Stellenbosch FC marked their first home match in over a month with a victory after recording a 2-1 DStv Premiership win over Richards Bay at the Danie Craven Stadium.
Steve Barker’s side made their home-ground advantage count against their opponents from Kwa-Zulu Natal by recording a hard-fought 2-1 victory in Stellenbosch on Tuesday evening, courtesy of a brace from striker Iqraam Rayners.
The opening exchanges of the encounter proved to be a back-and-forth affair with neither side able to gain a proper foothold, until the in-form Rayners broke the deadlock for the hosts with just under half an hour played, reacting fastest to a loose ball in the box to fire his side into the lead.
The 27-year-old’s strike was ultimately the difference between the two sides heading into the half-time break as Steve Barker’s side ended the opening stanza looking to control proceedings at both ends of the pitch.
However, it was Richards Bay who hit back shortly after the restart when they were awarded a penalty for an apparent handball by Stellenbosch, with the resultant spot-kick duly converted by Boikanyo Komane to level the scores.
That proved only to be a minor and temporary setback for the team from the Cape Winelands, as Man of the Match Rayners once again delivered the goods to fire his side back into the lead on the stroke of the hour mark.
Following that goal, the Natal Rich Boyz again pushed to find an equaliser and grew in stature as the half wore on, notably forcing Stellies ‘keeper Sage Stephens to make a remarkable save to keep his side’s advantage intact.
He and his defence were able to do just that as Stellenbosch held on to record a valuable victory which has seen the club return to the top eight in the league standings after 10 matches played.
Stellenbosch FC and Richards Bay will do battle once again next month when the two sides go head-to-head in the Carling Knockout semi-final, provisionally scheduled to take place on Saturday, 2 December 2023, in Kwa-Zulu Natal.