two up top. The usual issues with wild shooting appeared again before Radzi got the ball at the top of the area and drilled a shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 Cosmos. Once again our passing lacks precision.

2017-0161

Second half we settle better and take control of the match, without adding goals. Lubasa finaly scored our second goal after a comedy of errors on the edge of the box.

2017-0162

Lubasa picked up a deserved POM award for his fine effort. I can’t help feeling that Ralebakeng may have made his last significant start for the club.

Match 11/30 – ABSA Premiership

2017-0163

There is a real trend in the ASBA Premiership for assists to come down the left flank. Maritzburg are no exception.

2017-0164

Three changes for this week as we revert to a 4-3-3 wide formation. Motang in at centreback, while youngsters Majola and Ngobeni start.

2017-0165

Maritzburg made the better start however after the half hour mark we started to establish ourselves. Halftime sees the score still 0-0.

2017-0166

We switch up the play and adopt the 4312 formation on the hour mark. This change brings results as Radzi gets on the end of a Mgcobo cross to head home the first goal of the game. Kangila injures himself taking a shot which is worrying. Rikotso heads home his first goal of the season to give us some breathing space.

2017-0167

Ngcobo gets player of the match, in a match with few stand out players.

Kangila Injury

2017-0168

Not as bad as I first feared. Lucky for us!

Makaringe Suspended

2017-0169

Makaringe will be a big miss for us, but better this match than the one against SuperSport United.

Match 12/30 – ABSA Premiership

2017-0170

Chippa United seem to start slow and concede more than half their goals down the left.

2017-0171

I didn’t pick they would line up in a 3-5-2 formation. This has me thinking that I may need to audible to a 4-3-3 – Will evaluate after 15 mins I think.

2017-0172

We start really well, but can’t get shots on target. First 20 mins sees us dominating teratory and posession but no goals. I add drill crosses to the instructions. Finally Lavert gets on the end of a throughball and pulls the ball back for Radzi to score. 1-0 Cosmos after 35 mins.

2017-0173

Chippa United started the better of the two sides in the second half so I changed things up a bit. I went to the 4-3-3 in an effort to hold onto posession. Leave it to Mr Clinical Nene to bag our second goal to make things more comfortable. Chippa pulled a goal back to give us some cause for concern, however we hold on for a good win.

2017-0174

Nene picked up yet another POM award. The lack of ability to get headers on target is starting to become a major concern.

Match 13/30 – ABSA Premiership

2017-0175

SuperSpurt United are again one of the front runners this season. They look they are a cross orientated so am considering how to line up against them. First half will be key.

2017-0176

The ABSA Premiership allows trialists to play in league matches, so Christian Zech is brought into my squad. I feel I have a really strong side selected for this match.

2017-0178

Out of the blocks SuperSport pile on the pressure, rattling the crossbar from distance. 10 minutes in they score. Luthuli saves the first shot, however the rebound is smashed home. After 20 minutes I switch to the 4-3-3 in an attempt to get back into the match. Sadly it doesn’t help as we are exposed down the right and they finish clinically.

2017-0179

We stopped the rot in the second half, but never looked like scoring. Lavet was a disappointment and may well be spending some time on the bench.

2017-0180

Motaung had a poor game with a mistake that lead to the first goal. Radzi was also off the pace, as was Lavet. Still it could have been worse.

Injury Report

2017-0181

Our backup keeper has picked up a knock that may keep him out of 5 weeks. Luckily he is no longer the starter so this will have minimal effect.

Match 14/30 – ABSA Premiership

2017-0182

FS Stars are challenging us for a top four position. They favour a 3-5-2 formation and look like they play through the middle as they have only 7 cross assists. I am thinking of using the 4-3-1-2 against them.

Injury Update

2017-0183

This is a heavy blow for our chances. Radzi has been our top performer so far. He is also a key player in the 4-3-1-2 formation. We will have to make do without him.

2017-0184

Tseka returns to the starting line-up after a rest. Ngobeni starts alongside Majola up top, while Nene comes in at AM(C) to replace the injured Radzi. At the back, Lubasa replaces Motaung due to the latter having a poor last outing.

2017-0185

Nene gets us off to a flyer as he blasts home Ngobeni’s low cross. Both sides creat good chances, with Luthuli making a fine save, and our inability to head the ball saving them. FS Stars get the ball in the net, but they were flagged off side and with 25 gone it is still 1-0. Majola has a clear cut chance saved to prevent us doubling the lead. On 34 mins Ngcobo injures himself and Gertse comes on to replace him. Finally a headed goal for Cosmos as Teska double the lead.

2017-0186

No change at half-time needed as we are playing well. Majola draws a great save as he looked certain to score. FS Stars draw a good save on 60 minutes as Luthuli keeps his clean sheet intact. Full time comes with us getting a comfortable 2-0 win.

2017-0187

Tseka picked up POM, and Nene added his 10th goal of the season. Not bad for a player with finishing of 5!

Injury Report

2017-0188

Three to four months out for my main leftback.  I have been forced to recall youngster Sesinyi from loan as cover for the first team.

Match Summary

2017-0190

Four wins and a loss in this period. I am happy with that.

League Table

2017-0189

We are still technically top of the table… Although we have played more games than any other top 6 teams.

Upcoming Fixtures

2017-0191

January has us playing six games, of which the games against Wits and Sundowns  should, on paper, be the hardest. Ideally 12-15 points is the minimum required.

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MrBadDragon

I am BadDragon and BadDragon is me!

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