Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker lauds Stellies’ tactical execution in victory over Royal AM


Steve Barker has lauded his side’s execution of their tactical game plan following Friday’s DStv Premiership win over Royal AM.

Stellenbosch FC returned to winning ways in the DStv Premiership after recording a 3-1 come-from-behind DStv victory over Royal AM at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday, courtesy of second-half goals by Deano van Rooyen, Jayden Adams, and Iqraam Rayners.

Recap – Stellies come from behind to down Royal AM in Pietermaritzburg

Speaking after the match, Stellies head coach Steve Barker revealed that he was pleased with the character his side showed to bounce back after going a goal down and with their tactical execution to turn the game around.

“It’s nice when your execution and your game plan comes to fruition,” Barker said. “We planned well for the game and had our tactics in place. It’s never easy to play Royal AM, traditionally away in Durban they were a tough team to play against so we have to be happy with our performance and with the result.”

“I think in the first half, our execution with the final pass and the decision-making was lacking. We had a lot of possession but didn’t really create as many opportunities as I thought we should, but in saying that they didn’t really create many themselves.

“We made an error, tried to get clever with the throw-in, and then got caught on the transition [for their opening goal]. They had a couple of clearances off their line and Iqraam Rayners had a couple of half-chances, so I wasn’t disappointed with the first half, I was just frustrated that we came in half-time trailing 1-0, when at worst it should have been 0-0.

“I told the players that they just need to continue doing what they did in the first half, just with a bit of better execution, more precision, and better decision-making. There was a lot of space out on the field and the feeling was that if we could get a goal in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half, we would go on to win the game.

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“Fortunately it happened that way, we got ourselves back in and then the game opened up. We got a lot of space and looked dangerous in transition.

“There are still aspects where we can improve, like when we were 3-1 up I thought we gave the ball away softly at times. You don’t want it to go to 3-2 with five or ten minutes remaining because that can change the complexion of the game.

“So, there are one or two things that we need to get better at but overall, considering it was our third away game of the week, to have come away with a win in the MTN8 and a win away to Royal AM, is good for us.”