The Birds fly safely from danger zone

2011-04-30 20:58

It has been a long time coming, but it seems Moroka Swallows have finally managed to intensify their hopes of avoiding playing in the  relegation/promotion play-offs come the end of the season.

This was after the Birds ­registered a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership clash played at ­Goble Park, Bethlehem ­yesterday.

The 64-year-old club came ­into this clash fully aware that a win against Steve Khompela’s charges was their only hope of  salvation, and their hard work and determination paid off.

The result means Swallows will go into their next league match against Bidvest Wits on Saturday at Dobsonville Stadium with their confidence skyhigh.

However, it was just reward for a dominant start by a side clearly conversant with the crude fact that their destiny is not in their hands.

Both Vasco Da Gama and Maritzburg United still had their matches to play after the Swallows and Free State Stars’ match.

Siyabonga Nomvethe, Ashraf Hendricks and Bradley Ritson were the chief destroyers as their goals handed Swallows the much needed three points.

Free State Stars’ goal was scored by Kennedy Mweene from the penalty spot.

Swallows opened the scoring from Nomvethe’s well-taken penalty after Paulos Masehe ­handled the ball inside the box in the sixth minute.

Despite Swallows’ lead, Ea Lla Koto continued to trouble ­Swallows’ defence, and their efforts finally paid dividends when Shere ­Lekgothoane tackled Stars’ ­Manti Moholo from behind inside the Birds’ danger zone, and referee Jerome Damone awared the second spot kick of the day.

From the resultant kick, goalkeeper Mweene levelled matters in the 36th minute.

Earlier on, Aleni Lebyane and Boitumelo Sekgobela had ­chances to put the host team ahead in the first and fourth minutes respectively, but could only watch in disbelief as their goal-bound shots hit the upright with Swallows’ keeper Greg ­Atafia well-beaten.

The status quo remained the same until half time.

Stars came back into the game the more determined side after the break, and Madoda Motha nearly increased their tally in the 48th minute, but his shot went wide.

In reality, the home side should have buried Swallows in an avalanche of goals but the likes of Motha, Manti Moholo, and Boitumelo Sekgobela seemed to have left their scoring boots at home.

In an attempt to get that important second goal, Swallows coach Gordon Igesund replaced Oscar Machapa, Cisse Chieka, and McBeth Sibaya with Keegan Ritchie, Bradley Ritson and Ashraf Hendricks, and the three substitutes showed great ­commitment.

Hendricks increased the Birds’ tally to two after connecting with Ritchie’s corner kick in the 73rd minute.

This happened before Ritson grabbed the third goal that ­definitively put the match beyond doubt in the 78th minute.

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