Dylan O'Brien of Free State celebrates his goal with his teammates
Wednesday Jul 16, 2014. 14:29
A brace from Free State striker Dylan O'Brien secured a 2-1 win for the Free State province over the North West in a hotly contested 2014 SAB Under-21 National Championship encounter at the North West University Sports Grounds in Mafikeng on Wednesday.
The hosts were forced onto the back foot for the better part of the encounter, but despite the result, both teams progressed to the knockout stages.
The normally clinical O'Brien had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 13th minute, but he failed to find the back of the net with only the keeper to beat.
Free State continued to do all the running and they thought they had grabbed the lead just after the half hour mark, when Mbuyiselp Thethani tapped in from close range, but the goal was rightfully chalked off for offside.
Free State defender Mpho 'Gift' Mogorosi then rattled the bar in the 33rd minute as they continued to dominate proceedings.
O'Brien then saw his strike cleared off the line on the cusp of half-time, to the frustration of the Free State head coach.
Free State missed a catalogue of chances in the first 45, but were rewarded for their persistence soon after the interval as an unmarked O'Brien headed Kgotso Mofokeng's free-kick past a helpless Tshukudu Koketso.
Letlhogonolo Mogwera leveled matters for the North West in the 58th minute.
The speedy-winger found the back of the net via a goalkeeper blunder a mere six minutes from coming off the bench. His tame effort from an acute angle was parried over the line by Nicholas Magawu.
The Free State though continued to push forward and deservedly found the winner through O'Brien in the 78th minute.
Tshepo Mokhabi picked out the striker who bundled the ball over the line at the far post.