Swallows breathed new life into their fight for survival after they pulled off a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over rock-bottom Maritzburg United at the Dobsonville Stadium on Thursday evening.
Musa Nyatama’s side had just 34 per cent of the possession as the Team of Choice launched wave upon wave of attacks on their goal but David Uromi stepped off the bench to snatch a crucial victory four minutes from time.
The Dube Birds opened up a five-point gap to the relegation zone in 12th place, with Maritzburg remaining rooted to the foot of the table after suffering their 14th defeat of the season.
Both clubs had a similar recent record coming into the Freedom Day encounter after failing to win their last two games, with Swallows going down 3-0 to Stellenbosch last weekend, while Maritzburg drew 1-1 with Richards Bay.
There was no shortage of chances in a first half dominated by Fadlu Davids’ troops, although the two teams’ struggles at the wrong end of the table showed as they only hit the target once each.
Swallows managed to test King Ndlovu after just seven minutes when Kwandakwensizwa Mngonyama met Tshediso Patjie’s cross with his head before the action quickly switched to the other end with Jose Meza dragging his shot wide of the left post from outside the box.
Kagiso Malinga lacked composure as he blazed high and wide from inside the area on 17 minutes, while Genino Palace could only nod the ball wide of the left post from Wayde Jooste’s cross in the 27th minute.
Karim Kimvuidi failed to trouble Daniel Akpeyi with a strike from range on the half-hour mark before Malinga proved wasteful once more when he missed the target after being packed out by Bongani Sam’s cross.
Amadou Soukouna was presented with two chances in the closing stages of the half and he managed to draw a save out of Akpeyi with an effort from range in stoppage time, having seen his previous shot drift to the right of the goal from inside the box 10 minutes earlier.
The KZN outfit continued to boss proceedings in the second half but they weren’t having any better luck in front of goal.
Genino Palace steered a header wide of the right post from a 54th-minute corner and Friday Samu headed Meza’s cross past the other post five minutes later before Kwame Peprah nodded a corner off target in the 66th minute.
Bulelani Ndengane came close with a header of his own two minutes later that flew inches wide of the right post from a free-kick, while Ndlovu was finally given some work to do when he kept out shots from Tshediso Patjie and Gregory Damons inside the area.
Samu threatened to break the deadlock five minutes from time with a header that narrowly went wide of the left post from Brandon Theron’s cross and the Team of Choice were made to pay for their wastefulness moments later when Uromi beat Ndlovu with a strike from range that arced into the top left corner of the net.
Patjie looked to seal the win shortly afterwards but his strike from range sailed just over the crossbar as Swallows saw out the final few minutes to claim a precious three points.
Swallows (0) 1 (Uromi 86′)
Maritzburg (0) 0
Swallows: D. Akpeyi, K. Mngonyama, K. Allan, J. Sait, B. Sam, G. Damons (D. Matsheke 78′), L. Mtshali (D. Uromi 78′), T. Mthethwa, T. Patjie (S. Sibiya 89′), M. Shwabule, K. Malinga (W. Isaacs 67′)
Maritzburg United: K. Ndlovu, R. De Goede (K. Ritchie 68′), A. Ndengane, B. Makume, J. Meza, G. Palace, T. Njoti (S. Conco 81′), W. Jooste (K. Peprah 56′), B. Theron, K. Kimvuidi (T. Tlolane 46′), A. Soukouna (F. Samu 57′)
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