Polokwane City could not secure all three points when they allowed Highlands Park to come back and draw 1-1 in the Premier Soccer League at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Goals through Charlton Mashumba and Peter Shalulile saw the two clubs walking away with a point in Tshwane, but it was a bitter pill to swallow for the hosts.
The draw leaves City 15th on the log with 24 points from 27 matches, while Owen Da Gama’s troops sit seventh with 34 points having played the same number of matches as their opponents.
Coach Clinton Larsen was looking to guide his troops to a first victory since the restart following back-to-back losses to Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United in the past week.
The Lions of the North drew against reigning league champions Mamelodi Sundowns last Friday, and went into the clash chasing maximum points.
Coming to the clash, City didn’t have a bright start in the contest and goalkeeper George Chigova was called into action in the 26th minute when he denied the visitors
After the 20th minute, the Lions continued to push for an early goal and Lindokuhle Mbatha was fouled on the edge of the area, but Mlungisi Mbunjana’s attempt went straight into Chigova’s hands in the 22nd minute.
Veteran goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini displayed his experience in the 40th minute to deny Njabulo Buthelezi who outpaced his marker, before unleashing a grass-cutting shot on the left flank, but the keeper stood his ground and claimed his effort.
The opening half ended in a dull draw in Tshwane.
However, Highlands came back better in the second stanza as they controlled and retained the ball, yet their entries into the final third were dominated by stray passes which could not trouble their hosts.
Midfielder Wayde Jooste managed to beat two of his markers in the 53rd minute but his final decision making was poor where he saw his shot sailing over Chigova’s crossbar.
In the 65th minute, Mashumba finally made it 1-0 for Larsen’s boys against his former team, as the Zimbabwean hitman’s powerful header beat Kapini on his left corner.
Substitute Mokete Mogaila came close to making it 1-1 for the Tembisa-based club, yet he could not direct his shot on target inside the penalty area four minutes later.
However, Shalulile continued with his rich vein of form in front of the goal when he converted Mbatha’s cross into the box; the header in the 74th minute gave Chigova no chance to make it 1-1.
Shalulile’s attempt to bag a brace failed when Chigova blocked him from close range, as the Namibian saw his curling shot parried away in the 77th minute for a corner kick.
In search of a winning goal, the Lions of the North were the better outfit in the dying stages of the clash, yet they could not capitalize on their successive corner kicks and it ended at 1-1 after 90 minutes.