DESPITE being held to a goalless draw, Bay Stars were satisfied with their efforts after returning home with a point in their Safa Provincial Second Division soccer clash against Tembu Royals in Mthatha at the weekend.
On a wet, slippery field, this was a tough assignment for Stars bearing in mind that they went down 2-0 in the corresponding fixture last season.
Despite the conditions, Bay Stars looked most dangerous when they went wide, often creating chances through Nkosinathi Speelman, Lindsay Stowman and Siyabulelo Songwiqi.
The Royals' defence stood firm although they were often under pressure. At one stage, Lindsay Stowman tore down the right to cross into the box, giving Orlin Powell a perfect opportunity to take the lead, but the home side just managed to keep him out.
The midfield duels were tough and evenly matched.
In the second half, coach Graeme Harrison's Bay Stars team piled on the pressure as they sought to make a breakthrough, and Powell had another opportunity from a cross by Songwiqi, only to blast it over the bar. From here on, the game deteriorated into a scrappy, stop-start affair as the Tembu side resorted to all sorts of tactics to upset Stars' rhythm. Tembu never had any clear chances, bar a few wild shots from far out which never troubled Stars keeper Sheldon Baatjies.
The home side spent most of the time on the defence.
Bay Stars' general technical manager Mark Tommy said they were satisfied with the away point and the attacking manner the Stars team approached the game.
"A good attacking team is based on a solid defence and this is exactly what Stowman and Anda Makaza did, holding up the rearguard," Tommy said.
Harrison was enthusiastic about the performance and described the match as a difficult encounter in difficult conditions.
"Of course, three points would have been great away in Mthatha, but the one point is invaluable away from home," Harrison said.
He believes the team are still settling down and will improve.
"Attack-minded players such as Le Roy van Rensburg, Orlin Powell, Songwiqi and Remano Scott will be a handful for any defence," he said.
"For now, we will shift our focus to the Nedbank Challenge Cup that kicks off this coming weekend," the coach said.