Stellenbosch Football Club

Barker: We need to be more clinical & ruthless at home

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Stellenbosch FC head coach Steve Barker has called for his side to be more clinical in front of goal after being held to a 1-1 DStv Premiership draw against Cape Town Spurs on Saturday evening.

Stellenbosch extended their unbeaten run to a club-record 16 matches across all competitions on Saturday after recording a 1-1 draw against rivals Cape Town Spurs, but coach Steve Barker was left wanting more from his side after not picking up all three points.

Match report | Stellies set new unbeaten record despite being held to derby draw

“It turned out to be a decent match to watch for the neutrals with both teams trying to get a win, and with positive play from both sides,” Barker said following the match,

“We knew where Spurs are dangerous and that on transition, they leave [Asenele] Velebayi and [Ashley] Cuipdo up front with [Luvuyo] Phewa, so we had to make sure that we didn’t get caught out. I don’t think we dealt with it as well as we had hoped so I was pleased not to see Cupido come out for the second half because I thought he was a handful for us.

“We created chances but struggled with the final pass and in the final third, where the decision making and penetrative passing maybe wasn’t smart enough.  We had good possession and were able to rotate the ball into wide areas, but the final pass just wasn’t hitting the mark often enough.

“We then started the second half strongly, on the front foot, and asked them a lot of questions, and I felt we deserved the goal [scored by Iqraam Rayners from the penalty spot] that we eventually got.

“Then it was one of those where we felt that with it being a home game, we had to go for the win, and put out an ultra-attacking team with Fawaaz Basadien going into midfield and bringing on [Nhlanhla] Mgaga, Mervin [Boji] and [Andre] de Jong.

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“It was a combination of us trying to get the three points. I think we deserved the equaliser and that we were maybe a bit unlucky not to get the winning goal after a couple of decent chances, especially from Devin Titus [who twice struck the crossbar].

“Overall, though, I don’t think we’re playing as well as we can and should be. Playing our third game in a week was a challenge, as was having a couple of red cards and suspensions, but we didn’t defend their goal well enough.

“We didn’t deal with it well enough higher up the pitch and that led to the goal, so there are a couple of things we have to go back to the drawing board and training ground for to fix.

“We have a Nedbank Cup match coming up next week which will take our focus off the league a bit, and hopefully we can get ourselves into the last eight in the cup and then refocus on the league, where we need to find ways to be more clinical and ruthless at home.”

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Barker was, however, pleased with his side’s resilience to claw back a point after Asanele Velebayi’s opening goal, and shared his view that close-fought and exciting derbies between Stellenbosch, Spurs, and Cape Town City were good for football in the region.

“It is our responsibility as the Cape-based teams to make the derbies as exciting as possible,” he added

“In my opinion, the matches should be getting the mainstream channels because there are three teams who are all wanting to get one over the other. It’s important to do well in the derbies because there are 12 points to play for, and fortunately we took 10 out of the 12 which I think is a really good haul for us this season.

“Invariably, though, they are difficult matches because of the nature of the derby. I always tell our players that we don’t lose derbies, but as I said in previous interviews, just because we’ve had a good season doesn’t mean it’s always going to be the case.

“We have to fight for the right to have the bragging rights and today I was pleased that we were able to fight back in the second half and show a bit of resilience not to lose the game.”