Stellies not at their best against Chippa - Barker

football02 March 2024 10:16| © Mzansi Football
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Steve Barker © Gallo Images

Stellenbosch were not at their best on Friday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Chippa United, with coach Steve Barker also admitting they had their backs to the wall after defender Ismael Toure was sent off early in the first half.

The Winelands club did take the lead at the Danie Craven Stadium when Antonio van Wyk put them ahead in the 42nd minute but Barker said they were fortunate to have the halftime lead.

But after Toure got his marching orders in the 49th minute, Chippa used their one-man advantage to hammer away at the home goal, equalising through Craig Martin in the 68th minute.

“It was a tough encounter and credit must go to Chippa, I thought they played with a lot of energy. And, if you look at their team, they're a good team,” said Barker, whose side’s unbeaten record is now at 14 games since September.

“So they made it difficult for us, but we weren't obviously the most fluid. I think (goalkeeper) Oscarine (Masuluke) kept us in the game in the beginning with some big saves. I thought we were probably a little bit fortunate to come in at halftime in the lead. Probably a draw would have been more reflective of what happened.”

Barker said Stellenbosch lacked fluidity in their play.

“There were a couple of things that we weren't doing too well, not picking up the second ball and often some set pieces where they were causing us problems. We came out in the second half to be solid for the first 15 minutes, hoping then as we are leading, they would come at us and therefore we could get some transition moments and, hopefully, some chances.

“But obviously, the red card does change the complexion of the game and made it a bit more difficult. It became a defensive effort in the last 30-35 minutes with maybe the hope of a set piece or goal on the transition. We had one or two half moments, especially Jaden (Adams) with the header from the set piece. So, yeah, it wasn't our best performance, a tough game, well done to the opposition, but at the same time we have to look at the positives, holding onto our unbeaten record, and getting a point under difficult circumstances. You know, we're starting to show that resilience,” added the Stellenbosch coach.