|David Mathebula © Backpagepix
An early first half strike by David Mathebula propelled Moroka Swallows to a 1-0 away victory over Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in an Absa Premiership match on Wednesday night.
As early as the eighth minute Swallows had their first real chance at goal.
Swallows’ left winger Bennett Chenene was fouled by Stars’ Soriola Gege and the referee awarded a free-kick. David Mathebula produced a 20-yard strike on goal direct from the free-kick which was saved by Stars goalkeeper Bruce Mtshali.
In the 10th minute, Chenene had a chance of his own, but with his weak right foot he shot over the bar from 12-yards out.
A minute later Mathebula had another chance, his right-footed effort from the centre of penalty area was parried away by Mtshali who was being kept busy in the early stages.
The pressure was on the Free State side and they soon succumbed – Siyabonga Nomvethe’s cross from the left wing was met by Mathebula who made no mistake from 12-yards out as he buried the ball low beyond Mtshali.
It was 1-0 to the Birds after 14 minutes.
Chenene had another chance to increase the Birds lead when he produced a left-footed shot from the edge of the area, but it narrowly went wide to the left of the net.
Only after 38 minutes played, Stars had their first real clear cut chance of the match.
Stars forward Boitumelo Sekgobela had a chance from 12-yards out, but his effort was saved by Swallows keeper Greg Etafia.
Swallows took a slender 1-0 halftime lead to the locker rooms.
After minutes into the second stanza, Stars were looking for an immediate answer and Paulos Masehe shot over the bar from 25-yards out on the left wing.
Stars’ leading goal scorer this season, Edward Manqele with eight goals in the league, was having a quiet match and his shot in the 73rd minute from 25-yards out on the left went over the bar.
The Birds took all three points away from their trip to the Free State – the win lifts them above Supersport United into fourth spot and tied on points with Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on 33 points.
Moroka Swallows (1) 1 (Mathebula 14’)
Free State Stars (0) 0
Moroka Swallows: (4-5-1) Etafia; Mapemba, Mungomeni, Hendricks, Lekgothoane; Tsutsulupa (Twala 77’), Sibiya, Khumalo, Chenene (Maleka 55’), Mathebula; Nomvethe (Mayinga 92’)
Free State Stars: (4-4-2) Mtshali; Gege, Gcaba, Makola (Lebyane 82’), Mashego; Masehe, Mashaba, Mosikidi, Wome; Mnqele, Sekgobela (Mbo 58’)