Toti Over-35s gift game to Westville with hat-trick of soft goals

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By Ob1kanobi

After a spirited performance away from home last week against log leaders, Juventus, in which the South Coast side narrowly lost 5-3, it was disappointing to watch the Bullets throw the game away against bottom feeders, Westville at home.

Club captain, Deon Dunbar, informed me that Toti were all over the understrength league champions, who were missing four of their star players.

I missed the action at Juventus but instead had the privilege of watching the finest SA music on offer at Splashy Fen, including solid performances by local Warner Beach groups, Gus Brown, on Saturday afternoon and then later, Manuvah to Land, who had the tent flaps rattling with applause in the evening.

Led by legendary 62-year-old Ian Bender and caretaker manager, Janos Molnar, it looked like Toti were geared up to get a win from the kick off when Dale Studinski orchestrated an early cross for the beast, Craig Zulu, to have his header saved.

Then later Studinski struck a beautiful dipping free kick that shaved the underside of the crossbar for a sweet opening goal.

Toti should have battened down the hatches but Westville replied with a free run down the right flank and a cross into the six-yard area for an easy unmarked equaliser.

Sporadic exchanges from both sides ensued and then Westville capitalised on some poor marking again, this time on the left wing to allow Westville to go into the lead with yet another soft goal.

Zulu’s work rate and awesome skill got him into a good position to unleash a strike that was saved from out the area and then a header that was parried away by the vigilant Westville goalkeeper.

Marc Sheppie provided some light hearted entertainment for the crowd on the terraces and was yellow carded for wrestling his opponent to the ground around the neck WWE slam dunk style and was lucky not to be sent off but was later substituted during the break for a lacklustre performance, which was probably on account of his injured elbow.

Half time: 2-1 to Westville.

The second half saw wholesale changes as four pairs of fresh legs took to the park, one in particular was debut boy, Roderick Sass, who looked very impressive roaming from left to right across the midfield and could offer a welcoming new dimension to the Over-35s non-existent attacking game plan.

Toti started taking charge of the match when Michael Chappie tested the keeper with a long-range shot and the applied pressure finally paid off with a superlative individual effort from Studinski to clinch the 2-all equaliser.

Zulu then had a shot straight at the keeper and soon after Chappie was brought down in the area, allowing Zulu to slot the penalty and to take the lead again 3-2.

Goalkeeper, Conrad Rubino, was finally called to duty with a solid goal-saving, spread eagled slide tackle against the advancing Westville striker coming in with speed but all that effort was to be in vain as the writing was on the wall when Vishnu Naidoo had an excellent opportunity to put the game out of reach for Westville with five minutes to go.

Naidoo broke from the halfway line to run directly towards goal but was harangued tenaciously by an overzealous defender that tugged and pulled at Naidoo’s shirt tails all the way and did just enough to spoil the shot on goal.

Then pandemonium struck when goalkeeper Rubino and a bunch of Toti defenders failed to call for the ball that was crossed to the far post from Westville, resulting in a nasty deflection from the cluster of Toti players and an own goal, subsequently gifting Westville a valuable point in the league and pushing Toti closer to the bottom of the log again.

Final score: 3-3.

Man of the Match honours went to Dale Studinski for a fine display of footballing skills.

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