In their first practice match the Castle Lager Football Academy defeated NFD side Highlands Park 5-2 at Balfour Park on Thursday.
Three first-half goals by Dylan O’Brien, Tshepo Mokhabi and Christoffer Balie together with two second half strikes from Dawny Makgatho and Bongumusa Mabuza ensured the academy walked away as victors whilst two penalties gave Park something to cheer about.
Neil Tovey’s boys were the first to keep the NFD side busy as they attacked their goal with pace, however, their decision making in the final third let them down.
As the game progressed, the Castle Academy moved forward with purpose and O’Brien unleashed a shot but it sailed wide.
Five minutes later, O’Brien received a pass from Candy Khauknani known as Shakira; and he beat the defender, and gave the oncoming keeper no chance as he slotted home easily.
Towards the interval, Mokhabi beat the defender with a piece of skill and powered a low shot past the keeper to make it 2-0.
With three minutes left on the scoreboard, a pass from the midfield split Park’s defence who didn’t chase hoping the referee would blow for offside, but instead he waved on and he passed to Balie who finished with ease.
In injury time, Park went forward with urgency but they were not able to break the defence as Academy went into the tunnel leading by 3-0.
The second half began at a high pace as the hosts probed for goals, however, the midfield was tight not allowing them space but they rushed in the final third.
After 20 minutes of play, both sides tried for a goal or two but it seemed that Tovey instructed his boys to just enjoy the lead and play the ball, changing passes.
A few minutes later, the referee pointed to the spot due to foul play by the Academy defence giving Park a chance to score their first goal making it 3-1.
With 10 minutes to go, Mabuza made it 4-1 after a great cross following a set piece from the right. However, a few seconds later, Dawny Makgatho managed to put his name on the score-sheet with a free header from a corner.
However, Park managed to get a penalty in the dying minutes of the game to the amazement of the fans. Park converted to get their second goal.
After such a convincing victory in their first friendly, the Castle Academy side will now meet Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday