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New boys concede late goal as wasteful Wits grab draw

A late equaliser from Erwin Isaacs ensued a 1-1 draw for BidVest Wits as they denied Chippa United a first-ever Premier Soccer League win just two minutes from time

After picking up just one point from their first three outings in their debut season in the top flight, Chippa were set for noisy celebrations only to be denied in the closing stages by the Wits substitute.

It was a heartbreak finish in his first game back in charge for coach Roger Sikhakhane, the third coach in as many games for Chippa.

Although Wits dominated throughout, it was a 32nd minute effort from Andile Mbenyane that put the ‘Chilli Boys’ into the lead before Isaacs’ hammered home in the 88th minute.

There might have been more profit for Chippa on the counter attack as Wits proved wasteful in front of goal at the other end.

All the early impetus lay with the star-studded Wits, starting the match with seven internationals and a further four on the bench, as Calvin Kadi, Thembinkosi Fanteni, Mbulelo Mabizela and Sibusiso Vilakazi all threatened. It looked like a possible romp.

But Chippa seemed to shrug off their inability to control the midfield with quick counter attacks and when Cole Alexander fired a free kick, after 15 minutes, that wizzed across the Wits defence as their back four panicked, it became evident there was potential for the league’s new boys to be competitive.

Alexander followed that up with a stinging shot that Wits’ young goalkeeper Steven Hoffman had to save at full stretch and within a minute he was also palming away another effort, this time from Mbenyane.

Wits claimed a goal just before the half-hour mark when Fanteni’s close-in effort was bundled clear off the line by goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda but television replays showed it had not crossed over the line and referee Robert Smith was right to wave play on.

Three minutes later Mbenyane opened the scoring as another free kick bypassed the prostrate Wits defence, caught napping by the home side.

Chippa might have had second goal 120 seconds later in similar circumstances as Wits failed to clear another tempting ball but Gift Sithole failed to get onto the end of.

Fanteni, on his return to the Mother City after his move to Wits from Ajax Cape Town, forced a good save in the 37th minute but the half ended with Chippa best placed to score again.

Debutant Brent Carelse initiated a swift counter with a pas to the left to Diego brown and while his cross was accurate, it was too forceful for Mbenyane to get a decent header onto.

Wits continued to dominate possession after the break as they Erwin Isaacs to the attack but their final passes and efforts from the edge of the penalty area were weak … until right at the death.