Bidvest Wits throw away two-goal lead

Bidvest Wits squandered a two-goal lead as they were held 2-2 by Golden Arrows in an Absa Premiership clash at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

It was a classic ‘game of two halves’ as the Clever Boys opened up a 2-0 lead in the first stanza, but allowed Abafana Bes’thende to fight back after the break and secure a share of the spoils.

The teams traded early chances in the opening minutes, with Elias Pelembe shooting just off target before Lerato Lamola had a promising opening but was pulled back for a marginal offside call from the referee’s assistant.

Wits claimed the lead in the 13th minute, with Simon Murray converting a penalty. The spot kick was awarded after Thabang Monare’s shot hit Divine Lunga’s arm and the referee adjudged it to be hand ball.

The goal spurred the Clever Boys on to create further opportunities and they were rewarded in the 26th minute, with Deon Hotto doing great work down the right flank to tee up Gift Motupa, who headed home to make it 2-0 and put the hosts firmly in charge of the match.

The goalkeepers then became key contributors through the remainder of the first half, with Darren Keet pulling off a couple of excellent saves to keep out efforts from Lamola and Knox Mutizwa, while Maximillian Mbaeva turned away an attempt from Motupa to net his side’s third goal and kill of the game.

Wits, with a 2-0 lead, were well in charge of proceedings at halftime. However, the opening 17 minutes of the second half saw them surrender their advantage to a far more attack-minded Abafana Bes’thende.

The Durban side first pulled a goal back through Seth Parusnath in the 49th minute, with the young attacker sliding home the ball after Lamola unselfishly teed him up when one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

And just after the hour mark substitute Wayde Jooste, who had made a real positive impact for the visitors, equalised from the penalty spot to make it 2-2 – the spot kick was awarded after Parusnath was upended in the 18-yard area.

Wits were stung by Arrows’ fightback, but the hosts nearly reclaimed the ascendancy in the 67th minute, with a substitute of their own, Lehlohonolo Nonyane, finding Buhle Mkhwanazi with a fine cross, but the defender’s header rebounded off the frame of the goal.

The visitors had the last clear chance of the game in the 82nd minute, with Keet doing well to keep out a one-on-one effort from Arrows sub Nduduzo Sibiya – the match duly ended 2-2 and saw the teams pick up a point apiece.

Wits will return to Absa Premiership action this weekend when they play away to Baroka FC on Sunday, while Arrows must wait until December 22 for their next league match, a derby away to AmaZulu.

Bidvest Wits (2) 2 (Murray 13’ pen, Motupa 26’)

Golden Arrows (0) 2 (Parusnath 49’, Jooste 62’ pen)

Wits: Keet, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Johannes, Hlanti, Alexander, Monare, Pelembe, Motupa (Mhango 75’), Hotto (Nonyane 55’), Murray (Majoro 63’)

Arrows: Mbaeva, Sibisi, Mngwengwe, Mathiane, Lunga, Molefe (Cele 77’), Phiri, Conco (Jooste 46’), Parusnath, Mutizwa (Sibiya 72’), Lamola