Swallows FC broke a 12-game win drought in the DStv Premiership by defeating hosts Baroka FC 1-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The result, secured by a second-half strike from Keletso Makgalwa, sees the Birds win for the first time since the opening weekend of the 2021/22 season back in August and climb to 14th place on the log – two points clear of the relegation playoff zone.
Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele, meanwhile, have now gone nine league games without a victory and drop to the bottom of the log – three points behind Swallows.
After a quiet opening, the first clear chance of the game went the way of Swallows in the 16th minute, with Mwape Musonda getting on the end of Thabo Matlaba’s cross, but his header was saved by Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.
That opportunity signalled the start of a strong spell of dominance for the Birds, who put together some fine passing moves and pinned Baroka into their own half much of the time, though Musonda and Austin Muwowo were both guilty of shooting off target from presentable chances.
Baroka found their own attacking rhythm after the half-hour mark, with Bernard Bobete and Nhlanhla Mgaga very influential, though they struggled to create clear chances with which to test Swallows ‘keeper Jody February.
The teams were locked at 0-0 heading back to the dressing rooms for halftime.
Swallows made the first change in an effort to spark their attack back to life, with Ruzaigh Gamildien replacing Musonda at the restart, while Baroka waited until the hour mark to put on forward Decide Chauke.
However, it was the Birds’ next substitutes, Given Thibedi and Keletso Makgalwa, which would break the deadlock in the 69th minute: the former won the ball in a challenge, and fed Grant Margeman, who in turn teed up Makgalwa to put a shot past Masuluke and make it 1-0 to the away team.
Baroka naturally threw men forward as the final whistle approached in an effort to get back into the game, but it was actually Swallows who looked the likelier team to score again, and they forced several fine saves from Masuluke on counter attacks in the dying minutes.
Regardless, the Birds were able to secure the victory and give new coach Dylan Kerr a winning start to his tenure.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action on Saturday 11 December, with Baroka hosting Cape Town City and Swallows welcoming Marumo Gallants to Dobsonville Stadium.
Baroka FC 0Swallows FC (0) 1 (Makgalwa 69’)
Baroka: Masuluke, Masiya, Makume, Shozi, Farmer, Dlala (Goldstone 64’), Bobete, Sithole (Nikitaridis 78’), Mgaga (Kambala 78’), Ndlovu (Chauke 60’), Makgopa
Swallows: February, Matlaba, Letlabika, Sasman, Langerman, Margeman, Nyatama, Mokoena (Makgalwa 65’), Mahlatsi, Muwowo (Thibedi 64’), Musonda (Gamildien 50’)
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