Mbesuma sends Chippa into relegation zone

Highlands v Chippa Collins Mbesuma

Highlands Park gained a valuable win in their bid to survive the drop as they condemned Chippa United to a 1-0 defeat in an Absa Premiership encounter on Friday night at the Makhulong Stadium, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.

Both sides headed into the encounter on the back of respective dismal spells in the Absa Premiership campaign, with Highlands Park on a six-game consecutive winless streak in the league.

Chippa’s form guide also leaves much to be desired, with the Chilli Boys having embarked on a 12-game consecutive winless streak, which has taken them closer to the relegation zone.

Kick-off for the game was delayed by 45 minutes after a power failure in Tembisa. When proceedings did get underway, it proved to be a tactical chess match between the two teams.

The encounter got off to a slow start with neither team willing to commit too much in attack in the early exchanges.

Opportunities proved far and in between in the first-half with both teams seeing little goal action as they went into the half-time break deadlocked at 0-0.

The visitors opted for a more attacking approach in the second stanza as Menzi Masuku was introduced for Mncube Vusumuzi in the 50th minute.

Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi made a good save to deny Thabota’s shot from the edge of the box.

The home side made two changes, the latter being a forced one as Seun Ledwaba and Brandon Theron replaced Suprise Moriri and Lindokuhle Mbatha respectively. The move paid dividends minutes later when substitute Ledwaba was brought down in the Chippa area and veteran forward Collins Mbesuma made no mistake from the spot to give his side the 1-0 lead in the 65th minute.

Content with the one-goal lead, The Lions of The North shut up shop and looked to get numbers behind the ball in a bid to thwart any Chippa attacks. The Chill Boys threw everything in the remaining minutes of the match, but they could not a way past a resilient Highlands defence.

The result sees Highlands Park leapfrog Chippa into 14th place, while the Port Elizabeth outfit drop to second-from-bottom.

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/Backpagepix