Up first, on the 1st, was Thunderbirds Ladies who arrived at campus on the back of a solid 2-0 win over Durban Ladies.
The well-disciplined visitors proved tough to get the better off as Thinasonke Mbuli’s charges had to wait for the 70th minute before a goal from Noxolo Cesane allowed them to claim all three points.
Round 3 of the season, on 9 May, brought a trip to the capital to face inaugural SAFA National Women’s League champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, in a televised fixture.
UWC gave as good as they got (and better if you look at a tally of nine shots on target to two) against ‘Banyana Ba Style’, but a solitary goal from Melinda Kgadiete ultimately handed Sundowns a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Lucas Moripe Stadium. The loss of Sduduzi Dlamini to injury, following a collision of heads, further dampered the mood on the day.
Newly-promoted JVW had made a perfect start to the season (alongside Sundowns and First Touch) so arrived at UWC on 15 May - the day before the league became the Hollywoodbets Super League courtesy their new sponsor - eager to show that their top-of-the-log status was no fluke. UWC, meanwhile, had suffered a second head injury during the week's training with Noxolo Cesane ruled out.
A fiercely contested match in tricky wet conditions looked like it was destined for a draw - courtesy first half goals from first-time starter Tiffany Kortjie and the visitors’ Mpumi Nyandeni - before Fikile Magama scored a brace inside the closing ten minutes. The 3-1 result confirmed that UDubs were taking home ground advantage seriously.
While their confidence was buoyed by the JVW result, the subsequent 1-1 draw at First Touch in Limpopo on 22 May was a let-down. Even more so because Noxolo Gcina scored in the 88th minute to rescue a point for First Touch. Substitute Khanya Xesi had put UWC ahead with 15 minutes left.
The frustration of that draw seemed to fuel UWC’s efforts against Coal City Wizards come month-end, back at home.
Tiffany Kortjie opened the scoring in the 8th minute, capitalising on a goalkeeping error to tap in. Noxolo Cesane doubled the Bushies’ advantage in the 33rd minute with a clinical finish from just outside the box. UWC led 2-0 at the break.
Forward Abongile Dlani dribbled past the Wizards defender to add the third goal eight minutes into the second half before a Cesane red card meant UWC had to see out the final 30 minutes with 10 men.
Nonetheless, with four minutes left they managed to score a fourth goal through substitute Janice Smith to make it 4-0.
All told, UWC finished the month sitting in fourth place behind pacesetters Sundowns and surprise packages JVW and First Touch.
MAY RESULTS AT A GLANCE
|1 May||Thunderbirds Ladies||1-0||H||Noxolo Cesane|
|9 May||Mamelodi Sundowns||0-1||A||-|
|15 May||JVW||3-1||H||Tiffany Kortjie, Fikile Magama 2|
|22 May||First Touch||1-1||A||Khanya Xesi|
|29 May||Coal City Wizards||4-0||H||Tiffany Kortjie, Noxolo Cesane, Abongile Dlani, Janice Smith|
HOLLYWOODBETS SUPER LEAGUE LOG SNAPSHOT (as at 31 May 2021)
All images courtesy Skhu Nkomphela/UWC Sport