Mthatha Bucks moved closer to the relegation quagmire after they were hammered 3-1 by Highlands Park at the Mthatha Stadium over the weekend.
The defeat saw the hosts slipping to the 13th spot while the visitors remained top of the log standing.
The match was marred by controversial referee’s calls, including two disallowed goals by Bucks players Lucky Mathosi and Steve Anoma.
Bucks fought bravely but Highlands Park were patient in executing their plan with the first goal coming in the 44th minute. This when Mothobi Mvala netted before Lindokuhle Mbatha and Peter Shalulile sealed the win in the second half.
Bucks’ consolation goal was scored by substitute Mpho Khumalo.
Bucks assistant coach Mondli Funani attributed the loss to lapse in concentration in critical moments.
“They were playing long balls to the tall man [Mothobi Mvala] and then there were those who were running behind and we didn’t pick those runners, that’s why we got punished.
“As I’ve said it’s just lack of concentration. We wanted to get at least one point as we were playing number one and you could see that by the way they were doing things. Unfortunately things didn’t go our way.”
Regardless of the result, Funani said even though they couldn’t get the much needed three points, he was happy with how his boys performed.
“We still have to work very hard but you could see the officiating was not one of the best but we still have to soldier on because that can’t be an excuse for losing.”
Highlands Park assistant coach Allen Freese said they were happy to have come down to collect their three points to stay ahead of everyone else.
“We really prepared for this game. It was heavy in the first half but we’re satisfied and we are happy for the players. I think we won the game in the second half – we defended well in the first half, and we were patient.
“Just before half time, we were lucky to score that goal and we were also happy to go the break with a goal up.
“It wasn’t a walk in the park hence we really had to play for this win. They closed rank quickly and there were times we couldn’t do what we wanted to do. But as the game progressed in the second half, we got stronger and our guys started playing better and they took the chances that we created.
“Peter [Shalulile] has been doing really well and I’m happy that he scored again and I’m happy that Mbatha could score again too. We have different players scoring and that is great for us.”