Richards Bay seem to be crumbling at the critical stage of the season as they have lost their top spot in the GladAfrica Championship after a 2-1 loss to JDR Stars at uMhlathuze Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.
This result means they can’t re-ascend to the top spot which they fell on on Saturday after Royal AM’s win against TS Sporting that saw them climb to two points above Richards Bay.
And with two games left now, it looks like the race will get even more interesting and more twists and turns can be expected before the team who win automatic promotion is decided.
The win took the Hammer Boys to fifth place and four points behind leaders Royal AM, and now have a real chance at shooting for automatic promotion.
The visitors were quick off the blocks as they looked for an early goal to unsettle the home side. And they went ahead just two minutes into the game with Elias Monene allowed to have three attempts at goal until he eventually got it right and beat Malcolm Jacobs who had blocked his two initial efforts.
The early goal helped the Hammer Boys to settle quicker and play at a slower pace while the Natal Rich Boyz hurried their attacks which played to the visitors’ hands.
With 15 minutes to the break, JDR were awarded a free kick just outside the Bay box, but couldn’t make it count, and four minutes later they were made to pay.
The Rich Boys were awarded a corner kick and Khanyisa Mayo took it and hit a curler that went straight into the net to level matters. Stars had a penalty appeal denied in the 42nd minute, with Tshepo Mokhabi earning himself a booking for diving instead.
Richards Bay back a better team for the second half and controlled the game well, constantly threatening Badra Sangare’s goal but they couldn’t make any serious headway.
With seven minutes to the end, Simphiwe Mcineka fouled Olwethu Ncube inside the home side’s box, and the referee didn’t hesitate this time around and awarded the spot kick.
Temptation Chiwunga converted from the spot to put the visitors ahead for the second time in this game. It proved to be enough to seal the game and give the Hammer Boys an important three points.