The match however failed to attract a good crowd, perhaps due to the fact that on the same night there was a music festival in the city, where South African artist Cassper Nyovest was performing.
Popa dominated the game from the word go and could have taken the lead through a penalty with nearly ten minutes into play. At one point, Rollers exchanged 16 clean passes in the first half.
Popa goalie, Kabelo Dambe was a mere spectator and only handled the ball twice in open play in the first half. Going into the match, Rollers were under pressure to win in order to solidify their first position in the league following two consecutive draws. The lead in the league has been significantly reduced in recent weeks.
Perhaps a sign that Rollers are worried about their unhealthy league lead, their coach Mark Harrison, who was serving the last of his two match suspension, kept on asking spectators in the media gallery the status of matches featuring their two closest league rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Orapa United. The two teams were playing at the same time, and recorded victories respectively.
Just 10 minutes into the game, Rollers looked set to take lead. A careless Trinity Nko cluttered Jerome Ramatlhakwana in the box. The Rollers marksman stood up to take the spot kick, but soft shot fell straight into the hands of Nico goalie, Kagiso Rankabekwa.
In the 17th minute, Rollers found the decisive opener; Lawrence Majawa, received a pass from Ramatlhakwana, flicked it to Sekhana ‘Nandos’ Koko who headed in past the Nico goalie.
Mapalastina were not done, as in the 25th minutes, they were two goals up. Ramatlhakwana navigated his way through a packed midfield before laying the ball for Joel Mogorosi on the left. A pacey Mogorosi passed his marker and laid the ball for captain Maano Ditshupo, who calmly converted with a close low ground shot.
Two minutes after the break, Edwin Moalosi laid the ball for a decisive Ramatlhakwana who took a straight hot shot into the net. Seconds later, Mogorosi could have done more damage but failed to capitalise on a mistake by Rankabekwa who parried the ball back into play.
Koko completed his brace five minutes before time, connecting with Gofaone Tiro’s slow cross from right. Koko who along with Ramatlhakwana and Mogogi Gabanomong were strong contenders for the man of the match would cap his fine performance by dribbling past his marker before he releasing the ball to substitute Motsholetsi Sikele, who cleverly put it past an advancing Rankabekwa.
It was still a purely a one sided second half as Nico only managed one notable shot at Dambe. Nico’s Spencer Ngalande capitalised from Tshepho Motlhabankwe’s loss of possession in the 76th minute, but Dambe cleanly collected the strong shot. In fact the clash on Friday will go down in history as one of Nico’s worst performance. The Selebi-Phikwe outfit failed to click for the entire proceedings.
Township Rollers: Dambe, Motlhabankwe, Gabanamong, Simisani Mathumo, Vanderwesthuzen, Mathumo, Ditshupo, Majawa, Koko, Moalosi (Gofaone Tiro), Ramatlhakwana (Jerome Louis), Mogorosi (Motsholetsi Sikele).
Coach: Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote
Nico United: Kagiso Rankabekwa, Trinity Nko (Richard Legwaila), Otsile Batang (Mogomotsi Samson), Nelson Moreetsi, Onkabetse Seforo, Innocent Sikhungu, Arnold Mampori, Gift Moyo, Khumoestsile Kufigwa (Spencer Ngalande), Christopher Musonda.
Coach: Duncan Tshegofatso