A sublime second half Jackson Lesole goal from the wide right of the pitch was sufficient to give Township Rollers a 1-0 win over BR Highlanders at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues always looked comfortable and after a first half of patient build up play, short midfield passes varied with long balls played forward from the back, Popa picked up the attacking pace in the second half which also had good game management with possession football.
Lesole’s solitary strike takes Rollers to 26 points with ten games- a third of the season- completed; eight wins and two draws for the log leaders.
Interim head coach Thabo Motang made three changes to the side which started the 1-0 win over Security Systems midweek.
Joel Mogorosi, Kamogelo Matsabu and Boyo Lechaena dropped to the bench as Jackson Lesole made the line up, Tumisang Orebonye returned from one match suspension and Benjamin Sarkoh marked his Popa debut start.
Rollers started with a 4-4-2 formation line up of Wagarre Dikago, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Simisani Mathumo, Jackson Lesole, Motsholetsi Sikele, Maano Ditshupo, Mothusi Cooper, Segolame Boy, Tumisang Orebonye and Benjamin Sarkoh.
In a match played at a slow tempo on a hot Molepolole afternoon, Sikele saw two good chances go over the bar early on; first a shot from distance, then after a good interchange between Orebonye and Ditshupo led to a save by Highlanders goalkeeper Lapologang Molathegi, Sikele tried to convert the rebound but saw his effort soar over.
After a goalmouth scramble, Gaolaolwe shot goal ward but also tipped his effort over.
Boy advanced into the inside right edge of the box and his shot was tipped over by Molathegi. Minutes before the break Orebonye had a close range shot saved by Molathegi.
The match was goalless at the break and Rollers picked up the pace slightly in the second half.
Lesole broke the deadlock with a stunning long range goal. After a tearing run into the right wing, Lesole played a quick exchange with Boy before releasing what initially looked like a cross but ended up in the back of the net.
Rollers then changed the front two, bringing in Joel Mogorosi and Lemonye Tshireletso for Orebonye and Sarkoh.
Popa were combining well with Boy, Tshireletso and Sikele looking comfortable on the ball.
Mogorosi saw two headed effort go close, both from corner kicks floated in from the left side of the pitch by Cooper.
Kamogelo Matsabi was brought on for Lesole.
Tshireletso saw a long range attempt from just outside the 18 yard box go just over the bar.
Late on another Tshireletso strike from distance produced a single handed save from Molathegi, who tipped the ball over.
It ended 1-0 to the Blues.
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